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, October 16, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The best views of Halema`uma`u are inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, which will reopen soon.
 Photo by Peter Anderson
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory will reopen soon. The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation tonight, which the Senate passed today, to reopen all of the federal government and avoid its financial default. The vote was 285 to 144 in the House of Representatives to extend the debt ceiling and reopen government. At least eighty-seven Republicans joined House Democrats by voting yes.
     The National Park Service will provide direction on rolling out the reopening of the park, its roads, trails and other facilities, said HVNP Superintendent Cindy Orlando. The park has been maintained by 13 workers during the shutdown with more than 100 others furloughed.
Kalae Coffee on South Point Road, busier during the shutdown.
Photo by Julia Neal
    Also furloughed were many workers at Volcano House hotel, Kilauea Military Camp, Kilauea Visitor Center and Jagger Museum inside the park. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory crew was reduced to a minimum to keep watch over earthquake recording equipment. Area vacation rentals, inns and bed and breakfast establishments suffered cancellations and restaurants in Volcano Village lost business from those who normally stop in after visiting the park.
      Several Ka`u business operators said they received visits from tour guides and tourists for the first time, seeking alternate destinations to the national park. Along South Point Road, Kalae Coffee operators reported more business. Paradise Meadows Orchard & Bee Farm owners Scott Buske and Megan Collins said they received an uptick in traffic during the park shutdown. Their farm offers coffee and macadamia tasting and tours of an aquaculture facility and orchards of macadamia, lime, avocado, and other fruit, as well as the art of Megan Collins. At Ka`u Coffee Mill, Hawai`i Forest & Trail is bringing up to 100 people in one day, said Manager Lou Daniele. He reported an increase in visitor business after the national park closed.
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KA`U COFFEE FARMERS met last night with Mayor Billy Kenoi to strategize their efforts to fight the coffee berry borer. The mayor confirmed his commitment to provide $20,000 in emergency funding toward the purchase of the fungus beauveria bassiana to be sprayed on coffee trees to kill the borer. The pest  has devastated Kona and is starting to creep across Ka`u. The mayor also urged the two Ka`u Coffee cooperatives and independent farmers to come together to work on their future.
Paradise Meadows Orchard & Bee Farm received more visitors buying coffee and
mac nuts after Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park shut down.
See www.paradisemeadows.com Photo by Julia Neal
      According to Ka`u Coffee Farmers Cooperative member Lorie Obra, the plan for the county grant is to place the funding into a joint account managed by Ka`u Coffee Growers and the Palehua Cooperatives. Farmers would pay half price for the beauvaria. The income from the farmers would go toward buying more of the fungus.
      According to farmers at the meeting,  coffee broker Chris Manfredi said he will add onto the county funding by loaning farmers up to $10,000 total to purchase the fungus. Ka`u Coffee Mill General Manager John Cross said this morning that Ka`u Coffee Mill will loan the farmers up to $15,000 to purchase the beauveria, to be paid back in coffee cherry or money.
     Unclear is how the cooperatives and independent farmers would ensure that all farms are treated for the coffee berry borer pest. Some award-winning farms are adjacent to untreated farms that are hotbeds for coffee berry borer reproduction. To make sure that all farms are treated, should some farmers be unable or unwilling to pay for the fungus and spray it effectively, remains a challenge.  Several coffee farmers said today that it has long been a requirement in their land rental agreements that farms be cared for. They contended that landowners should become involved to enforce the agreement to protect the Ka`u Coffee industry from the spreading of the coffee berry borer. Joel LaPinta, who represents Lehman Brothers Holdings, which owns Moa`ula and Pear Tree coffee lands, said this morning that he is working with farmers to learn which farms are in need of better care and will help the coffee farmers resolve the issue.
Ka`u Coffee farmers are fighting the borer and receiving assurances from Lehman
Brothers that they can stay on the land for now. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
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LAND SECURITY was also involved in the Ka`u Coffee farmers meeting last night, with the new owner of the coffee lands, Lehman Brothers Holdings, sending its real estate marketing representative Joel LaPinta from the Kennedy Wilson company. Farmers said they received an envelope with a map showing the land they are each renting. LaPinta said this morning that the land rental price to coffee farmers will remain the same, while the overall property is being sold. He also said that all those showing interest in purchasing the property have showed a willingness to keep the farmers in place. The 5,800 acres being sold included the coffee farms which cover fewer than 400 acres.
      LaPinta said he met with coffee growers at Pahala Community Center last night until 9:30 p.m. in order to understand their individual histories on the land and to listen to their concerns. He said each farmer is receiving a license that allows them to grow their coffee and ensures a rental fee of the same rate they have paid for years.
      Kennedy Wilson is an international real estate investment and services company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It is based in Beverly Hills and has made numerous investments in Hawai`i. It is representing Lehman Brothers Holdings in the sale of the 5,800 acres of Ka`u land, foreclosed on by Lehman when the Windwalker group failed to pay Lehman the principal and interest on a $45 million loan.
    The onsite representative for Lehman for the coffee farms, pastures and Lehman’s land along the Ka`u Coast is Hayden Akamu.
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HAWAI`I HEALTH CONNECTOR has added the comparative rates being offered by health insurance companies to its online registration site. Hawaii Health Connector Executive Director Coral Andrews held a press conference yesterday in Honolulu and said that consumers can compare and buy plans online at www.hawaiihealthconnector.com. According to Hawai`i Health Connector officials, the website its drawing about 30,000 unique hits per day and more than 400 phone calls. According to the new federal Affordable Care Act, all persons must sign up for health care or be subjected to a fine. Health care can come from the workplace or through signing up with a private insurance company directly or through the exchange.
      In Ka`u, Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. has received a $125,000 grant to provide outreach to the community and to help residents sign up for health insurance. The location is in the Ka1`u Resources & Distance Learning Center at 96-3126 Puahala St. in Pahala. Call 928-0101.

A FATAL ACCIDENT at Punalu`u Stream Bridge, which lead to the death of five people, has generated a lawsuit in which one victim’s family is suing the estate of the deceased driver of the other car. According to a story in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald, the family of the late Trinidad Ballesteros is suing the estate of Donald Ingogalia, who was driving the rental car that crossed the centerline and slammed headon into the truck. Ballestero and her companion Richard Taylor died at the scene. All three occupants of the rental car – a grandfather and his son and grandson visiting from Puerto Rico - were also killed.
     According to the story by John Burnett, lawyers are looking into rental car company insurance, the estate of the man driving the rental car, how fast the vehicles were going and negligence claims, which will all play a part in the negotiations and possibly a trial. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com
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Trojans compete in playoff game tonight at 6 p.m. at Ka`u High gym.
Photo by Julia Neal

KA`U GIRLS VARSITY VOLLEYBALL team will host the Honoka`a Dragons tonight in the first round of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation play-offs. The game will start at 6 p.m. Admission fees are $5.00.

THE KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT will hold a meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Orchards field office in Pahala. Call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

MAKE YOUR OWN WORM FARM at the county Kahuku Park in Ocean View on Friday at 3 p.m. Free. Call 929-9113.

CANCELLED IS THE BEN KAILI CONCERT at Kilauea Visitor Center at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tonight  due to the federal government shutdown.