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.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs June 2, 2013

Allowing mulching and composting on agriculturally zoned lands could help keep green waste out of landfills and provide
extra income for farms like this one up Wood Valley Road, with coffee and macadamia. Photo by Julia Neal
ALLOWING COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING AND MULCHING on agriculturally zoned land is a measure coming up before the County Council this week. The bill is proposed by Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford, who said the law limiting composting to industrially zoned lands is “archaic.” According to Ford, creating compost and mulch on land near or where the inputs are gathered will reduce the spread of invasive species. Coffee farmers in Ka`u have been particularly concerned about the possibility of mulch made in Kona being shipped into Ka`u containing the coffee berry borer which has devastated the Kona Coffee industry.
     Lobbying for the measure has also come from former Ka`u council member Brittany Smart, a resident of Discovery Harbour. She said that legally processing green waste from many sources on ag land would open up opportunity for community mulching and composting centers where residents could take their green waste only a short distance from their homes and farms.
Discovery Harbour resident and former
County Council member Brittany Smart.
Photo by Julia Neal
     While rarely enforced, current county law prohibits the chipping and processing of green waste coming from another property unless the processing is located on industrial zoned lands.
       Allowing the mulch and compost processing sites to be on agricultural land would also be good for soil and water conservation, as the green waste can help prevent the lands from drying out, said Smart who now works for Big Island Eko Systems. She also noted that concentrating green waste, anything organic in a landfill - on a single site - can lead to fires when the decomposition creates gas. She said that having many green processing sites on ag land could reduce the chance of fires through taking the green waste there rather than to the concentrated county landfills.
      “It makes it a whole local operation. You generate the material. You process the material and you use the end product, all in the same area.” Smart said that the local processing of green waste also provides farmers with a valuable end product to use on coffee fields and “they will know where it comes from. This is a further protection of Ka`u coffee farms from the coffee berry borer,” said Smart.
      Smart also explained that the new bill would still require compliance with state Department of Health regulations, regarding such possibilities as dust and noise. The rules are tonnage based and also depend on the source of the compost, including whether it would be limited to only plants, she said.
      Both Smart and Ford said that more composting on ag lands could can also give farmers an additional income from coffee, macadamia and other green wastes when they sell the finished mulch to other local farmers and gardeners.

OPPOSITION TO PUBLIC BUS FARE INCREASES is expected to come from Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford as the council considers the hike from $1 to $2 as well as ending free rides for students, the elderly and disabled. Ford said she wants to keep the fare low to encourage more ridership. According to a report in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald this morning, council member Drew Kanuha said an increase in the fares could lead to more stops and routes. He also told reporter Erin Miller that $2 for a ride from Ka`u to South Kohala remains a bargain.
See www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.

Hele On Bus fares could go up to $2 per person under a proposal before
the County Council. Photo from www.billykenoi.com
AN INCREASE IN ANNUAL VEHICLE FEES charged by the county also comes before the council this week, this one before the Finance Committee on Tuesday. It's the first hike in a decade. Mayor Billy Kenoi’s budget would raise the weight tax rates for trucks and non-passenger commercial vehicles from 2 cents a pound to 2.5 cents a pound. Passenger cars and vans would be charged 1.25 cents a pound. The tax has been .75 cents a pound since 2004.
      Ka`u County Council member Brenda Ford said she leans toward supporting the hike.

THE ABILITY TO TESTIFY and view County Council meetings from Ka`u at the Ocean View Community Center will remain in place. However, County Council member Brenda Ford urges area residents to attend the meetings and share their voices. The interactive capabilities faced budget cuts this year with a claim that not enough Ka`u residents were using the facility to keep the interactive system in place. Ford defended the ability to remotely view and testify for all citizens around the island. The next opportunity is Tuesday, June 16  with  Committee meetings and Wednesday, June 17 with the full County Council meeting.

Tom Peek, of Volcano, picked up his silver Benjamin Franklin
Book Award last week in New York. Photo by Julia Neal
TOM PEEK, AUTHOR OF DAUGHTERS OF FIRE, picked up his silver prize in the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards last week at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square in New York. His debut novel takes up resort development politics, the Hawaiian mafia, Hawaiian gods, values and spirituality, as well as earth and sky science on the ever-looming active volcanoes. It is also a romance and murder mystery. Ka`u places in the novel include Volcano, Kapapala, Pahala and Punalu`u.
      The award for Popular Fiction comes from the Independent Book Publishers Association, the largest not-for-profit trade group in the U.S. book industry.
      Peek, a Volcano resident wearing maile and kukui lei, also represented Hawai`i last week at the largest book confab in the United States. Book Expo America takes place annually at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York where Peek signed copies and talked to book buyers, distributors and other authors.  Publisher is Koa Books. See www.daughtersoffire.com

A Volcano area kipuka from Josel Namkung, a Retropective,
 which won Gold in the Benjamin Franklin Awards competition.
Image from Cosgrove Editions
THE VOLCANO AREA was included in another winning book at the Independent Book Publishers Awards in News York last week. Josel Namkung, a Retrospective includes a photo from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park of a kipuka and bending green grasses with a tiny bit of reddish color. The Gold Winner for Art and Photography, the volume, which spans about three feet when opened, is printed with the highest quality available, said its publisher Dick Busher, of Cosgrove Editions, who joined the Hawai`i contingent during the awards ceremony. The images were taken using film and large format cameras.
      Namkung, with a six decades of career, has photographed in Hawai`i and mainly in the Pacific Northwest and Korea.
      In his approach to the art, Namkung avoids the sky “because it reveals the identity of the place. The horizon and ridge lines will give you ready answers. I like to give my viewers questions, not answers. Let them find beauty in the most mundane things, like roadside wildflowers and tumbled weeds. Observe the essence of things. That’s Zen. It doesn’t have to be some spectacular manifestation of nature,” writes Namkung in the introduction to the book. See http://johselnamkung.net to read more on the photographer and publisher and to order. To view the collection of photographs, see http://johselnamkung.net/a-retrospective/for-book-lovers/
Edmund C. Olson donated Wanaku Center and was joined by Ka`u Coffee Mill
staff for the first annual Hilo Brewfest yesterday. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE MILL joined in the effort yesterday to raise money for more new physicians taking up practice on the island. Amery Silva and Phyllis Segawa from Ka`u Coffee Mill manned a booth at the first annual Hilo Brewfest held at Wainaku Center on the shores of Hilo Bay. The event, at $40 a ticket, sold out and raised more than $40,000 for the Hilo Medical Center Foundation. It was sponsored by Hilo Rotary Club and the Edmund C. Olson Trust donated the grounds of Wainaku Center. Many of those who attended said they had never been able to visit Wainaku Center during the time after the old C. Brewer sugar building was renovated and used as the company’s headquarters for land sales. Ed Olson said he bought the building and has been renovating it for community, family. corporate and visitor events and tours as well as weddings.

FREE MEDICAL CLINICS for the public at Pahala School campus and Ocean View Community Center begin Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tropic Care 2013 involves 75 military reservists providing health care services free of charge, including physical exams, dentistry, optometry (exams and glasses), nutrition education, medication review and provision of some medication. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and are advised that there may be long wait times.
      Clinics are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for the last day, Wednesday, June 12, when they close at noon. Locations are Pahala School Campus and Ocean View Community Center.
      In addition to medical services, residents living off the grid and using a generator for power will have access to service members specializing in mechanics, who will work on any systems that need attention.
      For more information about Tropic Care, contact Arends at 701-566-1932.


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