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.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014

A snoozing sow at a Korean Natural Farming pig operation on the Big Island at Hubbles Hog Heaven.
Photo from Hubbles Hog Heaven
LEGISLATION FOR LABELS on GMO foods and cell phones passed out of the state Senate Health Committee this week, according to its chair, west Ka`u senator and physician Josh Green. SB 2571 SD1 would require all new and used cellular telephones sold or leased by a retailer in Hawai`i to bear this label:
     "To reduce exposure to radiation that may be hazardous to your health, please follow the enclosed product safety guidelines.....” The bill would require the warning label be "conspicuous, legible, non-removable and printed in bold lettering, and affixed to the front and back of all cellular telephone packaging."
A poster about cell phones in San Francisco,
where there is also debate about warnings.
     The senator stated: “We need to make sure cell phones are as safe as possible to use and that consumers are clearly informed that over-exposure to radiation from cell phones can be harmful to your health. Cell phones are an almost universally used tool and are here to stay, which makes it even more important that they are used safely and that consumers are aware of the potential hazards. The cell phone manufacturers themselves include legal disclaimers and health warnings buried deep in the packaging and instructional materials of their products, and in the phone software menus themselves. This measure is intended to clearly inform consumers of the health warnings that are buried in cell phone product safety guidelines.”
     The cell phone bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, which has not yet scheduled it for a hearing. See http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2571&year=2014 
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LABELING FOOD FROM GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS would be required by SB 2521. Also championed by Sen. Josh Green, it would mandate the labeling for raw agricultural commodities, processed food, and seed or seed stock, that have been genetically engineered.
     “The people of Hawai`i have a right to know what is in the food they eat,” Green said. “If the people want a label informing them that there are GMOs in foods, then the legislature should follow their will and pass a simple but effective labeling system.” The bill was passed on Feb. 13 in a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health. It was referred to the Senate Committees on Consumer Protection and Ways and Means, which are yet to schedule hearings. See
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2521 
    Chris Manfredi, of Na`alehu, a coffee broker and land manager, who recently became President of the Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, testified that the Hawai`i Farm Bureau "strongly opposes SB 2521." He said, "We strongly believe that food labeling should be regulated at a federal level." Manfredi also stated: "There are no credible studies, much less a consensus among researchers and the medical community, that crops produced with GMO technology are unsafe. In fact the opposite is true. Independent reviews of thousands of studies have to come to the consensus conclusion that GMO crops are safe."
    Green disagrees with Manfredi's opposition to labeling and is joined by another physician, Dr. Richard Creagan, who represents west Ka`u in the state House of Representatives, owns a farm in Ka`u, and is a member of Hawai`i Farmers Union United. Creagan said this morning that "People will not agree on safety of GMOs because there is a range of GMOs and many studies to be done. However, the right to know is important. If you are worried about what's in your food it is going to have a negative effect on your health. The only way to allay suspicions it to label what is in the food. The Europeans have done this," noted Creagan.
     However, the state Department of Health does not want to be involved in regulating GMO labeling. Gary Gill, Deputy Director of Evironmental Health for the State of Hawai`i, testified that the department "does not object in principle to a labeling policy to enhance public awareness of the absence or presence of genetiacally engineered food or food ingredients in Hawai`i markets. However, the Department is not in a position to enforce such legislation because practical and legally defensable anyalytical methods to detect any and all genetic modifications do not exist."  The testimony from the state Department of Health also states that "Currently, there is no conclusive scientific evidence of negative health effects associatied with the consumption of genetically engineered food or food products as determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As such we do not believe such labeling is a health issue and thus do not support any such program being assigned to the Department to administer."
     Hawai`i Farmers Union United wrote to the legislature "in strong support of SB 2521" requiring GMO food labeling. The Farmers Union testimony noted that many of its thousands of farmers across the country grow GMO foods but the organization supports labeling. "The public has come out in record numbers for local GMO bills on both Kaua`i and Big Island. This is just another sign that the public wants the lawmakers of our state to give us, at the very least, this tool so that we can make informed decisions as consumers," states Hawai`i Farmers Union testimony.
