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 28, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

West Hawai`i Coastal areas, including the Ka`u Coast and Ka`ohe Bay, north of Miloli`i, are seeing larger populations of fish harvested for the aquarium trade. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE BUYERS, who said they spent more than $940,000 with local farmers this season, told the Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative last night that they will need more coffee in the future as they expand their marketing. Arturo Romero, of Houston, TX, and Francisco Lobos, of 0cean View, said they want to work with the cooperative so that farmers receive top prices. Francisco said the hui has been paying the farmers $12 a pound for parchment and $1.75 a pound for cherry.
Francisco Lobos, at left, and Arturo Romero with Ka`u Coffee
Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “The name is out there how good Ka`u is,” said Romero. He encouraged Ka`u farmers to allow his marketing to use the cooperative’s name. “Doing business with cooperatives is received well by companies,” he said. He promised fair pricing and noted that it took years to establish fair pricing for farmers in El Salvador, his native country.
      Romero said he wants to help Ka`u farmers with fighting the coffee berry borer, a fertilizer program, providing labor for picking season and establishing a coffee receiving place. He said a decaffeinated Ka`u Coffee will be developed along with acquisition of various packaging machinery for K-cups, filter packs and aluminum packs.
      “By next harvest, we will be able to pay more for the coffee,” he said. He contended that there are moral principals behind his business practices. “If we do good, these benefits are not only for the corporation. They are for everyone to win. The key is to be win-win, to serve you good to make long lasting relationships,” Romero told Ka`u Coffee farmers.
      While pure Ka`u Coffee will be sold, he said the lead product will be a Ka`u Hawai`i blend to achieve the broadest market. He said the company name is Bio Eco Hawai`i, Inc., and it does import Latin American coffee to blend with Ka`u. He said his group is working on a blend that would be more than 10 percent Ka`u Coffee to bring a higher price. 
         Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba said the cooperative will consider the proposals from Romero and Lobos. She said the farmers have been selling to Lobos for years.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Yellow tang populations are increasing along Ka`u and other
West Hawai`i coastlines. Photo from wikipedia
WEST HAWAI`I REGIONAL FISHERY Management Area, which stretches from South Point to Upolo Point in Kohala, is experiencing higher populations of fish commonly harvested for aquarium trade. Fifteen years after creation of fish replenishment areas, the number of yellow tangs has increased 64.5 percent in the areas where aquarium collecting is not allowed and 58 percent in waters from 30 to 60 feet deep along West Hawai`i’s coast, according to Bret Yager, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Hawai`i Division of Aquatic resources biologist Bill Walsh estimates 3.6 million tang now live along the coast.
      The population of kole tang, the second most popular aquarium fish, has also increased 49 percent since 1999, when conservation measures were put in place. The number is now estimated at 6.5 million.
      The data is based on 16 years of surveys and monitoring by West Hawai`i Aquarium Project and related efforts.
      “The FRAs work,” Susan Kellam, founder of the reef protection group Friends of Pebble Beach, told Yager. “Thirty-five percent of the coastline is now protected. I think the spillover effect from them is clear science as well. If you go to O`ahu or Maui to snorkel, those fish are gone.”
      The story says that, according to Walsh, total catch in West Hawai`i's aquarium fishery has grown 22 percent.
      Tina Owens, one of three chairpersons of West Hawai`i Fishery Council, told Yager the increases prove that regulatory efforts are working. “This shows we’re on the right track,” she said. “It validates everything we’ve been working on.” 
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Chris Kanazawa
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE is soliciting applications for Fiscal Year 2015 Community Connect Program grants. The grants provide funds to establish essential broadband services in rural communities where it is currently unavailable. “The Community Connect program serves rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens of the state of Hawai`i and the Territory of American Samoa,” USDA Rural Development state Director Chris Kanazawa said. “This grant can assist rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet.” 
      Applicants eligible to apply include state, county, city or township, Native American tribal governments, nonprofits, for-profits and small businesses.
      The minimum amount of grants awarded will be $100,000; the maximum is $3,000,000. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Feb. 17, 2015. Last year, USDA announced new rules to better target Community Connect grants to areas where they are needed the most.
Grant funds can be used to construct, acquire or lease facilities to deploy broadband to community facilities such as schools and public safety locations, as well as residences and businesses in the community.
      “The Community Connect grant can be made available to bring the benefits of broadband, including new educational, business and public health and safety opportunities, to residents living in some of the remote parts of Hawai`i and American Samoa,” said Thao Khamoui, Area Director.
      More information on the Community Connect grant is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html.

Randy Iwase
HEARING ALL POINTS OF VIEW IS A PRIORITY for Randy Iwase, who Gov. David Ige recently nominated as chair of Hawai`i’s Public Utilities Commission. “We will be quite open to allowing a variety of people and points of views to come in and intervene, whatever that may be,” Iwase told Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News. He also said that the PUC will make decisions after public comments are received and all the questions are answered.
      Iwase said NextEra’s $4.3 billion acquisition of HECO has to be in the best interest of “not just the parties and the people of the state, but also by the policy set by the Legislature.
      “We are going to do our best to get there,” Iwase said. “I’m sure there will be a few who will disagree, but we will do our best.”
      Iwase said the PUC’s strategy in the NextEra-HECO case is to give parties “opportunities to intervene and present different perspectives, as well as raise questions about the case.”
      In addition to NextEra Energy’s the NextEra-HECO case Iwase said other top cases for the PUC are liquefied natural gas and organizing the state agency, which currently has a staff of 40 people, with 10 vacancies and another 15 funded positions. “The staff I've met are very dedicated, very smart and very committed,” Iwase told Shimogawa. “Not just to the state, but to the energy goals.”
      See bizjournals.com/pacific
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS fell to Kona yesterday on their home court. Junior varsity score was 32 – 63, with Jacob Flores scoring the most points, 12. 
      Varsity players Damon Hertz scored 11 points, and Brian Gascon scored 10 of Ka`u’s 43 points. Kona came up with 77 points.
      The teams play again tomorrow, hosting Kea`au.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AN AFTERSCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM at Ka`u Middle School is the goal of Volcano Art Center and Volcano Choy. The school has a band room full of instruments that have not been used for years due to budget cuts. Through a grant to VAC from Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, Volcano Choy will begin teaching afterschool music classes this winter and spring. A jazz concert will be held on Saturday at Pahala Plantation House to help raise funds for restoration of the brass and woodwind instruments, to buy sheet music and cover other costs of this music program. The outdoor concert will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with food and drinks available for purchase. Suggested donation is $15. Attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.
      Donations to support this music program may also be made directly to VAC. Call 967-8222.

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