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.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 23, 2012

Senate Bill 3399 proposes to study the Ka`u Coast and other locations in the nation to see if they would
 be suitable additions  for National Parks. Photo from apacificview.blogspot.com
ADDING MORE OF THE KA`U COAST to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will be studied if a bill introduced recently into the U.S. Senate passes. The bill proposes to study nine areas across the country including the Ka`u Coast to see if they would be suitable locations for national parks.
      There are only two national parks in Hawai`i, one being Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and the other at Haleakala on Maui. The United States has 58 national parks.
      The list of places to be studied also includes sites in such diverse locations as villages of Makushin, Kashega and Attu on Attu in Alaska where Aleuts were forced to abandon their homes during World War II;  Japanese American Relocation Centers from WWII; the Hudson River Valley; Galveston Bay in Texas; and the island of Rota in the Northern Mariana Islands.
      New Mexico Democrat Jeff Bingaman proposed Senate Bill 3399, on July 18. It was assigned to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

VOTING FOR A NEW COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER, mayor, state Senator and Rep., and U.S. Senator and Rep. begins next Monday, July 30.  Early absentee ballot walk-in voting will be at Building T in West Hawai`i Civic Center,  and county annex in Waimea, and the county building in Hilo. Absentee voting can also be done by mail.
      The Pahala Community Center walk-in early voting program has been cancelled. The Hilo, Kona and Waimea walk-in voting will run from July 30 through Thursday, Aug. 9 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include Saturday, Aug. 4. Yellow cards have been sent from the county elections division to registered voters throughout the district. Absentee ballot applications are available at the County Clerk’s office in Hilo, West Hawai`i Civic Center, all U.S. Post Offices, police stations, fire departments, public libraries and state agencies.

Ka'u Coffee cherries. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
WOOD VALLEY COFFEE Co. manager Brian Riggs, whose coffee entries took first in the state Commercial Division and first and second in the Ka`u District competition at the Hawai`i Coffee Association over the weekend, gave credit to the land of Ka`u for the success of coffee. “The ‘terroir’ of Ka`u is so amazing. A lot of sweat and tears go into coffee. I personally would like to congratulate everyone in the Ka`u coffee industry," said Riggs. A trained winemaker, Riggs said, "Growing coffee is like growing grapes for fine wine.” On the farm, 28 sheep kept down the grass and desmodium weed between the rows and also fertilized the coffee. Riggs said he also mulched around the coffee trees. For the processing, Riggs said he used some traditional small tub fermentation practices learned from winemakers and later found the process was already employed by Ka`u Coffee farmers. “The Ka`u Coffee farmers are all professionals,” he said. Riggs said he also wanted to thank his partner in processing, Kimberly Granger.

Parchment full of coffee berry borer holes.
Photo from jimseven.com
HAWAI`I COFFEE GROWERS EXPECT SMALLER PRODUCTION this year, according to presentations at the annual meeting of the Hawai`i Coffee Growers Association, held over the weekend on Maui. Howard Dicus, who covered the meeting for Hawai`i News Now, said that the coffee berry borer infestation is up 20 percent over last year. It is largely limited to Kona and has spread to Ka`u. Tom Greenwell, a Kona coffee grower and miller, urged farmers to keep the ground clean in addition to spraying to try to keep the borer under control. Dicus reported that drought is also holding back coffee production and that some farmers have resorted to catchment. While production is smaller, quality is good, Dicus reported, making it hard to meet the demands of the market, which continues to grow for Hawaiian coffee.

H-Power plant on O`ahu.
Photo from heco.com
H-POWER IS THE WAY TO HANDLE GARBAGE that is expected to fill up Hilo landfill within five to eight years, according to Mayor Billy Kenoi. A story over the weekend by Tom Callis in Hawai`i Tribune Herald says the mayor favors a waste-to-energy project, following a test run earlier this year with the county hauling east side garbage to the west side landfill. The story quoted Kenoi saying: “My solution is that I believe we have to move to waste reduction, and I believe H-Power is our model.” Callis reports that H-Power on O`ahu can “consume 2,160 tons of garbage per day and can generate 46 megawatts of electricity. It also reduces landfill input by 90 percent, according to the utility’s website.” The story points out that a $125.5 million waste-to-energy project under former mayor and current candidate for mayor Harry Kim was turned down by the County Council in 2008. County Council Chair Dominic Yagong who is also running for mayor, said he too would consider the H-Power model to reduce waste and make energy.

THE HI-5 BEVERAGE CONTAINER FEE WILL INCREASE by half a cent to 1.5 cents per container on Sept. 1. This means the deposit plus container fee will increase to 6.5 cents – a 5 cent deposit to be returned to the consumer when the container is recycled and a non-refundable 1.5 cent container fee to cover administrative costs.
      The increase is expected to result in an additional $4.5 million in annual program revenues for the state Department of Health. It charges the fee to manufacturers, distributors and importers of beverages in Hawai`i. The fee was last raised four years ago. After consideration of the fiscal year 2012 redemption rate of 77 percent and evaluation of current deposit beverage special fund balance, DOH Director Loretta Fuddy increased the fee and notified distributors.
      “The half-cent fee increase was written into the bottle law from its inception to ensure the recycling program could sustain itself and continue to pay back deposits to consumers,” Fuddy said. “We were able to hold off a fee increase for four years by using existing funds. However, the special fund is now too low to continue the program through 2014, and the current fee is not enough to build critical program reserves necessary to conduct essential operations.” State law requires the container fee to increase from 1 cent to 1.5 cents per container if the redemption rate exceeds 70 percent, unless DOH’s director, in consultation with the state auditor, determines a fee increase is not needed.
      A decision to postpone the fee increase was made in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 based on the program’s ability to continue operations by drawing from existing reserve funds.
      Because the law only requires beverage distributors pay the container fee to DOH, there is no guidance on how retailers may decide to pass on the fee to customers. Retailers may choose to round-up or round-down the additional half-cent charge.

Roberta Muller teaches the art of Hawaiian
Quilting, at After Dark in the Park tomorrow.
Photo from the Hawaiian Quilt Research Project
ROBERTA MULLER PRESENTS STITCHING A LEGACY at After Dark in the Park tomorrow night, 7 p.m., at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Muller teaches the art of Hawaiian quilting. Two-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.

SOUTHSIDE ALATEEN MEETS today and every Monday at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Call Sandy at 557-9847 for more information.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE invites the public to its meeting Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at Punalu`u Bake Shop’s upper pavilion. Agenda items include a GIS training proposal, federal funding and project status.