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.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, May 22, 2017

Ka`u Coffee created many desserts, pupu and entrees at yesterday's Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest.
See more photos and complete results below. Photo by Julia Neal
PROTECTIONS ON AMERICANS' PRIVACY are proposed by Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Republican Rep. Scott Perry. Both founding members of the Fourth Amendment Caucus, they introduced legislation today to permanently codify privacy protection. Last month, the
Peggy Kilkenny's Ka'u Coffee Trei Chicken
Sushi Cake.  Photo by Julia Neal
     NSA announced it is ending its collection of Americans' Internet communications that merely mention identifying terms for foreign targets, but are not to or from those targets, also known as "about" surveillance. The legislation introduced today would permanently codify this policy change into law. Gabbard and Perry, both veterans of the Iraq War, also co-chair the Post 9/11 Veterans Caucus.
     Said Gabbard, "For years, the NSA has been collecting phone and online communications from everyday Americans across the country, defying the rights and liberties granted to us under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. The 2008 FISA Amendments, specifically Section 702, has led to massive government-led exploitation of personal privacy through the collection of American citizens' emails. We need serious reforms that balance the protection of our civil liberties and rights through our constitution, and also keep the American people safe. The NSA recently announced that they would stop collecting our emails and electronic communications under Section 702, but what is to say that it won't start up again? Our legislation will keep our country from backtracking on this progress by permanently codifying this policy change and banning this privacy-invading collection from taking place again."
     Said Perry, “The NSA recently changed policy to prohibit the collection of electronic communications sent or received by American citizens that merely mention a foreign target of surveillance. This practice has long been used as an end-around the Fourth Amendment, and we commend the NSA for aligning their collection efforts with the Constitution. The legislation ensures that this important win for the American people cannot be reversed under future administrations. I thank Congresswoman Gabbard for her continued efforts on this issue and look forward to seeing this bill move quickly.”

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Peggy Kilkenny's Ka'u Coffee Chili Cheese Enchiladas
Photo by Julia Neal    

PRES. DONALD TUMP'S ETHICS PLEDGE is called into question by a letter to the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, penned by Sen. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Edward Markey and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. The hui requests "information about the ethics rules that Stephen Bannon, President Trump's Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor, is required to follow with regards to communications with his former employer, Breitbart News Network."
     According to the four senators, "Under federal ethics regulations and President Trump's ethics executive order, Mr. Bannon is prohibited from communicating with his former employer to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest," says a statement from the Senators.
    "However, Mr. Bannon has publicly admitted to communicating with Breitbart since assuming his White House role, raising concerns about his continued interactions with his previous employer.
“It appears,” wrote the senators, “that Mr. Bannon's communications with Breitbart are in violation of the Ethics Pledge.”
     Outlined in Trump's own Executive Order 13770, the pledge bars administration appointees from participating in matters related to their former employers. Additional OGE regulations also require executive branch employees to “avoid an appearance of loss of impartiality in the performance of...official duties.” These regulatsions, "Mr. Bannon flouted by reportedly providing preferential access to his former employer," states Hirono and colleagues.
   Breitbart News," and whether his actions were consistent with those standards. The letter follows a previous inquiry sent last month by the senators to Mr. Bannon, asking him directly address concerns about his compliance with ethics regulation. Mr. Bannon has yet to respond, said Hirono her hui.
Jr. Miss Ka`u Coffee Calaysa Koi is one of three judges at the
Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest. Photo by Julia Neal
   The senators ask OGE to provide a comprehensive overview of "relevant laws, precedents, executive orders, and legal opinions regarding Mr. Bannon's role as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President and his relationship and communications with Breitbart News," and whether his actions were consistent with those standards. The letter follows a previous inquiry sent last month by the senators to Mr. Bannon, asking him directly address concerns about his compliance with ethics regulation. Mr. Bannon has yet to respond, said Hirono.

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U.S. HELPING WAR VETS RETURN TO CIVILIAN LIFE is the purpose of a bill that Democrat  Sen. Mazie Hirono  and Republican Sen. Mike Rounds introduced on Monday. Both are  members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and their Veterans To Enhance Studies Through Accessibility Act  would reimburse veterans for cost of approved tests and allow GI Bill payments to be carried forward for education. 
     Under current law, veterans are required to use a full month of their Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility to be reimbursed for licensing, certification and national tests, such as those required to be an athletic trainer, fire fighter or medical technician. 
Emcee Makana Kamahele and multiple Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest
winner Peggy Kilkenny. Photo by Jesse Tunison
     “Last year over 6,000 Hawai`i students pursued their educational goals through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and many want to enter high-demand science, technology, engineering, and math careers which often require paying for various tests, professional licenses, and other credentials," said Hirono. “As a cosponsor of the law creating the Post-9/11 GI Bill, I am proud to join Senator Rounds in introducing this commonsense bill to improve the way it reimburses these expenses for current and future generations of veterans and their families.”
      “Our veterans have made incredible sacrifices for our country, and they should be able to fully use the benefits they’ve been promised when they enter into civilian life,” said Sen. Rounds.  "Our bill will make sure vets aren’t forced to exhaust a full month of GI bill benefits for a low-cost test or certification in order to pursue a successful career in a competitive job market. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to advance this legislation.”
      Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) and Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) earlier this year. It is supported by The American Legion and the Association of the United States Navy.
Melia Okimoto's Moa Kope - Ka`u Coffee Chicken
Photo by Julia Neal