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DR. LINDA ROSEN is the new chief of the state Department of Health, appointed yesterday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, following the death of Director Loretta Fuddy in December. Fuddy died of a cardiac arrhythmia while awaiting an ocean rescue after an airplane accident in waters off Moloka`i. She was was well known for her advocacy for health care for the poor and her support for the Ka`u Local Consortium, which helps childbearing teens and women, under the guidance of Donna Kekoa and other volunteers. 
Dr. Linda Rosen was named Director of Health yesterday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Photo from governor.hawaii.gov
     Fuddy’s replacement is a pediatrician and medical school professor, and serves as chief of the state Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch. Rosen is expected to be confirmed by the state Senate soon, according to Senate Health Committee chair and west Ka`u’s Sen. Josh Green. Green spoke to the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Friday about  Rosen. "We have a close working relationship, and I have a lot of respect for Dr. Rosen. Linda's done an exceptional job developing our trauma system and is a strong physician leader."
   In Abercrombie’s statement, the governor noted that Rosen has more than 30 years in medicine, including administrative positions for more than a decade. “I have full confidence that Linda will continue the significant progress realized under late Director Loretta Fuddy for the remainder of her term." 
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PIGS GROWN WITH THE NATURAL KOREAN method of managing waste with IMOs – indigenous micorganisms, and a deep waste litter system, “are less susceptible to disease and personal injury” and show higher daily average weight gain, according to a University of Hawai`i report covered in a recent Megan Moseley story in Hawai`i Tribune Herald. The story says that the “Korean-based method of managing animal waste is improving hog farming conditions and garnering support on Hawaii Island.” The story quotes Hawai`i County research and development deputy director Donn Mende saying, “There seems to be a growing interest in natural farming.”
     There are more than 40 Korean Natural Farming piggeries in Hawai`i and some of them allow farm tours, such as Hubbles Hog Heaven in east Hawai`i. See http://hubbleshogheaven.blogspot.com
Lack of odor is a benefit of raising pigs with IMOs. Photo from Hubbles Hog Heaven
    The Tribune Herald story quotes U.H. East Hawai`i agricultural extension agent Michael Duponte. After visiting Sim Mook Kang’s farm in Mountain View, Dupont told the reporter, “When I walked in – I couldn’t believe what I saw – no smell, no flies.” The reporter notes that Kang put IMOs into use for the first time in the U.S. in 2009.
     The writer explains that the “lack of smell that’s typically associated with pig waste can be attributed to the use of the indigenous microorganisms or IMOs. Farmers who follow the Korean Natural Farming method incorporate IMOs into the soil that end up breaking down the animal waste naturally.”
     In his report, DuPonte, explains that through the Korean Natural Farming method, the deep green waste litter system also uses “strategic solar positioning and natural ventilation for drying and cooling.”
     The Moseley story also covers a U.S. Department of Agriculture document’s explanation of four types of IMOs. “IMO 1 are organisms that have been gathered by exposing sterile, fresh-cooked rice substrate to good fertile soil from the local garden, farm field and humus from under trees and bushes. Mature IMO 1 is bound together with fungal mycelia and also contains a variety of bacteria and other microorganisms. IMO 2 involves IMO 1 organisms along with the rice substrate, which has been mixed with an equal weight of brown sugar, mashed to a paste and allowed to ferment under a porous cover for at least a week. IMO 3 involves completed IMO 2 that has been diluted with water and optional nutrients and used to moisten rice or wheat bran, followed by fermentation to multiply the IMO 2 organisms. The fermentation lasts a week or more depending on conditions. IMO 4 is IMO 3 that has been mixed with an equal weight of good rock-free native topsoil and allowed to continue fermentation until activity subsides.”
     The Tribune Herald story reports DuPonte saying that the Kang farm “has had no need to add additional IMO’s since it started that practice and that there is no runoff or need to clean the piggery.”
     See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com and at hubbelshogheaven.blogspot.com. Also see https://www.facebook.com/CGNFHawaii.
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PEOPLE & LANDS OF KAHUKU is a a guided, 2.5 -mile hike at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's Kahuku Unit tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.. Call 985-6011. 

FREE ENTRANCE TO HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK continues today through Monday in celebration of President's Day weekend.

PRESIDENTS DAY BUFFET will be offered Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp's Crater Rim Cafe. 967-8371.

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

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