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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017

Janiece McNichols, Chief Financial Officer for East Hawai`i Region; Sherrie Bazin, Director of Nursing for
Ka`u Hospital; Barry Taniguchi, East Hawai`i Regional Board member; and Dan Brinkman, Chief Executive
Officer for the East Hawai`i Regional, view the lana`i and learn about Ka’u Hospital Charitable
Foundation’s fundraising project to add enhance the garden lanai. See story below.
IN ADVANCE OF PRES. DONALD TRUMP'S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS, broadcast Tuesday at 4 p.m., Hawai`i time, Ka`u's Representative in the U.S. House, Tulsi Gabbard, sent out a message:
     "Like many of you, I’m deeply concerned about the fundamental principles we hold dear, including protecting the environment and our precious water supplies, protecting civil liberties, protecting and expanding affordable healthcare, ending counterproductive regime-change war, ensuring protections for vulnerable refugees and reforming campaign finance so that our democracy isn’t overshadowed by the vast financial interests of billionaires and corporate elite."
     Gabbard stated: "There is an age old strategy that is being waged today on the minds of the American people: divide and conquer. So long as we are fighting amongst ourselves, stoking disdain and resentment against our fellow citizens, we cannot unite against the powerful oligarchy that has wielded disproportionate influence to the detriment of everyday Americans.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard released a statement on protecting the environment and "precious
water supplies," ahead  of Pres. Donad Trump's first speech to Congress, and after
she visited the Navy's Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility on O`ahu. Gabbard and
the Hawai`i congressional delegation have introduced legislation to help protect the
aquifer from leaks at Red Hill. Photo from Tulsi Gabbard 
     "Those who seek to maintain the status quo don't want us to take action to create will change.
    Gabbard concluded:  "What’s happening in Washington is not a true reflection of what’s going on in our communities. There is so much that the vast majority of Americans share in common. We are tired of watching trillions of dollars of taxpayer money disappear on counterproductive regime change wars in the Middle East that cause great human suffering and strengthen terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS. We are tired of being exploited by multinational corporations who have no care for our communities. We are tired of chasing an American Dream pushed farther and farther out of reach by fraud and corruption on Wall Street."
     Gabbard stated that she remains "committed to bringing the voice of the people back into government -and that voice is calling for peace, an end to political and corporate corruption and a fair shot at the American dream. We are all in this together."
      Trump's first speech to Congress since his inauguration was scheduled to be broadcast live on television and internet beginning at 4 p.m. Hawai`i time.

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"BUSINESS IS BOOMING IN OUR NATIONAL PARKS," said Sen. Mazie Hirono, addressing the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, as she expressed concern for Pres. Donald Trump's nominee Ryan Zenke to run the Department of the Interior. Hirono, who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pointed out that National Parks nationwide hosted more than 305 million visitors in 2015, a new record, generating $17 billion in economic activity in nearby communities. Even with record numbers of visitors, however, sequestration and a hiring freeze have led to 10 percent fewer rangers and support staff than five years ago. Hirono warned that the Trump administration's new 90-day hiring freeze threatens "nearly 2,000 permanent vacancies that are critical to helping our National Parks function." Hirono also pointed out that despite the National Parks' popularity and economic benefits, there are 12 billion dollars in deferred maintenance at the National Parks.
    "We need an Interior Secretary capable of standing up to the President to make preserving our public lands a priority," she proclaimed on the Senate floor. She said her interviews with Zenke and his record did not give her the assurances that would allow her to vote for him.
Sen. Hirono with Ka`u Learning Academy students and ranger at Hawai`i Volcanoes
 National Park. NPS Photo by Janice Wei
     Hirono said she is also concerned about Zenke's view on the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has been used to help acquire coastal lands in Ka`u for conservation. She called it "an important fund to add protective lands to parks." Hirono said she would like to see permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, saying it has suffered from chronic underfunding during its history.
     She also said she is concerned about whether Zenke will be committed to supporting alternative and renewable energy, which she called "important to Hawai`i people." Hirono said she believes that the Trump administration and Zenke are "too wedded to the fossil fuel industry."
     The U.S. Geological Survey is another concern of Hirono's. She noted that "USGS lists climate change as one of its top mission areas." Would Zinke try to limit climate change work at USGS?  Would he commit to allowing "USGS to continue to make climate change research a priority or to protect the right of these scientists to pursue their research without interference?" Hirono said she worries about the "Trump administration's ongoing efforts to silence our federal workers, including those within the National Park Service for speaking out about the threat of climate change." She characterized the Trump Administration as being "full of climate deniers."
       Concerning endangered species, Hirono stated that as a congressman, Zenke voted to block funding for any listed endangered species for which the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service failed to conduct a five-year review. She said incompletion of reviews was caused by cutting necessary funds. Said Hirono, "Cutting funding in this way would devastate conservation and recovery efforts for  as many as 850 species across the nation, 137 of which are in Hawai`'i."
    Hirono quoted a Big Island constituent who called Zinke "a destroyer, not a fixer, not someone for the environment or the people." Zenke's  interest in oil pipelines creates a conflict of interest and could could help move exploration and extraction into formerly closed to exploitation, the constituent wrote.

