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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs June 26, 2012

Hawksbill Sea Turtle Recovery Project manager Lauren Kurpita and The Nature Conservancy resource manager Shalan Crysdale inspect Kamehame this morning. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS planned to irrigate and rinse off trees this morning, following a week of flames, smoke and ash, with help from Wally Andrade's water truck, organized by coffee lands manager Chris Manfredi. According to Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president Gloria Camba, the trees will be handled gingerly to see which ones will be able to recover and become strong and productive. Severely damaged trees, which could die or come back as weak and diseased, may be cut later, but for now the farmers will hope for the best.
Damage to world famous Ka`u Coffee farms made headlines statewide and
was filmed for network television and Big Island Video News by Lynn
Beittel, who talks with Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president
Gloria Camba. See bigislandvideonews.com  Photo by William Neal
      Scot C. Nelson, of the University of Hawai`i Department of Plant & Environmental Protection, wrote to Camba with the following recommendation for farmers with trees damaged by the fires:
      “Scrape off a very small section of the charred bark and see if there is a pale, moist layer preserved below. If it’s whitish, pink or pale green, that’s a good sign; if it’s yellow, orange or brown, it’s probably damaged.
      “If 60 percent or more circumference of the trunk is uninjured, the tree is a good candidate for preservation. Trees damaged more seriously than this may recover, but they are more likely to be unstable and subject to attack by insects and diseases. Smaller trees are more sensitive than larger trees.
      “Hire a consulting arborist or forester to do evaluations of trees and develop recovery plans.
      “Delay all pruning except safety pruning. It can take a long time for some trees to re-sprout. In a year, it will be much easier to evaluate which parts are dead and which are alive.
      “Continue to irrigate the trees, but after the soil is rewetted, the trees won’t need as much water as they previously required.
      “Don’t cut down trees just because they ‘look dead.’ Left alone, many trees will survive and even flourish.”
      Manfredi, who represents the land managing company Ka`u Farm and Ranch and WWK Hawai`i-Moa`ula, LLC, the hui subdividing the coffee farms at Moa`ula and Pear Tree, said some of the burned lands not already in production may provide an opportunity to plant more coffee trees. When asked about more help for the farmers, Manfredi said, “The scope and depth of my assistance to the coffee farmers and the industry as a whole is incalculable at this time. This is a sad tragedy. While some farms were severely impacted, others were untouched. By working together, we will fully recover. I expect that we will also take advantage of the cleared land to expand farms.”
      See a detailed feature story on the fire at bigislandvideonews.com.

Dust storm with ash and smoke blew through farms and ranches yesterday between Na`alehu and Pahala.
Photo by Julia Neal

RED, BROWN AND BLACK DUST, smoke, soot and ash blew from the Ka`u desert across Hwy 11 in several places yesterday, reaching ranches, farms and clusters of homes along the old sugar cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu. Makanau and the other table top and distinctive points like Caterpillar Hill stood as mere outlines in reddish sky that seemed to rain mud on the landscape.
      During the dust storm, however, no precipitation came to the home of Phil and Merle Becker, of Aikane Plantation Coffee Co. farm. They said their land, house and farm buildings are covered in soot, and closing windows could not keep out the ash and dirt. Phil Becker said, “Our coffee is safe and undamaged compared to many other coffee farmers who have worked so hard to make a good product and Ka`u Coffee the best in the world. Our hearts go out to the farmers with their losses.”
      In Pahala, some people returned to shutting their windows and turning on air cleaners usually used for vog events as the smell of smoke and a light haze drifted into the village. This morning the air was clear.

Turtle tracks likely lead to a nest at Kamehame
this morning, where the preserve was found free
of fire damage. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
HAWKSBILL SEA TURTLE RECOVERY PROJECT manager Lauren Kurpita, along with The Nature Conservancy resource manager Shalan Crysdale, visited Kamehame this morning to check on turtle nests. They found turtle tracks in the black sand and the preserve unharmed, with no evidence of fire, smoke or ash damage from the weeklong fire that still smolders with hot spots mauka of the preserve. Fire engines were headed makai from Hwy 11 at about 9 a.m. The Turtle Project plans to soon bring in volunteers who watch over the turtle nesting beach each season, Kurpita said. 

DENNY COFFMAN, state House of Representative candidate, came through Ka`u yesterday in his campaign to win votes from citizens from Honu`apo to Kona Airport. Coffman is the incumbent in Kona and also chairs the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection, a position left by Mina Morita when she became chair of the Public Utilities Commission. His new, expanded district includes a big section of Ka`u. The other House district will represent citizens from Punalu`u through Volcano into Puna.
Denny Coffman Photo by
William Neal
      Regarding Hawai`i’s reliance on fossil fuel and soaring electric rates, Coffman said his approach is that alternative energies must make electric bills less expensive for Hawai`i residents. He said, “We have no choice but to support geothermal” as a solution for firm, affordable electricity for homes and businesses, as well as economic development. He described Hawaiian Electric Co. on O`ahu, Maui Electric Co. on Maui, Lana`i and Moloka`i and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. on the Big Island as “not good citizens.” He said they are attempting to push back on truly renewable energies and come up with such alternatives as biofuel to keep operating their old, oil burning plants where their money was invested.
      Coffman completed a career in information technology for financial institutions and business management. He has also been a weekend homebuilder. Coffman said the Legislature can put more money into water systems for agriculture and food sustainability. “These programs need more focus to make sure the funding goes to the right areas.” Speaking of campaigns to better Hawai`i, he said he believes in “putting money where our mouth is. You can’t just say it. You have to go through with it.” See more at www.dennycoffman.org, and read about all the candidates everyday on kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com until two days before primary election day, which is Saturday, Aug. 11.

KALAEKILOHANA BED & BREAKFAST will become a five-bedroom lodge with certified kitchen. The application by owners Kenny Joyce and Kilohana Domingo to expand their operation has been approved by the Windward Planning Commission. The expansion allows them to serve lunch and dinner, as well as breakfast, to a maximum of 15 registered guests, “so the guests can avoid long travel times and driving at night on unfamiliar roads,” states Commission chair Zendo Kern’s approval letter. The lodge on South Point Road will also be able to hold community and private events once a month with a maximum of 75 guests.

ELIZABETH PICKETT, executive director of Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization, offers a presentation that describes what residents and communities can do to prepare for wildfire at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. Based on the Ready, Set, Go! program, the presentation takes place at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Two-dollar donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply. Call 985-6011 for more information. 

FEATHER KAHILI MAKING is the topic during a free program given by rangers Jaeneise Cuison and Keoki Wells tomorrow on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

CANDIDATES FOR COUNTY COUNCIL District 6 and Prosecuting Attorney meet the public at Ocean View Community Center Friday at 7 p.m. County Council District 6 candidates are Maile David, Brenda Ford, Lee McIntosh and Bradley Westervelt. Prosecuting Attorney candidates are Lincoln Ashida, Paul Dolan and Mitch Roth. Call 939-7033 for more information about the forum.