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.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

Snows of Mauna Loa send a cool breeze through the tall palms above a Pahala home this morning. Photo by Julia Neal
A MEASURE TO FIGHT THE COFFEE BERRY BORER that has been ravaging Ka`u and other Hawai`i Island coffee farms for almost three years is expected to be passed by Congress this week. Ka`u’s Sen. Mazie Hirono worked with Senate and House Agriculture Committees to include language that lays the groundwork for a long-term federal investment to fight the borer. Hawai`i Island coffee growers praised Hirono’s work to secure an initial $1 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture last July to help set up the program, which is being managed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo.
      “The inclusion of my amendment to fight the coffee berry borer in the bipartisan Farm Bill is great news for Hawai`i and our economy,” said Hirono. “I’ve spoken with farmers concerned about how this invasive species will hurt their crops and our economy – it’s crucial we mount a concerted effort to protect our coffee plants. This amendment will help USDA, the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawai`i work collectively and efficiently to help coffee farmers combat and contain the coffee berry borer.”
The war against the coffee berry borer is on, with help from federal funding.
      Dr. Marisa Wall, PBARC acting director, said, “Through ARS’ Areawide Pest Management Program, scientists at the U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and our partners have been able to develop integrated, biologically based control measures for coffee berry borer. This program enables us to optimize biological control methods, improve pest detection and mass trapping technology, manage coffee flowering and fruiting cycles and provide outreach to growers in an areawide system for CBB control.”
      Hirono added, “I am also pleased that this bill helps promote sustainable, local agriculture – from investments that help family farmers sell locally to supporting beginning farmers with training and access to capital. This bill was a bipartisan compromise, and I am hopeful that my colleagues and I can continue to work together to help the people of Hawai`i and the nation.”
      Additionally, the bill strengthens top priorities that help famers in Hawai`i and the nation. The bill:
  • reauthorizes $10 million per year through 2018 for Education Grants to Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions; 
  • extends authorization for rural housing and general economic assistance to parts of Hawai`i; 
  • extends the Livestock Forage Program and Livestock Indemnity Program to provide a safety net to Hawai`i farmers affected by drought or other adverse weather; 
  • extends loan programs for sugar cane for five years; 
  • authorizes $375 million over five years for Specialty Crop Block Grants; 
  • continues investments to meet growing consumer demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, local foods and organics by helping family farmers sell locally, increasing support for farmers markets and connecting farmers to schools and other community-based organizations; 
  • authorizes nearly $1.4 billion over five years for bioenergy research and development programs, including the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Bioenergy Program for Advanced Fuels, Biodiesel Fuel Education Program, and Rural Energy for America Program; and 
  • extends the authorization for rural water programs, including Rural Water and Wastewater Circuit Rider Program, Rural Water and Waste Disposal Infrastructure program and Household Water Well Systems program.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Acropora gemmifera Photo from biogang.net
A CORAL SPECIES NEW TO THE MAIN Hawaiian Islands has been discovered in West Hawai`i by a research team of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources divers, under the leadership of senior biologist Dr. Bill Walsh. 
      DLNR spokesperson Deborah Ward said that not only is this the first record of Acropora gemmifera in the main Hawaiian Islands, it’s the first record of any Acropora species occurring around the island of Hawai`i. 
      “The presence of these coral colonies is a significant contribution to our understanding of local reef diversity and opens up speculation about what other rare corals may be found on the reefs of Hawai`i Island,” Walsh said.
      Several Acropora species have been identified in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; previously, several small colonies of the table coral Acropora cytherea have been reported from Kaua`i, and a single colony was recently sighted off O`ahu.
      According to Walsh, the discovery of this rare species in the main Hawaiian Islands emphasizes the need for local marine and land-use conservation practices. Members of this genus have a low resistance and low tolerance to bleaching and disease, which can be made worse by pollution, overfishing, and climate change. They are also a coral species preferred by Acanthaster planci, the crown-of-thorns starfish, which is a coral predator.
      Acropora gemmifera is common in shallow, tropical reef environments in the Red Sea, Australia, the Indo-Pacific, and central and western Pacific, but there are few records from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It does occur at Johnston Atoll, approximately 900 miles southwest of Hawai`i.
      There have been no historical reports of any Acropora species occurring around the Island of Hawai`i, nor were any observed in more than 4,500 DAR coral reef monitoring/research dives over the past 15 years, Ward said.
      Typically, this species is found intertidally and subtidally from one to 15 meters. The colonies can vary in color from tan/brown to green, blues and even purples. The Kona population is located in waters four to 10 meters deep and consists of tan/brown colonies ranging from young encrusting forms to mature colonies estimated to be at least 80 years old. A total of 75 A. gemmifera colonies were found at the Kona site along a 50-meter stretch of reef.
      This finding was recently published online in the journal Coral Reefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Team Kripps won at the last World Cup event and is
headed to the Olympics. Photo from Charlie Booker
A BOBSLED PILOT HEADING TO THE WINTER OLYMPICS in Sochi has his roots in Ka`u. Justin Kripps, the son of Libby and Robert, is a member of Team Canada. Kripps, now 27, was born in Ka`u and attended Na`alehu School from Grade 1 to Grade 7. After attending high school in Canada, he was awarded a track and field and academic scholarship to Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.
      While competing at a track meet, he was spotted by recruiters from the Canadian bobsled team in 2007. Initially, he was recruited to be a brakeman, where speed and strength are essential. Kripps rose rapidly through the ranks and was a member of the Canadian Olympic team in Vancouver in 2010, where they placed fifth in the four-man event.
      He then decided to try driving the sled and proved a very quick learner. After only two seasons on the World Cup circuit, he has been named as a pilot for Team Canada. He will compete in both the two-man and four-man events.
      Kripps and his teammates started the current season ranked 15th in the world in both events. They have had a standout season, finishing ranked tenth in both the four-man and the two-man. They topped the season off with a gold medal in the final World Cup event before the Olympics. Team Kripps, competing as Canada 3, beat out many more experienced teams, including the current world champions from Germany.
      Honoring his home, Kripps names his bobsleds after Hawaiian goddesses. The two-man sled is Poli`ahu – the goddess of ice, and the four-man sled is Pele – the goddess of fire.
      Kripps’ parents are still in Ka`u and hope to watch their son compete in Sochi via the Internet.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

KA`U HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS host Kealakehe today at 6 p.m. for the Trojans’ last home games of the season. They travel to Waiakea and St. Joseph’s next week.
      Ka`u’s wrestlers travel to Hilo Saturday for a match at 10 a.m.

VOLUNTEERS MEET AT KILAUEA VISITOR CENTER in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Saturday to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. The Stewardships at the Summit program is ongoing, with more scheduled each Friday in February. Park entrance fees apply. 

JO CARON INVITES KA`U RESIDENTS TO ECSTATIC DANCE Saturday at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Participants explore the Five Rhythms – Flowing-Staccato-Chaos-Lyrical-Stillness – during a two-hour practice guided by music that ignites creativity, connection, personal awareness and healing. Fees are $25 or $10 VAC members.
      For more, call Caron at 443-6993.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline is this tomorrow.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2014 ONLINE. For a page-turning version, see kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf. For a pdf version, see kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.pdf.