THE ANNUAL KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST has announced its official results from Sunday's event at Ka`u Coffee Mill:
Student Division,:
     Pupu 1st- Tiare Wong Yuen with her Ka'u Coffee Infused Won Ton
     Pupu 2nd- Melia Okimoto with her  Sweet n' Salty Ka`u Coffee Pops
     Entrée 1st- Melia Okimoto with her Moa Kope ( Ka`u Coffee Chicken)
     Dessert 1st- Tiare Wong Yuen with her Ka'u Coffee Cup Cake
     Dessert 2nd- Melia Okimoto w/ Ka'u Coffee Latte Cake
Elgon Villanueva's Ka`u Coffee Garlic Furikae Wings
Photo by Julia Neal
Adult Division:
     Pupu 1st- Austin Kilkenny with his Ka`u Coffee Smoke Marlin Coffee Dip
     Pupu 2nd- Elgon Villanueva with his Ka`u Coffee Garlic Furikake Wings
     Pupu 3rd- Peggy Kilkenny with her Ka'u Coffee Trei Chicken Sushi Cake
     Entree 1st- Peggy Kilkenny with her Ka'u Coffee Chili Cheese Enchiladas
     Entree 2nd- Austin Kilkenny with his Ka`u Coffee `Ohana Comfort Beef Stew
     Entree 3rd- Elgon Villanueva with his Ka`u Coffee Perfectly Perked Pahala Pork Tenderloin
     Dessert 1st - Peggy Kilkenny with her  Velvety Ka'u Coffee Latte Cheesecake minis
     Dessert 2nd -Austin Kilkenny with his Ka`u Coffee  Caramel Apple Macchiato Bars
     Dessert 3rd- Victoria Gooderham with his  Chocolate Eclairs with Ka`u Coffee Cream.

Dr. Jay Griffin, new member
of the Public Utilities Commission
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THE NEW PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION MEMBER is Dr. Jay Griffin. According to Gov. David Ige, Griffin will serve on the three-person Public Utilities Commission staring in June to fill the seat left vacant by Tom Gorak.
     Ige said in a statement that he was excited to find a talented individual who has “demonstrated expertise and is aligned with our commitment to a 100 percent clean energy future.”
     Griffin, who has been active in energy policy for two decades, is an Assistant Researcher at the Hawaii Natural Energy Institute at the University of Hawaii. He previously served as chief of policy and research for the PUC, where he led staff and consultant teams in analyzing state energy policy decisions, according to the governor’s office.
     PUC Chair Randy Iwase welcomed Griffin back to the commission, saying that the PUC has many major issues to handle, including electric rate cases and renewable energy projects. “They’re going to take a lot of work,” he said, adding that Griffin will be a great asset.
     Griffin attended Duke University and graduated in December 2000 with two degrees - a Masters in Environmental Management and a Masters in Public Policy. In 2001 he hired on as a session staff member for Mina Morita of Kauai, who was a State Representative at the time. Griffin also worked as an intern for her in 2003. He became a conservation organizer for the Sierra Club Hawai’i Chapter in 2001. In 2002 he was a graduate student at UC Santa Barbara, before becoming an energy policy analyst at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, CA. At Rand, Griffin worked on a strategic energy plan for Israel’s natural gas sector and an assessment of a nationwide renewable portfolio standard  for the U.S. Improving Cost-Effectiveness and Mitigating Risks of Renewable Energy Requirements.
Griffin received a Ph.D. in Policy Analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His wrote his thesis on “
     In 2009 Griffin became an Assistant Specialist at the Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute, working on research projects analyzing the integration of renewable energy sources into electricity grids, energy policy, and energy-economic modeling.
     The Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute was established by the State Legislature in 1974. It is an independent research facility housed at the University of Hawai`i, Mānoa. For several years HNEI has worked closely with HECO to assist in the integration of higher levels of intermittent (variable) power into the grid.
     In 2012, at the request of the then-PUC Chair Morita, Griffin took a leave of absence from HNEI to serve as the Chief of Policy and Research at the PUC. He returned to HNEI in July, 2016.
     Griffin has won numerous awards, written for various publications and made a host of presentations relating to energy and costs.
     Griffin’s interim appointment to commission is effective June 5. It is also subject to Senate confirmation.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, May 21, 2017

