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, October 16, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 16, 2012

Ka`u Farm Bureau members listen to statewide chief operating officer Brian Miyamoto during the annual meeting in Pahala.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE KA`U FARM BUREAU held its annual meeting last night with state House of Representatives agriculture committee chair Clift Tsuji as keynote speaker. Tsuji talked about the famous saying “Keep Ka`u Ka`u” and said that to him it means “You are proud of your community.” Tsuji, a retired banker now 71, said he used to come out to Ka`u on weekends in at Datsun pickup to camp overnight and fish at South Point. “I love Ka`u,” he proclaimed.
Rep. Clift Tsuji chairs the state
House Ag Committee.
Photo from Clift Tsuji
      Tsuji said, as a freshman in the state Legislature he wanted to serve on the health committee but was assigned to agriculture because “nobody else wanted it.” He said he now treasures the position as chair of the committee. He is known as champion of anti-invasive species campaigns and for biosecurity.
      When asked whether the new state Public Land Development Corp. (which allows the state to partner with private entities for economic development on public lands) is good or bad for farmers and ranchers who lease state land, he called it “very contentious.” He contended that PLDC stymied one of the most important initiatives for biosecurity, setting up stations at Honolulu and Kona airports. Tsuji explained that Gov. Neil Abercrombie wanted to fast-track new biosecurity stations through the PLDC, but the controversy over the agency has held them up.
      Tsuji said that many agricultural initiatives are pushed at the Legislature, but few make it through. He called ag such a small slice of the state budget that it is hard to see its piece of the pie. He called for farmers and ranchers to cooperate, from those in organic farming to crop engineering. “Don’t give up,” he urged.
      Brian Miyamoto, chief operating officer of the statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, thanked Tsuji for helping to shepherd a farm building exemption act that waives “low-risk” farm structures from county building permits. “Clift pushed it. The governor signed it.”
Aloha Air Cargo gives discounts to Hawai`i Farm Bureau
Federation members.
     Miyamoto reviewed benefits to joining the Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, including a 35 percent discount on shipping on Aloha Air Cargo to other islands and a 20 percent discount on bringing air cargo to this island. HMSA health plans and dental insurance, discounts on hotels and rental cars as well as discounts at Grainger Industrial Supply (www.grainger.com) also come with Farm Bureau membership, he said.
      Miyamoto said Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation works closely with state government, University of Hawai`i ag school and agricultural producers. He called the relationship “a three-legged stool.”
Chris Manfredi was re-elected
president of Ka`u Farm Bureau.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Chris Manfredi, of Ka`u Farm & Ranch, land manager for the coffee farms at Moa`ula and Pear Tree, was re-elected president of Ka`u Farm Bureau. Brenda Iokepa-Moses, of Ka`u Coffee Mill, took over from rancher Michelle Galimba as secretary. Coffee Farmer Lorie Obra remains treasurer and coffee farmer and rancher Phil Becker, of Aikane Plantation, remains vice president.
      Manfredi noted that state legislation passed this year makes it a felony to sell Ka`u Coffee as Kona Coffee. New laws put more teeth into fighting agricultural theft. From coffee to cattle, processors and sellers are required to have “certificates” showing where they bought their agricultural product, he said. A collaboration of the papaya, coffee and floriculture-nursery industries, through a nonprofit called SHAC (Synergistic Hawai`i Agriculture Council) has received $330,000 in funding to fight the coffee berry borer, Manfredi reported. While a lot of the money will go to Kona, “a good chunk will come to Ka`u,” he said. He urged farmers to turn in receipts for purchasing the fungus that kills the borer, saying they could be reimbursed. He said he hopes Ka`u farmers will keep up the coffee berry borer war, noting that “Kona is having serious problems, with 20 to 40 percent loss” on some coffee farms. He said there is not enough high-grade coffee available in Kona for the market, and again warned that selling Ka`u coffee to Kona buyers who could label it Kona only hurts the Ka`u Coffee industry.
      Memberships are available to join the Farm Bureau online at www.hfbf.org.

