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, January 30, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Jan. 30

Great Crack lands between Hwy 11 and the coast between Pahala and Volcano are still tied up in foreclosure suits, after
the National Park Service received funding for its purchase last year. Photo from Zillow

THE POSSIBILITY OF THE GREAT CRACK acquisition by the federal government to extend Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park toward Pahala from Volcano is hung up, in part, on a foreclosure suit between a bank and current owner Ken Fujiyama and partners. The National  Park Service listed the Great Crack as one of its top properties for purchase, with funding in its 2016 budget.
The Great Crack is treasured by geologists and cavers.
Photo from USGS
    Recent reports in West Hawai`i Today and Hawai`i Tribune Herald state that "Hilo businessman Ken Fujiyama and his company (Ken Direction Corp.) still owe about $6.1 million to a North Carolina bank that held mortgage on the then-Naniloa Volcanoes Resort, according to a complaint filed in Hilo Circuit Court. ....The bank also alleges Fujiyama, Ken Direction Corp and associates - who no longer have leasehold ownership of the hotel on Hilo's Banyan Drive - fraudulently transferred ownership of a (The Great Crack) 1,952-acre oceanfront property in Ka`u to prevent the bank from obtaining the land through a lien."
     Writer John Burnett reports that the complaint states the Great Crack Property was transferred to a Florida real estate investor "the day before a court hearing on the bank's motion to appoint a receiver to take control of Ken Direction Corp.'s assets."
    Writes Burnett, "The bank’s filing claims Gillespie paid no money for the land and the deed acknowledges only 'consideration paid of $10 and assumption of certain alleged mortgages against the parcels comprising the Great Crack Property.' The filing claims the mortgages are bogus encumbrances on the property by defendants.
     "The document claims the defendants transferred the land to Gillespie because he lives in Florida, 'beyond easy reach of the Hawai`i state,'" reports Hawai`i Tribune Herald. The bank seeks a court order to nullify the sale and allow a receiver to take possession of the land for the bank. Should the bank gain title to the land, the National Park Service may be in a position to buy it.
     Fujiyama is suing the bank, claiming it made false promises and owes money for damages to his hui.
     The Great Crack lands have been of interest to the National Park Service since the days when the property was owned by C. Brewer, before the former sugar company sold it to Fujiyama.
     It is noted for its archaeological sites, lava tube system - a favorite of cavers -  and uninhabited coast.
     After several unsuccessful attempts by the National Park Service to forge a successful negotiation with Fujiyama, he put the land up for sale on Zillow and other real estate sales sites. The lands are located between Pahala and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park makai of Hwy 11. See the Ka`u News Briefs for Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 and for Saturday, March 26, 2016.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.


Sen. Mazie Hirono, herself an immigrant, speaks on the steps of the U.S.
Supreme Court today, demanding that Pres. Donald Trump rescind his order
against travel to the U.S. from seven majority-Muslim countries.
Photo from Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono
STANDING ON THE STEPS OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT, Ka`u's U.S. Senator, Mazie Hirono, demanded during a rally today that President Donald Trump rescind his executive order against travel to the U.S. from seven majority Muslim countries. "Donald Trump can deny it all he wants, but we understand him loud and clear. This is a Muslim ban, and it's deeply wrong," Hirono said. "If we don't speak out against Trump's Muslim ban now, we will be complicit in what comes next. President Trump must rescind this despicable, immoral executive order immediately."
     Hirono, who immigrated from Japan as a child with her mother, also shared the story of Fred Korematsu, the civil rights hero who resisted the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II all the way to the Supreme Court. Today would have been Mr. Korematsu's 98th birthday.
     Earlier today, Hirono sent a letter to the President, calling on him to rescind the order. Twenty-nine Senate Democrats and members of the House of Representatives co-signed the letter. On the same day, Acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates ordered U.S. Justice Department employees to refrain from defending the Trump travel ban in court, just a day after Hawai`i's Attorney General Doug Chin and 17 other state Attorney Generals sent a letter to Trump saying, "Religious liberty has been, and always will be a bedrock principle of our country and no president can change that truth." This evening Trump fired the U.S. Attorney General and replaced the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Daniel Ragsdale.
    Hirono tweeted: "@SallyQYates put the law & upholding the Constitution before politics today. @realDonaldTrump did the opposite. #ThankyouSally." She also tweeted: "Fred Korematsu's work is more relevant than ever. We won't stand to see this dark period repeated nbcnews.to/2jLnQ3D #KorematsuDay
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TRUTH IN LABELING OF HAWAIIAN COFFEE passed the state House of Representatives Agriculture Committee last week. It would require declaration in the labeling of the amount of locally grown coffee, like Ka`u or Kona, and the amount of imported coffee in the coffee bag. HB256 would require coffee blend labels to disclose regional origins and percent by weight of the blended coffees and would prohibit using geographic origins of coffee in labeling or advertising for roasted or instant coffee that contains less than 51 percent of coffee by weight from the geographic area described on the label.
     During a public hearing on the issue and opposing the bill, Roger Kaiwi, of Royal Kona Coffee, represented the Kona Coffee Council, which he said is 200 farmers-strong. He said the industry is thriving with farm-gate values as high or higher than ever. He said that new rules would hurt the industry. "We cannot police what we have already." He said that the coffee industry could end up like eggs and dairy "and we are going to put enough rules on ourselves to put us out of business."
Alexander Calumpit's AC Ka1`u Coffee with its award winning 100 percent Ka`u Coffee.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Kaiwi said that blended coffee is needed to make Hawaiian coffees affordable to sell to a large segment of the market, including visitors.  "If we are looking for omiyages and makanas, most people want to take a piece of Hawai`i coffee back with them at affordable prices." He said that if farmers are prohibited from using the Kona name on their coffees that are less than 51 percent Kona, "we'll lose McDonalds (using 10 percent Kona blend), all the hotels and all the restaurants (using 10 percent Kona blend). These people would no longer be able to sell their product."
     Rep. Richard Creagan, from Ka`u, who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, said that the Hawai`i County Council supports the truth in labeling bill and that it is also supported by the Hawai`i Democratic Party. The Kona Coffee Farmers Organization, with more than 400 members, has started a petition supporting the bill and states on its website: "Our petition asks that the Hawai`i County Council’s request for truth-coffee-labeling be enacted into State Law. The appreciators of genuine Kona coffee are our most enthusiastic supporters. Voices from the Mainland and from around the world will help remind our State Legislators that deceiving visitors is not a good way to generate goodwill and tourism for Hawai`i."
     Carol Weaver, of Pau Hana Estate LLC in Captain Cook, sent written testimony saying local coffee farmers "have suffered economic losses and the reputations of Hawai`i coffee have been damaged because State law permits the use of Hawai`i coffee names on packages containing 90 percent foreign-grown coffee....Hawai`i need to protect the economic interests of its farmers and the reputation and integrity of their crops." See more at www.bigislandvideonews.com.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.TRUTH IN