Miss Ka`u Coffee Flower Evalynn Ornelas shows off entries for the annual Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST drew a wide variety of creations on Sunday at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Hungry observers enjoyed them, including Ka`u Coffee Festival Emcee Makana Kamahele, Junior Miss Ka`u Coffee Calaysa Koi, who served as a student judge for both adult and student divisions; Miss Ka`u Coffee Peaberry Jayzmynn Navarro; and Miss Ka`u Coffee Flower Evalynn Ornelas.
Infused Ka`u Coffee Fried Wontons won the Student Entree
category, the creation by Tiare Wong Yuen.
Photo by Julia Neal
    In the Student Division, Tiare Wong Yuen won first in the Pupu category for her Infused Ka`u Coffee Fried Wontons. She also won first in Desserts with her Ka`u Coffee Latte Cake. Melia Okimoto won first place for the student Entree dish, with her Ka`u Coffee Chicken.
    In the adult division, Peggy Kilkenny won first place in the Dessert category with her Ka`u Coffee Latte Cheesecake and also first in the Entree category with her Ka`u Coffee Enchiladas. First in the Pupu category was a Ka`u Coffee Marlin Dip
    All of the first place winners received a $100 prize from the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.
    See the complete list of winners in the Tuesday Ka`u News Briefs and also in the The Ka`u Calendar print newspaper for June.

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Miss Ka`u Coffee Peaberry Jazmynn Navarro displays
dessert entries for the Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest.
Photo by Julia Neal
STARGAZING AT MAKANAU is Monday's Ka`u Coffee Festival Event. Reservations can be made at Ka`u Coffee Mill or by calling 928-0550. The event involves not only an introduction to Ka`u's stars, but a visit to the Makanau historic site and a discussion on its history. The heiau area is stewarded by the Demetrius Oliveira family of Pahala.

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THE DIRECTORY 2017 FOR KA`U is now onlineThe Directory is a partnership between Ka`u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper.  It serves as a business and resource guide for the Ka`u District and includes maps of the communities and photos by such celebrated photographers as Peter Anderson. 
The Directory is online for Ka`u
     The Directory raises funds for scholarships for Ka`u students in higher education. It also helps to fund other Chamber activities, such as the annual Beauty of Ka`u Art Show. 
     The Directory is distributed annually through 7,500 print copies at no cost to residents and local businesses. 
     The 2017 cover for The Directory is a quilt which won the popular vote at the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Art Show last fall.
     The Ka`u Chamber of Commerce scholarship application deadline is June 1 and higher education students and those beginning higher education can apply. See www.kauchamber.org.
     To read The Directory online, click on the top or bottom of each page on the website.

THE NEW HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY WEBSITE is the subject of this week's Volcano Watch, written by HVO scientists:
     In 1998, a U.S. first-class postage stamp cost 32 cents and a gallon of gas in Hawai`i set you back about $1.50. Apple unveiled the iMac, Google was founded, and Pokémon was released in the U.S. for Nintendo® Game Boy.
    Fast forward to 2017. Email and paying bills online have all but replaced the need to mail a letter for 49 cents. The price of gas has doubled, but it's now possible to opt for an electric car and never go to the pump. And amazingly, many people carry a pocket-sized computer (a smartphone) with the capability to search the Internet for whatever they want, any time of the day—or to just play Pokémon GO.
    Why compare 1998 to 2017? It’s related to the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory website, which was initially launched in March 1998. Not much changed over the course of 19 years—until last week, when an extensive makeover of the website was rolled out.
    The changes to HVO’s website are much more than "skin" deep—its “bones” are completely different. 
     What you now see on your computer or mobile device is supported by a powerful database that houses both informational content and nearly all volcano monitoring data that stream into HVO from hundreds of instruments throughout Hawai`i. This new structure allows for a more efficient and consistent website, with simplified maintenance that leads to fewer broken links.
    Written sections were added and expanded to explain the eruption history of many Hawaiian volcanoes. But the real stars of the new website are the interactive maps that display earthquake and monitoring data.
A comparison of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory homepage in 1998 (left), the year the website was originally launched, and in 2017 (right), following an extensive makeover to make the website more interactive, mobile-friendly, and easier to maintain. Check out HVO’s new website at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/hvo/.
    On HVO’s old site, you could only see data from seismometers and a few deformation instruments on Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. The new map interface allows access to more data types, and you can view near-real-time data streams across all our monitored volcanoes by clicking on the instrument symbols. The maps can be reached via “Earthquakes” in the website menu bars, or via the "Monitoring" tab in sub-menus on the Kīlauea and Mauna Loa volcano pages.
     Sharing results of monitoring and scientific study is a primary goal of HVO scientists. Kīlauea Volcano's Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō eruption was in its 15th year when HVO’s first website was launched and the Internet made it easier to share information about it.
     With the advent of the HVO website came detailed daily updates of Kīlauea eruptive activity. Field photographs were regularly posted (and even back-dated to 1997) on the website, and in 2000, scientists began posting maps of the East Rift Zone lava flows. Through HVO’s website, the eruption of Kīlauea reached a growing and devoted worldwide audience.
     Advances in technology and volcano monitoring capability led to more enhancements to the website.
       In 2003, HVO scientists built a powerful volcano-monitoring data analysis and visualization tool called "VALVE." By 2006, deformation data (tilt and GPS) that record the up-and-down movement (inflation and deflation) of Kīlauea's summit and Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō crater were made available on the HVO website. Webcam images were then added steadily—Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō in 2004, Mauna Loa in 2005, Halemaʻumaʻu in 2008—with a dedicated webcams page created in 2009.
    In 2011, the hard-coded HTML pages for images, videos, and Volcano Watch articles were transitioned into a database. Although what you saw on your computer didn't change dramatically, the database made it much easier to post, manage, and archive information. In the same year, HVO launched its first interactive map (VolcWeb) to display earthquake monitoring data for Hawaiian volcanoes. The 2017 website map improves and enhances the information that is available, especially for mobile devices.
     Conceptualization for the redesign of HVO’s website began six years ago. The longstanding history and large audience for HVO's online presence were carefully considered in the development of the new website. Its architecture allows for continual and easier improvements, which are ongoing and will take into account how users interact with the website.
    "Change is rarely easy, and it takes time to adapt to something new," explain the Volcano Watch scientist. "We hope that once you explore HVO’s new website and learn the pathways to your favorite content, you’ll find gems along the way and enjoy learning more about Hawaiian volcanoes. Feedback about the website is welcome at askHVO@usgs.gov."