Water tunnels and water rights between Kapapala and Wai`ohinu. Illustration from Ka`u Agricultural
Water Cooperative District
RICHARD ONISHI, CANDIDATE FOR state House of Representatives, told the Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District meeting attendees that he supports the new Public Land Development Corp., “that PLDC needs to be fixed but not abolished,” according to the organization’s minutes from its Oct. 11 meeting. 
Richard Onishi said he supports PLDC.
Photo from Richard Onishi
      The minutes say that rancher Kyle Soares said the PLDC and separate quasi-government entity, the Agricultural Development Corp., should both be abolished.
      The water meeting minutes say that the majority of the steering committee of the water cooperative “expressed strong support for the Agricultural Development Corp.” The ADC is helping to redevelop agricultural water sources from tunnels dug, some of them over a century ago, for the old sugar industry in Ka`u.
      The separate and new PLDC, however, is in its rulemaking phase. Numerous citizens testified at public hearings around the state this summer that the PLDC would give too much power to developers who may want to use state-owned lands for their projects without sufficient environmental and county zoning and building code review.
      The water meeting minutes also report on subgroups looking to redevelop water for irrigation and livestock between Wai`ohinu and Kapapala. They are setting up cooperatives and other entities. Ha`ao area agriculturalists have approved bylaws. In the meantime, volunteers are hand-clearing for relocation and replacement of a main water line from domestic supply tunnels. Bulldozing and pipeline installation will follow. Ali`i members are working on articles and bylaws, the minutes report.
      Hilea members are working on structure of their organization and may create a water association. Hilea is also working with The Nature Conservancy on access to Plantation Spring water sources, the minutes say.
      The next meeting is Thursday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Orchards (formerly ML Macadamia) Field Office at Maile and Pikake Streets in Pahala.

New HOVE water tank when it was under construction.
COMMERCIAL WATER HAULING permits for Hawai`i Ocean View Estates will be revamped by the county Department of Water Supply, which issued a statement yesterday: 
      “In response to community concerns regarding the ‘first-come, first-served’ standpipe application process, and in consideration of the limited capacity and capabilities of the HOVE water system, the Department of Water Supply intends to revise the application process and reallocate existing accounts for HOVE standpipe water service. It is sincerely recognized that the HOVE water system, built with public funds, is of prime importance to a community that has never had a public potable water system.
HOVE water spigot. Photo from Big Island Video News
       “In consideration of the above, the DWS proposes a lottery system for the HOVE standpipe meters. DWS proposes to establish four meters for PUC-licensed water haulers, four meters for general use (agriculture, residential, industrial, etc.), one meter for community association purposes, and one meter for the County for emergency and other uses. “
      DWS and Water Board will listen to comments on the proposal at the monthly Water Board meeting Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. at Hilo Baseyard Conference Room, 889 Leilani Street.
      Oral or written testimony and comments will be received at 345 Kekuanaoa Street, Hilo, HI 96720, and through calling 961-8050. A community meeting will be held, date and time to be determined.

Ka`u Hospital will be one of the subjects at the East Hawai`i Regional
Board community meeting open to the public tonight in Hilo.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE KA`U HOSPITAL MANAGEMENT ENTITY, Hawai`i Health Systems Corp., puts on its East Hawai`i Regional Board annual community meeting this evening at Hilo Medical Center at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited. 
       “The open meeting provides an opportunity for the board to present an overview of the enhancements to the Region’s health services, as well as to discuss issues raised by the community,” says a press release on the meeting. The statement describes Ka`u Hospital:
      “Located in Pahala, 21-bed Ka`u Hospital is a Critical Access Hospital. Its Emergency Room serves the community for 50 miles in either direction, a geographic area the size of O`ahu.”

LITO ARKANGEL shares his own compositions and Hawaiian favorites tomorrow, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. in Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The event is free. Park entrance fees apply.

THE NEW PAHALA OPEN AIR FARMERS MARKET hosts vegetable and coffee farmers with sales to the public from 7 a.m. to noon tomorrow. In its second week, the market is located on Maile Street next to KAHU community radio station. Also on Wednesdays and Saturdays are Na`alehu Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Ka`u Farmers Market in Na`alehu from 8 a.m. to noon.