HOKULE`A IS MAKING HER WAY HOME TO HAWAI`I, with a stop in the Galapagos Islands, after a week and a half of voyaging from the Panama Canal. The Hawaiian voyaging canoe and its crew will soon host a contingent of students and teachers from Hawai`i schools, according to the Polynesian Voyaging Society. The Hawai`i students will fly to the Galapagos, which are famous for inspiring Darwin's 1835 theory of evolution.

A Giant Tortoise is oblivious to the photographer from Ka'u, Ric Elhard, 
as it slowly munches on guava fruit. Photo by Ann Bosted

     The islands’ unusual creatures such as marine iguanas, sea lion, giant tortoises, and a plethora of birds can go anywhere they want. They are regularly seen sunning themselves on the docks or park benches and even in hotel swimming pools. They are so unafraid of humans, it is hard to consider them “wildlife.”  
      The vessel is moored in Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island, which is the largest town in the Galapagos. The islands are part of Equador. “What’s important about the Galapagos, it’s a place where we have an extraordinary opportunity to discover, to explore, to rediscover and learn from this place where Charles Darwin came and changed the world’s view on origins of life,” said Hōkūleʻa captain Nainoa Thompson.
     “It’s a place you come to where clearly from the humanity’s point of view nature comes first, so we learn a lot about what this community and society in the Galapagos do to protect nature,” Thompson added.
     The Hōkūleʻa crew will find the Galapagos to be very similar to Hawai’i. Both archipelagos are situated above a volcanic hot spot and are the product of millions of years of volcanic eruptions. Both have similar landscapes and the same volcanic features, such as lava tubes, pit craters and collapsed calderas as well as lush forests and long white beaches. The largest island, Isabela, has six intermittently active volcanoes.
     Both island states have environmental issues. In the Galapagos they include illegal fishing (that depletes populations of dolphin, turtles and seabirds), electricity from fossil fuels, population density and water pollution. Both places have suffered the effects of introduced fauna and flora. In the Galapagos, their problems include rats, goats, pigs, cats, dogs and fire ants. Even cattle and horses are considered a liability as they can step on the eggs of giant tortoises and destroy them.

Scientist monitoring gas emissions on Mana Loa.
Photo from USGS
    Hōkūleʻa will stay in the Galapagos for approximately one week before setting sail for Rapa Nui (Easter Island). The vessel is expected to return to Honolulu on June 17.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

AN UPDATE ON MAUNA LOA ACTIVITY AND MONITORING EFFORTS will he held on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park as the wrap-up of Volcano Awareness Month. The presentation is by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Ingrd Johanson.
     Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, has erupted 33 times since 1843, most recently in 1984, when lava flows approached Hilo. Future eruptions could produce high-volume, fast-moving flows that reach the ocean in a matter of hours. In 2015, the Volcano Alert Level of Mauna Loa was elevated from Normal to Advisory due to increased seismicity and deformation at the volcano, which continue to occur. Johanson provides a brief account of Mauna Loa’s eruptive history, an update on its current status, and an overview of how HVO scientists track activity that might presage the volcano’s next eruption. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U FOOD PANTRY TUESDAY, JAN. 31 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Judes Episcopal Church in Ocean View.


www.kaucalenadar.com