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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ka`u High School held its first graduation in the new Ka`u District Gym on Friday night. Photo by Pam Taylor
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL, WITH 39 GRADUATES, held the ceremonies Friday night for the first time in the new Ka`u District Gym.
     Co-Valedictorians Chole Gan and Jenny Mauricio Henriques encouraged the class to reach for their goals and dreams. Na`alehu School Principal Darlene Javar gave the Commencement Address with inspiration for a successful and happy future.
Valedictorian Janny Mauricio Henriques, Student Body President Pete 
Dacalio and Co-Valedictorian Chloe Gan. Photo by Pam Taylor
     Ka`u High School Principal Sharon Beck named scholarship winners:
     Destiny Beck and Tristan Davis received Harry McKee honors. Charisma Felipe received Na Wahi Pana O Ka`u and Foodland Shop for Higher Education Scholarships.
     Chloe Gan received scholarships from American Association of University Women, Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship, F. Keohnen Ltd. Scholarship, Harry McKee Scholarship, Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation Outstanding Student Award, UH Hilo-Hawai`i Scholars Award and University of Portland President's Scholarship.
     Alkysha Gustafson-Savella received a Shoreline Community College Scholarship and Jenny Mauricio Henriquez received a UH Hilo-Hawai`i Scholars Award and University of Virginia Award.
Na`alehu School Principal Darlene
Javar gave the Commencement
Address. Photo by Pam Taylor
     Travis Taylor received a UH- Hilo Hawai`i Scholars Award and Trevor Taylor received a Citizen Scholar Award from Hawai`i Lodging & Tourism Association, Department of Education and the Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper.     
     The Class of 2017 Award Recipients are: Pete Dacalio for Athletics, Chloe Gan for Scholastics, Jenny Mauricio Henriquez for Leadership, Jacob Maygra for Literacy & Artistic Performance and and Travis Taylor for Information Technology.
     The Principal, vice Principal Deisha Davis and Athletic Director Kalae Namohala presented the diplomas. Graduates are:
     Sheanale Agpaoa, Dayse Andrade, Titan Ault, Joanne Baruelo, Destiny Beck, Benly Bolaoen, Jamal Buyuan, Jessica Coss, Pete Dacalio, Jr., Tristan Davis, Cedrick Felipe, Charisma Felipe, Jacob Flores, Jr., Cedrick Freitas, Sheri Lynn Freitas, Chloe Gan, Daniel Garo, Benjamin Gouveia, Alysha Gustafson-Savella, Ismarjan Guzman, Layna Haina, Julia Ka`awa, Jameson LeMaire, Javier Lobos Paz, Janny Maruicio Henriquez, Jacob Maygra, Yokko Nagel, Joven Padrigo, Chadwick Pajimola; Kathryne Patara, Brittney Perry, Ka`ala Petrill-Abrojina, Arjhell Salmo-Grace, Lomon Silk, Taylor Silva, Richard Souza III, Travis Taylor, Trevor Taylor and Kalamakoa Waiwai`ole.

