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, January 15, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park encourages Ka`u residents to sign up for the Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales. Photo from wayfaring.info
THE THREE NOMINEES FOR STATE HOUSE DISTRICT V that the Democratic Party sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie were Richard Creagan, Steve Sakala and Michael Matsukawa, announced John Buckstead, chair of the Democratic Party for West Hawai`i. From these three names, Abercrombie chose Na`alehu resident Richard Creagan to replace Denny Coffman, who resigned last month.
Steve Sakala Photo from sustainables-
akala.weebly.com
Michael Matsukawa
Photo from Kohala Center 
      Matsukawa, an attorney from Kailua-Kona, has been active in a variety of community and government issues, including the Kona Community Development Plan. He was also Hawai`i County Corporation Counsel in the early 1990s.
      Sakala is an environmental consultant and proprietor of Honaunau EcoRetreat Farm and Education Center. He is also on the board of Kona Pacific Public Charter School and vice president of the Kona Chapter of Hawai`i Farmers Union.
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ROYAL HAWAIIAN ORCHARDS, with offices in Pahala and Hilo, is seeking to expand its branded macadamia nut product line by raising $9 million in a rights offering, in which existing stockholders can buy a specified number of new securities from the firm at a specified price within a specified time. 
      The company considers the rights offering a major step toward realizing its goal to transition from being a farming company to a branded healthy snack food company, president and CEO Scott Wallace said. “Our strategy is to capitalize on consumers’ views of nuts as an upscale healthy snack that can command prices above traditional mass-marketed products,” Wallace said, pointing out that the products have no artificial ingredients or genetically modified organisms, are gluten-free and contain no sulfites.
Royal Hawaiian Orchards wants to expand its line of maadamia products.
Image from royalhawaiianorchards.com
      “We are leveraging the existing nutritional properties inherent in tree nuts in our line of macadamia-based foods,” Wallace said. “Our strategy is based on promoting the health benefits of macadamia nuts, which are similar to those of almonds, a food product that has achieved strong market positioning based on growing consumer awareness of associated wellness properties.”
      Wallace said the company’s brand of macadamia nut-based snacks, introduced in late 2012, “has been accepted by consumers as a healthy snack alternative,” in more than 3,000 stores in Hawai`i and on the mainland.
      “The funds from this rights offering will be used to quickly expand distribution nationwide to national, regional and independent grocery and drug chains, as well as mass merchandisers, that target consumers with healthy eating habits and the disposable income needed to afford premium products,” Wallace said. “By pursuing a branded products strategy and continuing to farm macadamias, we believe that we may have a pricing advantage, because we are able to produce nuts from our own orchards at a relatively fixed and currently favorable cost and do not have to compete to purchase nuts from third parties.”
      Wallace said that the strategy also serves to mitigate the company’s exposure to fluctuating commodity prices, should wholesale nut prices decline.
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KA`U’S STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN, who testified in favor of banning genetically modified organisms before Hawai`i County Council, has written what he says is the first of a series of articles on the subject in Big Island Weekly
      In the first installment, Ruderman attempts to “clear up some confusion about Bt corn.”
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      Ruderman says “there is a world of difference between the safe spray application of Bt to plants compared to the high levels of ingested and environmental Bt toxin that result from genetically modified Bt corn.”
      Bt, or Bacillus thuringiensis, is a bacteria which produces a toxin that kills many insects. When sprayed externally on a plant, Bt kills the insects but is not absorbed into the plant, Ruderman says. “In this form, it is safe for the plants and the humans or animals that ingest them.”
      In the case of Bt corn, the Bt bacteria has been artificially inserted into the genes of the plant, and every cell of the plant produces the Bt toxin, according to Ruderman. “In this case, the Bt toxin is ingested by humans or animals eating the GMO Bt crop, and large amounts of Bt toxin enter the soil as the tillage remains behind.  
      “In GMO Bt crops, we are consuming the toxin with every bite, and this poison builds up in our bodies and in the fields,” Ruderman says. 
      The senator says there have been several scientific studies showing ill effects in humans and animals from such high quantities of Bt toxin. “And as a result of this new widespread use, Bt-resistant strains of bugs have now developed for the first time. Tellingly, Bt corn itself is listed as a pesticide with the Environmental Protection Agency. In a human study, Bt bacteria were found to have transferred to the normal bacteria in the gut lining in subjects that ate Bt corn, creating a toxin-producing bacteria culture inside human digestive systems.”
      Ruderman says he will discuss such health studies in more depth in future articles.
      He suggests that consumers can avoid corn and corn products entirely or look for “non-GMO” or organic corn ingredients. “GMO products, including Bt corn, cannot be labeled organic,” Ruderman says.
      Ruderman asks interested parties to contact him at russell@russellruderman.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`ena Point, at the end of Chain of Craters Road, in a Sanctuary Ocean Count site.
Photo from NPS
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK ENCOURAGES volunteers to register to help count humpback whales during the 2014 Sanctuary Ocean Count held the last Saturday of January, February and March (Jan. 25, Feb. 22, and Mar. 29), from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. 
      Ka`ena Point, located at the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, is one of Hawai`i Island’s 21 Sanctuary Ocean Count sites. Volunteers on shore monitor humpbacks in nearshore waters for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Residents and visitors look forward to this yearly event, which provides important population and distribution information about humpback whales around the Hawaiian Islands.
      “The Sanctuary Ocean Count is an ideal opportunity for the community and the park to work together as stewards of the ocean,” said HVNP Public Affairs officer Jessica Ferracane. “These splendid creatures swim more than 2,000 miles to Hawai`i from Arctic waters every winter, and the annual count is one way to observe and record their behavior and ensure their future.”
      Registered volunteers meet Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park volunteer and Sanctuary Ocean Count site leader Jennifer Watson at the end of Chain of Craters Road on the scheduled count days.
      For more information, see hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov  or call the Ocean Count Hotline at 808-268-3087. To register online, go to sanctuaryoceancount.org.

An example of Process Painting by Patricia Hoban
Photo from VAC
KA`I HO`OPI`I SHARES MUSIC OF HIS `OHANA during a Na Leo Manu: Heavenly Voices program today at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

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

PROCESS PAINTING - SPIRIT OF CREATIVITY is the topic Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Patricia Hoban takes participants on a journey that encourages experimentation, exploration, discovery and play. “We strive to get rid of our internal critic and judge through this endeavor,” Hoban said. “When people learn the process, they can paint from within, letting their subconscious or right brain engage in spontaneous expression.” No previous art education or experience is needed. Fees are $45/$40 VAC members plus $5 for supplies. Register at 967-8222. 

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at http://snack.to/fzpfg59c.

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