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.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, April 18, 2014

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park waives entry fees this weekend to kick off National Park Week. Photo by Sean King

SITE VISITS TO PLANNED SUBDIVISIONS failed to get approval of Hawai`i County’s Leeward Planning Commission. Ka`u’s County Council Member Brenda Ford introduced Bill 182 calling for site visits in an attempt to prevent the Planning Department from approving projects that violate community development plans. 
      Erin Miller reports in West Hawai`i Today that Deputy Planning Director Bobby Command said, “We feel in concept this has a lot of merit. Practically speaking, it needs a lot of work.”
      Problems brought up at the meeting include a lack of specific factors that would require developers to re-do theirs plans and language that would allow a Planning director to “be capricious,” Planner Keola Childs said.
      Commissioner Thomas Whittemore said the Council could consider the issues and resubmit the bill.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
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Richard Ha
CHEAPER ELECTRICITY IS “THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT need facing Hawai`i today,” Richard Ha says on his blog at hahaha.hamakuasprings.com. “Everything else radiates from it. 
      “We need enough food to eat, and we need to grow it here, instead of relying on it coming to us from somewhere else. Food security – having enough food to eat, right here where we live – is truly the bottom line. We live in the middle of an ocean, we import more than 80 percent of what we eat, and sometimes there are natural or other disasters and shipping disruptions. This makes a lot of us a little nervous.
      “To grow our food here, we need for our farmers to make a decent living: If the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.
      “The price of oil, and of petroleum byproducts like fertilizers and many other farming products, keeps going up, which raises farmers’ costs. They cannot pass on all these higher costs, and they lose money.”
      Ha says farmers in Hawai`i pay four times as much for electricity as do their mainland competition, which puts them at an even bigger competitive disadvantage.
      “Rising electricity costs act like a giant regressive tax: the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder get hurt first, and hardest,” Ha says. “If our energy costs are lower – and we can absolutely make that happen – our farmers can keep their prices down, food will be cheaper, and consumers will have more money left over at the end of the month. This is good for our people, and for our economy.” 
      Ha calls for the state Public Utilities Commission to review its directives to and agreements with Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and for HELCO’s primary objective to be “making significant reductions in the real cost of reliable electric power to Hawai`i Island residents.”  
      He encourages residents to join the Big Island Community Coalition, which advocates for local sources of energy, including geothermal. See bigislandcommunitycoalition.com.
      “Remember the bottom line: every one of us needs to call for cheaper electricity, and this will directly and positively impact our food security,” Ha concludes.
      Ha, who owns a farm in Hamakua, was reconfirmed by the state Senate earlier this month for another term on the state Board of Agriculture.
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KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is joining congressional leaders on a bipartisan delegation to meet with key leaders in Japan, South Korea and China. The meetings will focus on economic growth and trade, regional security challenges and strengthening alliances in the region. 
      Today, the delegation visits with U.S. Pacific Command leaders in Hawai`i for a roundtable discussion before traveling to Asia.

 “Our economic and strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region are critical to advancing our shared interests in stability and prosperity,” said Gabbard, who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. “In Hawai`i, we deeply appreciate and understand the importance of these regional alliances. Through this delegation’s bilateral meetings with leaders in Japan, China and South Korea, as well as a discussion with USPACOM in Hawai`i, we will strengthen these ties as we work together to maximize the opportunities in the region.”
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KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL BEGINS TWO WEEKS from today with a Pa`ina Open House at Pahala Plantation Manager’s House Friday, May 2. The Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship fundraiser is sponsored by Pahala Plantation Cottages and Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. The event features music by Bolo and Keoki Kahumoku & his `Ukulele Kids, hula by Halau Hula O Leionalani, refreshments and more.
      For more information, call 928-9811 or see kaucoffeefest.com.
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Mark Inman
KA`U COFFEE COLLEGE, the finale of the Ka`u Coffee Festival on Sunday, May 11 at 9 a.m. will feature two leaders in the coffee industry. 
      Mark Inman entered the coffee industry in 1998 based on a passion for remarkable coffee and the belief that business can be environmentally and socially progressive while remaining profitable. For over twenty years, he has been a leading voice in the specialty coffee industry for issues concerning sustainable agriculture, environmental stewardship, green entrepreneurship and social justice.
      Inman’s campaign to improve environmental and social conditions in the coffee industry, as well as voicing his support for the small farmer movement, has taken him from local classrooms in the United States to remote coffee laboratories in the hills of Nicaragua and from Washington D.C. to the floor of the United Nations. His efforts have been covered in local and nationwide publications including TIME Magazine, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle.
      In 2008, Inman served as President of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, where he has also chaired or served on numerous committees and international task forces. From 2010, he served as President of World Coffee Events, which manages seven international coffee competitions, including the World Barista Championship.
Blake Hanacek
      Blake Hanacek is the founder and CEO of A.G.R.O. Roasters and A.G.R.O. Café, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Global Resource Systems from the Faculty of Agricultural Science at the University of British Columbia. His main focus is sustainable rural development and agribusiness management. He also holds a Master of Watershed Management degree from the Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. Hanacek has studied and worked in Canada, Sweden, Japan, Uganda, Kenya, Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States. He is one of the co-founders of AGRODEV (Agricultural Growers Resource Organization Developing Economic Viability), an international NGO based in Kenya.
      Hanacek has been working in the coffee industry for over twelve years, doing everything from harvesting coffee to making lattés. He has also completed several in-depth research papers and presentations on the current methods of production and consumption of specialty coffee. He is a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and the Roaster Guild of America.
      Hanacek has met with coffee growers in over five countries to discuss his Crop to Cup method. He started with one retail cafe and roasting house in 2006 and quickly expanded to three retail locations by 2009. The accredited roaster has over 5,000 hours behind a variety of coffee roasters.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
       
FREE ENTRY TO HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK tomorrow and Sunday kicks off National Park Week. Next week, the park has many events scheduled around the theme of Go Wild for Culture and celebrating Merrie Monarch Festival. See nps.gov/havo and future Ka`u News Briefs.

HAWAI`I FARMER’S UNION UNITED holds a meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center for those interested in forming a Ka`u chapter. Speakers include Vincent Mina and Bob Shaffer. This meeting of is a potluck; farmers are encouraged to use their local ingredients. 
      For more information, contact Malian Lahey at 503-575-9098 or malian@kauspecialtycoffee.com.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S LAVA LOUNGE in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park holds a Jungle Party tomorrow at 7 p.m. Participants dress in jungle attire and dance to the tunes of DJ Tiki. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.
      Call 967-8365 after 4 p.m. for more information.

THE ALOHAHAS PRESENT THEIR SPRING SHOW at Ocean View Community Center tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. The improv group presents a series of improvisation games with audience suggestions and participation along with original comedy sketches written and performed by members. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door.
      Call 938-2091 or email thealohahas@gmail.com.

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