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CONDEMNING THE $460 BILLION ARMS DEAL WITH SAUDIA ARABIA was the Saturday statement from Rep. Tuslsi Gabbard, who represents Ka`u in Congress. The congresswoman said she opposes President Donald Trump Administration’s arms sale—$110 billion immediately and $350 billion over the next 10 years—because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has "a devastating record of human rights violations at home and abroad, and a long history of providing support to
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard opposes the Arms deal with Saudi Arabia. See more
at www.bigislandvideonews.com.
terrorist organizations that threaten the American people." Gabbard contended that "Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest sponsor and propagator of the extremist Wahhabi Salafist ideology that fuels terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Based on Saudi Arabia’s history and track record, there is a significant likelihood these weapons will be used against innocent civilians or end up in the hands of terrorist groups."
CIA Director Mike Pompeo gave the
Saudi Prince an award for excellence
in intelligence and contribution to
     Gabbard declared that "Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of billions of dollars spreading their extreme Wahhabi Salafist ideology around the world, creating fertile ground for terrorist organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda to recruit, while simultaneously providing direct support to terrorist groups who pose a direct threat to US interests and who are fighting to overthrow the Syrian government.
Gabbard asked Secretary of
Defense James Mattis to end
U.S. participation in Yemen war.
"The hypocrisy in the Trump administration’s actions toward Saudi Arabia began in February 2017 with the newly-appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo presenting Saudi Crown Prince bin Nayef with the George Tenet Award in recognition of Prince bin Nayef’s ‘excellent intelligence performance, in the domain of counter-terrorism and his unbound contribution to realise world security and peace.’ This hypocrisy continues now as the Trump administration talks tough against ISIS and terrorism, while selling weapons to, supporting, and praising a country that beheads dissidents, oppresses women, persecutes religious minorities, atheists, and LGBT people, and is the greatest supporter of terror groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS in the world
     Gabbard pointed to her bill H.R. 608, the bipartisan Stop Arming Terrorists Act, which would prohibit federal agencies from using taxpayer dollars to provide weapons, cash, intelligence, or any support to armed militants who are allied with al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist groups. It would also prohibit the U.S. government from funneling money and weapons through other countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar, which, she says, "are directly or indirectly supporting terrorists."
     Gabbard also sent a letter to Secretary Mattis urging an end to the United States’ military participation in Yemen’s civil war, "where 19 million people need emergency support and which has never been authorized by Congress." She called for a Congressional briefing on the White House’s strategy in Yemen.
Star Gazing from Makanau is Monday,
as part of the Ka`u CoffeeFestival.
Photo by Andres Richard Hara
today. This arms deal will enable Saudi Arabia to use U.S.-made weapons in their war crimes against Yemeni civilians in a brutal civil war, and continue perpetuating
human rights atrocities at home and abroad," Gabbard concluded.

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PEOPLE AND LAND OF KAHUKU - Sunday, 9:30 am. to noonat the Kahuku Unite of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free, guided 2.5  mile hike covers rugged terrain and human history of the area.

KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST - 11 a.m. Sunday at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Entries due by 10 a.m.
     Prizes in adult and student categories for recipes using Ka`u Coffee. Public welcome to the judging and tasting. Ka`u Coffee Mill on Wood Valley Road.

KA`U STAR GAZING at Makanau on Monday evening, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.. An event of the Ka`u Coffee Festival. See www.kaucoffeefest.com. Call 928-5050.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, May 19, 2017

Visitors from coffee growing regions from Puerto Rico to India, Colombia and Papua New Guinea celebrated
with Ka`u Coffee farmers, their families and the band El Leo at the kick off party Friday for the
 2017 Ka`u Coffee Festival. Photo by Julia Neal
2017 MISS KA`U COFFEE COURT began making appearances on Friday night with the kick off party for the ninth annual Ka`u Coffee Festival at Pahala Plantation House.
     The event was attended by coffee farmers, local families and visitors from places around the world including China, Canada, Russia and famous coffee growing regions, Colombia, Puerto Rico, India and Papua New Guinea. Puerto Rico and Hawai`i are the only two coffee growing regions in the U.S.
Miss Ka`u Coffee 2017 Jami Beck along with Jr. Miss Ka`u Coffee 
Calaysa Koi, Miss Ka`u Coffee Peaberry Jazmynn Navarro, 
Miss Ka`u Coffee Flower Evalynn Ornelas and First
Ka`u Coffee Flower Lilianna Marques. Photo by Julia Neal
    Entertaining was the Puerto Rican band El Leo, which includes state Senator Russell Ruderman whose territory includes most of the coffee farms in Ka`u. Also performing was Da Backyahd Braddahs with Ti Chun, Makana Kamahele and Sheldon Salmo.
   Miss Ka`u Coffee attendees included Pageant Director Trini Marques and Miss Ka`u Coffee 2017 Jami Beck along with Jr. Miss Ka`u Coffee Calaysa Koi, Miss Ka`u Coffee Peaberry Jazmynn Navarro,  Miss Ka`u Coffee Flower Evalynn Ornelas and First Ka`u Coffee Flower Lilianna Marques. Also attending were 2015 Miss Ka`u Coffee Maria Miranda and 2016 Miss Ka`u Coffee Rochelle Koi.
       Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba invited everyone to attend the events this week, including the Ka`u Coffee Recipe Contest on Sunday, Ka`u Star Gazing at Makanau on Monday, Ka`u Mountain Water System Hike On Wednesday and Thursday, the all day Ho`olaulea with music, coffee tasting and buying, food and much more on Saturday and Ka`u Coffee College next Sunday.
     Miss Ka`u Coffee and her court will appear at numerous events throughout the week and the coming year, including parades and visits to schools, farms and community gatherings.
    See www.kaucoffeefest.com for more on events all this week.