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OFF THE SHELF IS TWO-PERCENT REDUCED FAT MILK from Meadow Gold Daries, following the state Department of Health issuing a cease and desist order on Monday. Lab tests showed coliform bacteria exceeding acceptable limits. A statement from the DOH sanitation branch said state inspectors are working with Meadow Gold to trace the source of the contamination, correct it and conduct more tests until standards are met to resume sales.

EAST HAWAI`I REGIONAL BOARD, the governing body of Ka`u Hospital and Rural Health Clinic, Hilo Medical Center, Hale Ho`ola Hamakua in Honoka`a, and eight other specialty clinics, held a public forum last Saturday, Feb. 25.
     In Ka`u Hospital’s multipurpose day room, members of the community gathered to learn about developments in clinical services, finances and strategic priorities for healthcare in the East Hawai`i Region.
Born in Ka`u Hospital, Rae Yamanaka joined the East
Hawai`i Regional Board last year.
Wayne Kanemoto, Board Member, admires the new clinic
area made ADA compliant by carpentry talents
of Ka`u Hospital's Jay Taganas.
     Merilyn Harris, Administrator for Ka`u Hospital and Rural Health Clinic, shared updates on services and personnel at the hospital. She emphasized that the primary goal of the hospital was to provide quality health care services close to home.
     “One of the most notable developments at our hospital has been a transition with new nursing staff mainly due to retirements,” said Harris. “Within the last year, we also welcomed an innovative Director of Nursing, Sherrie Bazin, who really wanted to set down roots in Ka`u and care for the community.”
     After experiencing some transition in primary care providers, the Ka`u Rural Health Clinic staff has stabilized with Dr. Sarah Howard joining nurse practitioners Susan Field and Megan Lewis.
New patients are being accepted and may call 932-4205 for an appointment. 

TAKING CARE OF THE DIETARY HEALTH of patients and staff at Ka`u Hospital is an opportunity for a Ka`u resident needing full time work. Keone Grace, Morgan Dacalio and Stephanie Kawa`auhau could use a hand in the kitchen at the hospital. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are made daily for long-term residents, patients and those who work at Ka`u Hospital and its Rural Health Clinic.
     According to Hospital Administrator Merilyn Harris, "It is a good job for someone local to the area."
     While a formal education is not required, the employee must have knowledge of preparation of raw and processed food to be cooked; methods, materials, and tools used in cleaning kitchen equipment, appliances and utensils; kitchen safety and sanitation; requirements and personal hygiene.      The employee must have the ability to learn quantity cookery; operated kitchen equipment and appliances; measure food servings and serve food: give and receive oral and written instructions; work cooperatively with others, tolerate kitchen heat and noises; and perform heavy lifting, moving and carrying.
     To apply, find more information and an application on line at www.kauhospital.org

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Open Mic Night, Wed, Mar 1, 6 – 10 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Lava Lounge in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Sign up at 967-8365 after 4 p.m.

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch meeting, Thu, Mar 2, 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-2442 & 928-2015.

Stewardship at the Summit, Mar 3, 10, 18, 25 & 31; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers clear ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/havo.

