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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs March 20, 2013

Hawai`i Wildlife Fund volunteers removed this and other potential Japanese tsunami marine debris during last
 Saturday's Ka`u Coast Cleanup. Photo by Dr. Mark Kimura, UH-Hilo
GMO LABELING OF FOODS is the subject of a state Senate public hearing tomorrow in Honolulu. Ka`u citizens can testify on the measure, pro and con, by going online to www.capitol.hawaii.gov/senate.aspx?testimonypanel=on#panel. Both East Ka`u Senator Russell Ruderman and West Ka`u Senator Josh Green support the measure.
Sen. Josh Green
Sen. Russell Ruderman 
      According to a story by Derrick DePledge in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “The bill was at risk of failing this session if it did not get a Senate hearing by an internal procedural deadline this week. In private moves over the past few days, Senate leaders planned to remove the Senate Health Committee as a referral on the bill because of concerns that Sen. Josh Green, the committee’s chairman and a supporter of GMO labeling, would use a hearing to appeal to anti-GMO activists.”
      According to DePledge, “Green strenuously fought the move, however, and after a lengthy private caucus among senators Tuesday, the Senate Health Committee stayed on the referral,” and the hearing will take place before the senate Agriculture Committee, the Senate Health Committee and the Senate Consumer Protection & Commerce Committee. The ag committee chair will conduct the hearing.
A rally against GMO products was held in Hilo Saturday.
Photo by Ko Ueno
      DePledge quoted Green: “The people are concerned with the health impact of GMOs, and I support their call for labeling. I also believe the Senate Committee on Health should have remained the lead on this bill.” Green is a physician and previously worked at the emergency room at Ka`u Hospital.
      According to the Star-Advertiser story, Senate ag committee chair Clarence Nishihara said, “First, I’d like to make it clear that this is a food labeling and not an anti-GMO bill, nor is it a pro-bioengineering bill.” See more at www.staradvertiser.com.
      The opinion of state Attorney General David Louie is that the bill could be found unconstitutional since the federal government authorizes the labeling of foods. He also put forth that First Amendment rights and interstate commerce regulations could be violated. Louie said the bill lacks a specific purpose showing the interest of the state.
      GMO labeling laws are likely to be tested in court, as the issue is coming up in many states. Initiatives in legislatures around the country include a proposal to label genetically engineered salmon in Alaska, an Arizona bill to label genetically engineered food, and a Colorado bill to require any person, selling, distributing or offering for sale food, to make sure genetically engineered food is labeled. Similar legislation has been introduced in the states of Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont and Washington.

`AINA KOA PONO’S proposed contract to sell diesel to the electric companies “can provide a type of hedge, a financial hedge by reducing ratepayers’ exposure to price volatility, and a physical hedge because the locally produced biodiesel reduces ratepayers’ exposure to man-made, natural, of other disturbances that can affect the supply chain of Hawai`i’s imported fuels,” states testimony from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
      The testimony was provided last week to the state Public Utilities Commission which is tasked with approving or disapproving the `Aina Koa Pono contract which would back the construction of a refinery off Wood Valley Road and the use of pasture between Pahala and Na`alehu for clearing trees and brush and growing crops to feed the refinery.
      The testimony states that “Hawai`i has recently been exposed to this because ‘petroleum diesel prices are so dependent on demand (Asia and Pacific sourced oil has significantly increased in price since the Japan tsunami and the loss of Japan’s nuclear reactor capacity, and other factors (e.g., Tesoro’s plan to sell its Hawai`i operations) not related to production costs, petroleum forecasts tend to vary widely.’”
      The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism testified that “the Contract under review here can be thought of as insurance against bad outcomes; in this case, continued volatile, rising and high oil prices….”
      See more testimony from other agencies and the public at www.puc.hawaii.gov. Click on `Aina Koa Pono, on the link, and documents. The docket number is 2012-0185.