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Ka`u Coffee Festival volunteer Helena Sesson and
Miss Ka`u Coffee 2015 Maria Miranda.
Photo by Asia Sesson
KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST on Sunday is open for entries in the pupu, entre and dessert categories with adult and student divisions. First prizes are $100 each. All recipes must include Ka`u Coffee and must be brought to Ka`u Coffee mill by 10 a.m. They will be judged on creativity, taste and presentation.
    Each contestant is limited to one entry per category. See www.kaucoffeefestival.com and www.kaucoffeemill.com.
     The public is invited to view the judging of the creations and to taste them. Emcee of the event is Makana Kamahele. Prizes are provided by the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

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REJECTING ALL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE DONATIONS is what Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard promised on Friday. Concerning her campaign donations, she released a statement saying: "From the day I was elected to Congress, I promised myself I’d never allow money to influence the decisions I make on behalf of the people who elected me to serve them. Furthermore, I’ve refused to accept contributions from industries like Wall Street banks, Big Pharma, Tobacco, Liquor, and, more recently, Defense. However, from here on out, I've made the decision not to accept money from any political action committees.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard promises to take no PAC money.
     "Here’s the bottom line: we cannot allow the future of our nation and our politics to be driven and shaped by special interests. Citizens United has exposed a major problem for the future of our country—there is far too much dark money influencing our politics. Our policies and our future must be driven by the American people and their interests.
     "I believe in the power of the people and our ability to take action toward a brighter future. When we are informed, involved, and working together toward a common goal, we are more powerful than any special interest group. This is why we need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics and elevate the voices of the people of our country," stated Gabbard.
New exhibit includes Iwa Leads the Way. Image from VAC

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WORLDWIDE VOYAGE, HAWA`I SHARES ITS CULTURE WITH THE WORLD, is a new exhibit that opens Saturday, May 20 at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. It presents the navigational story of the Hokulea Malama Honua 
worldwide Vooyage, told through photographs, cultural items and art inspiref by the voyage.
     The exhibit continues through July 2 and consists of r a colleciton of mounted photographs, cultural items and art curated by Gary Eoff. The Polynesian Voyaging Scociety shares the exhibit with Volcano Art Center.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eucalyptus trees above Pahala on Kamehameha Schools land, could be cut and hauled to Pepeekeo
to burn in Hu Honua electric plant being refurbished at the old sugar mill.
Photo by Julia Neal

EUCALYPTUS TREES ABOVE PAHALA MAY BE HARVESTED FOR ENERGY, according to a plan submitted to state and county governments for the Hu Honua power plant project in Pepeekeo. The plan mentions that the Hu Honua hui made "a due diligence review of plantation forestry operations and reviewed several relevant resources and information, including the Road Easement documentation for the Pinnacle and Pahala properties, Hawai`i County Grading Permit and Grubbing Permit terms and conditions, and Exemption from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for the construction of two engineered stream crossings at the Pinnacle property, in order to conclude that timber harvest and other forest management activities are feasible in the context of environmental regulations and operational constraints."
     The proposal also states that a law firm was retained "to evaluate land use and regulatory compliance issues associated with the future harvest and haul operations from the Pinnacle and Pahala properties to supply Hu Honua with feedstock from existing timber lands, and concluded that it did not find any permitting requirements that would prohibit Hu Honua to continue forestry operations on the Pinnacle and Pahala properties." 
     The eucalyptus groves are above Pahala on Kamehameha School lands. The trees would be felled and trucked up the Hamakua Coast to Hu Honua, which is rebuilding the old Pepeekeo power plant from sugar industry days. It has been dormant since 2003.

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PROPERTY TAX HIKES are up for debate, with Mayor Harry Kim going before the County Council today to explain the proposed 6.5 percent increase on all properties except for affordable rental housing.
Mayor Harry Kim when he presented the 6.5 percent property tax
 hike proposal to the County Council.Photo by David Corrigan
See the mayor's  presentation today at Big Island Video News
     To fund the $400 million budget, with a $20 million shortfall, the mayor explained the administration decided that "After all different options were reviewed, that the best, in regards to fairness to all, was across the board 6.5 percent" property tax hike. "There were so many things in the budget that are beyond our control," said the mayor, pointing to legislative directives and increases in union wages, as well as retirement benefits. Pay raises account for $8 million, said the mayor, those pay hikes negotiated statewide by unions representing the firefighters and other government employees.
     On the revenue side, said the mayor, county representatives asked the state legislature to try to encourage a fairer and better distribution of the Transient Accommodations Tax to the counties. He said the county suffer a $2 million shortfall in the TAT that it provided by the state to the county  this coming year.
     The mayor said he understands the 6.5 percent property tax increase will not be well received by most people. He noted that there are 17 tax bases for state and only three are under control of the county. About  71 or 72 percent of county income is from property taxes, he explained.
     He said the county was $20 million short for next year's budget, even after county departments made cuts. Anticipating a shortage in income, the mayor said, "Department by department, the first instructions to all of them was 'cut.' The second time around it was again, 'cut."
    He said, however, he would not support any furloughs or removal of county positions. "If money was not an issue, as I told the police chief, we could easily double the police department forces and still be short." He pointed to Ka`u and Puna. "The shortage of police officers there is not disputed. It is well known. We do wish we had the money to give to the police department to increase the services there."
Mayor Kim said he could not cut positions or furlough workers in
his budget considerations. Photo by David Corrigan. See the mayor's
presentation at
 Big Island Video News
     The mayor told the County Council that said the county "can defend, comfortably, the entire budget as a good one in regards of choices that have to be made."
     One department where an increase was allowed was for the transit system - with an addition of $600,000 to the budget for necessary expenses. The mayor noted that he made a personal plea to the mayor of Honolulu who will ship by late June "five to seven buses for our use. These are buses that they rotate out of their fleet." He said Honolulu has a "tremendous maintenance program and those buses would not be put on the road unless they were good, and the only thing that we have to pay for is the transportation of the buses to this island."  He said Honolulu County has been "very kind and gracious in giving us all that they can."
    Kim emphasized that most department budgets have been cut including the budget of the mayor's office. Cuts are small because budgets are small, he said. He gave and example of what he called a small cut in a $400 million budget. The county deleted its $12,000 membership to the National Association of Counties.
     See more of the mayor's presentation at www.bigislandvideonews.com.

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STATE TEAM OF THE YEAR: NextEra-Hawaiian Electric Merger Evaluation Team, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, is the winner, Gov. David Ige announced today.
     "This dedicated 15-member team worked tirelessly to process and analyze more than a hundred thousand pages of information in their review of the proposed $4.3 billion merger between NextEra and the Hawaiian Electric Companies. In each and every instance, they upheld the division’s mission to protect and advance the interests of Hawai‘i’s regulated utility consumers."
     The merger of Florida-based NextEra and Hawaiian electric Companies, which includes the utility for this island, did not go through, after much evaluation by the state and counties and consumer groups.
     Team of the Year was one of the titles given in the state Employees of the Year competition. The individual Employee of the Year is a school custodian, Lowell Spencer who works for the Department of Education. Manager of the Year is Mark Patterson, corrections manager with the state Department of Human Services.

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KICKOFF PARTY AND OPEN HOUSE FOR THE KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL is this Friday, May 19 at Pahala Plantation House beginning at 6 p.m. El Leo, the Puerto Rican band will play music along with Sen. Russell Ruderman, who is back from the 2017 Hawai`i Legislature. Also meet Rep. Richard Creagan, Chair of the Agriculture Committee for the state House of Representatives. Meet Miss Ka`u Coffee Jami Beck and her court. Taste Ka`u Coffee and meet the farmers. The event is free.

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KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST is Sunday, May 21 at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The annual Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is part of the Ka`u Coffee Festival and offers cash prize. Entries are accepted in adult and student divisions, in pupu, entree and dessert categories and all recipes are made with Ka‘u coffee. Free coffee tasting. Meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550. 

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Rough waters today led to dangerous conditions for swimmers along the Ka`u Coast, with the rescue by
helicopter of two swimmers with assistance of a water rescue man in the ocean near Punalu`u.
This image is of a stormy ocean at South Point. Photo by Peter Anderson
A HELICOPTER RESCUE NEAR PUNALU`U plucked two teenagers and a lifeguard from rough waters on Wednesday around noon. Three swimmers were off Ninole Horseshoe and drifted out to sea. 
Helicopter rescue
near Punalu`u
      Big waves started rolling in. One swimmer made it to shore and ran toward the Punalu`u lifeguard stand, on the way dialing 911. A rescue person in the water helped the helicopter crew to hoist them into the air, one at a time, delivering them back to shore. There were no injuries.