Several items from Saturday's Ka`u Coast Cleanup are
potential Japanese tsunami marine debris.
Photo by Dr. Mark Kimura, UH-Hilo
POSSIBLE TSUNAMI DEBRIS from Japan was found when 58 volunteers covered over a mile of coastline last Saturday from Kai`ole Bay to Ki`i (including Kamilo Point). They removed several truckloads full of debris weighing almost one ton.
      Debris likely from Japan included two glass fishing net balls, mini fridge/cooler with rollers, a rice-cooker-like Thermos with spout and multiple large buoys from Sanshin-Kako Co., Ltd. in Japan. Also picked up were many small plastic toy items (camel, rhinos, army figurines), a #13 drifter block from UH-Hilo study (released from outside Hilo Bay), NOAA weather balloon, and part of a dog-sled runner.
      Volunteers came from Hilo, Puna, Kohala, and Kona and included two large groups from Hawai`i Community College-Hilo and Cornell University’s Hawai`i Field Program based in Waimea. Local artist Don Elwing displayed his debris art at Wai`ohinu Park and gifted one lucky volunteer a free piece. Kealakekua-based Hawai`i Kombucha joined in and donated a five-gallon keg of homemade Orange Kombucha to all the volunteers.
      Hawai`i Wildlife Fund continues its restoration efforts in Ka`u with anchialine pond cleanups next Tuesday and Wednesday and another Ka`u Coast Cleanup Saturday, July 13. Sign up with Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

THIS IS DETECT-A-LEAK-WEEK IN HAWAI`I. The state Commission on Water Resource Management, in partnership with the island county water departments and the Hawai`i Rural Water Association, is encouraging all Hawai`i residents to check for leaks at their homes, properties and workplaces.
      “The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Rain Follows the Forest initiative aims to enhance water supplies by protecting and restoring our rainforests to capture as much of the rain as possible,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “But we must also be good stewards of our drinking water by using it as efficiently as possible, which involves checking for leaks and taking corrective action. Detect-A-Leak Week is an important statewide awareness program that complements this administration’s efforts to increase the recharge of our aquifers and streams.”
Quirino Antonio
      The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates common household leaks can waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year in the average home – enough water to fill a backyard swimming pool. This water loss can be significantly reduced in Hawai`i if all residents statewide check their plumbing fixtures for leaks.
       “Every effort made to repair leaks helps protect water, our most precious resource. Thank you for doing your part at home and in your yard during Detect-A-Leak Week,” said Quirino Antonio, County of Hawai`i Department of Water Supply manager and chief engineer.
      There are three types of leaks that should be checked – toilet, property and under ground. During Detect-A-Leak-Week, the department is distributing toilet leak detection dye tablets at all ACE hardware, Home Depot, and HPM Building Supply stores, as well as Department of Water Supply customer service counters.
      For more information on how Detect-A-Leak Week is being observed and for more tips on how to check for leaks at home, visit www.hawaiidws.org.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE District meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

MEMBER TRAINING FOR Ka`u Ag Water Cooperative District takes place a week from today, next Wednesday at Pahala Community Center. Members and potential members of the regional water systems’ cooperatives, including Ha`ao, Mountain House, Moa`ula, Alili, Hilea, Keaiwa, Wood Valley and Kapapala can learn about being an ag water co-op member and how the development process is proceeding. For more information, email mbondera@kohalacenter.org.

`Ohelo is one species that establishes in recent lava flows.
Photo by Tim Tunison
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES INSTITUTE is still accepting registration for Life on Recent Lava Flows with botanist Tim Tunison Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
      Program cost is $50 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Student fees (K-12 and college with valid ID) are $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.
      For more information and to register, see fhvnp.org, email institute@fhvnp.org or call 985-7373.

A PERFORMANCE OF TWO OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ one-act plays takes place Sunday at Pahala Plantation House. Dick Hershberger and Arlene Araki present Talk to Me Like the Rain and Let Me Listen and I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow, directed by University of Hawai`i-Hilo drama department senior Julie Dobbs. The plays begin at 3 p.m. Tea and cookies will be served, and a potluck dinner follows.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.