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Former FBI Director Robert Mueller
is the special council named by
the Department of Justice to
investigate the Russian interference
with the U.S. election
"A VICTORY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE" is how Sen. Mazie Hirono characterized today's appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate the possible connections between Russian operatives and Pres. Donald Trump's campaign. She wrote that Americans "have demanded the truth about Russia’s goal to undermine our democracy and the Trump team’s ties to these efforts. As someone who has been calling for a special counsel for months now, I applaud the selection of former FBI Director Robert Mueller who has a reputation for independence and a dogged pursuit of the truth. I hope that Director Mueller’s investigation will be truly independent and free to follow the facts wherever they lead. The American people deserve no less.”   
     Mueller was FBI Director under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He is a Republican known for skills in sorting through complex evidence in such investigations the 911 tragedy. He as also served as a prosecutor and federal attorney in California, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.. He is a Viet Nam War veteran.
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Sen. Mazie Hirono and her mother Laura. Photo from Sen. Hirono
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO UNDERWENT SURGERY on Wednesday to remove a cancerous kidney. She sent this message. "Got out of surgery and doing okay! Thank you everyone for the well wishes."
     When announcing the situation yesterday, she said she has a good recovery plan and expects to continue her work and run for re-election.

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NET NEUTRALITY, which prevents internet service providers from withholding internet speed from customers or blocking certain content, depending on how much customers pay, is a hot topic with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Brian Schatz.  The FCC meets Thursday to review the landmark rules established on net neutrality.  Said Gabbard, "Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai is bent on overturning this popular regulation. We need to keep the internet free and open to all people. Anything less is corporate censorship sponsored by a government agency, and unfortunately, that’s what the big ISPs and their friends in the FCC want. More corporate profit, more restricted access for users, and the ability to take customers private browsing data to turn over to advertisers for a profit."
     According to Gabbard, "With a boom in internet technology, it’s hard enough keeping our laws and regulations up to speed to protect consumers. Overturning net neutrality takes us in the wrong direction. She provided a link to "Sign our petition today to show the FCC that our rights to privacy and information aren’t up for auction."
     Declared Gabbard, "The American people made their preference clear in 2015, flooding the FCC website with over four million public comments in favor of net neutrality, which the commission established. Just last year, a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Now under new Republican leadership, the FCC’s attempt to pull that regulation out from under the public is a brazen ploy to give corporations yet another advantage over consumers.
    "We can’t allow the FCC to stifle consumer choice in the name of protecting the largest internet service providers’ profits. Net neutrality must remain."
     Sen Brian Schatz, the lead Democrat on the Senate subcommittee overseeing FCC matters, is outspoken in his effort to preserve net neutrality. He claims Trump's new chief of the FCC is attempting to destroy the internet itself. Schatz told CNET that the "internet is working because it's free and open and there's no discrimination." Without the existing rules, "ISPs could treat content differently based on commercial interests or even ideology," Schatz said.  "If they go through with this there will be no guarantees in terms of the law that an ISP wouldn't block, throttle, prioritize or otherwise mess with your content."
     A comment period for new rules for the internet begins May 18. 

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FRIENDS OF KA`U LIBRARIES is asking for volunteers and bake sale items for the Ka`u Coffee Festival, Saturday, May 27 at Pahala Community Center. Anyone wanting to help out can drop off baked goods at Pahala and Na`alehu Libaries on Friday,  May 26th during their regular schedules. Acceptable items include cookies, pies, small loaves of banana/fruit breads, cup cakes, muffins, should be packaged and priced fro 50 cents to $2 each.
     Volunteers for sales at the Ka`u Coffee Festival are needed from 7:30  a.m. in shifts until 4 p.m. 
Call or e-mail to confirm a time to volunteer, phone 929-9244 or 987-7448 or email friendskaul@gmail.com.

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KICKOFF PARTY AND OPEN HOUSE FOR THE KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL is this Friday, May 19 at Pahala Plantation House beginning at 6 p.m. El Leo, the Puerto Rican band will play music along with Sen. Russell Ruderman, who is back from the 2017 Hawai`i Legislature. The event is free.

KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST is Sunday May 21 at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The annual Ka‘u Coffee Recipe Contest is part of the Ka`u Coffee Festival and offers  cash prize. Entries are accepted in pupu, entree and dessert categories and all recipes are made with Ka‘u coffee. Free coffee tasting and meet Miss Ka‘u Coffee. Find contest entry info at www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

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