Girl’s Day Doll Craft, Fri, Mar 3, 2 – 3 p.m., Kahuku Park. Ages 6 – 12.
Register Mar 1/2. 929-9113.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Feb. 27, 2017

Bolo, who is known for his annual presence at the Ka`u Coffee Festival, and Kahikina Ching drum up support for the
annual Feed-A-Thon, which raised over 73,000 lbs in edibles. Photo from Food Basket
GEORGE YOKOYAMA, well known in Ka`u for his work with Hawai`i County Economic Opportunity Council and the dedication of his life to serving the cause of fighting poverty, was recently remembered at the Hawai`i Legislature and at services last week. He is the author of the book Memoir of a War on Poverty in Paradise, published in 2015, and available on Amazon and other outlets.
George Yokoyama remembered at the Hawai`i
Legislature. Photo from Sen. Kai Kahele
     Yokoyama, who died at 90 on Jan. 22, raised close to $100 million in state and federal grants for Hawai`i Island in over 45 years. Pahala resident Anna Cariaga worked with Yokoyama and HCEOC for more than 30 years and praised his work in providing housing and electricity assistance for low-income people and for raising money and organizing volunteers to build clubs for youth and seniors. He was a grassroots political and volunteer organizer, who continued his grant writing and other services at the HCEOC office in Hilo until his health finally failed him, she said.
      On the floor of the Hawai`i Legislature, Sen. Kai Kahele called Yokoyama "a champion for the underprivileged, the elderly, the disabled. He was such a fantastic individual." Kahele described Yokoyama  exemplifying that "one person can make a difference; one person can change the world. He was a big idea type of guy and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
      Yokoyama worked through Office of Economic Opportunity, a nationwide initiative of Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. The local program later became Hawai`i County Economic Opportunity Council. 
      An HCEOC colleague of Yokoyama, Mary Miho Finley, of Volcano, remembered Yokoyama growing programs out of need for youth activities. “There was nothing for the kids or young people in those days,” Finley said. She recalled Yokoyama challenging them, from Na`alehu to Ocean View. “What do you want?” he asked, after police chased them from gathering at the shopping center and parks.  Finley remembered more than 150 youth, from eight years old to high school, asking Yokoyama for a place of their own. Yokoyama told them, "You will have to mobilize resources to make this happen."
     He helped them look for opportunity and it arose when Punalu`u resort developers planned to demolish an old gentlemen’s clubhouse and offered to give the building to the youth. Yokoyama taught the youth how to coordinate and make it happen: Ka`u Sugar provided land in Na`alehu and Jobs Corps trained the young people with skills to help fix up the building. Kilauea Military Camp and Ka`u Sugar trucks moved the pieces of the building to what is now Na`alehu Park.
Anna Cariaga worked side by side with George Yokoyama to
fight poverty in Ka`u and beyond. Photo by Julia Neal
      HPM donated building plans and prepared building permits. Atherton and McInerny foundations and Hilo Kiwanis donated funds. Tommy Ishimaru donated construction of the cesspool. Na`alehu Community Club donated a kitchen sink and pool and ping-pong tables. Community members like the Beck `Ohana, the Kailiawas, Pilipo Kenoi, Adolpho Pascubilio and Joe Tassill helped out. Youth from Keaukaha, Laupahoehoe and Honoka'a traveled to Ka`u to volunteer. 
     In Pahala, Yokyama and his Ka`u team operated the HCEOC office at an old store building in the old sugar mill camp.
     During the recent services for Yokoyama, friends remembered that he could always turn ideas into people coming together to make them happen. They also remembered that while young people were involved in building and using their own club, police reports confirmed that crime went down. 
     At a rededication ceremony on May 2, 2015, then-Mayor Billy Kenoi, contractor Micheal Tonini, former HCEOC Youth Advisor Anna Cariaga, and former Ka`u District Supervisor Mary Evangelista emphasized the importance of carrying on Yokoyama's tradition of investing in young people. Several former members of the "youth gang" also attended, sharing the recollections of the hard work and challenges of building the clubhouse  - the way the place turned their lives around.

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HAWAI`I ISLAND’S FOOD BANKS, including the Food Basket, announced on Monday that it collected over 73,000 pounds of food at Hawai`i Community Federal Credit Union branches, with one in Na`alehu and one in Pahala, and five KTA Super Stores. This year’s Feed-A-Thon from Feb. 8 - 17 far surpassed last year’s event total of 38,348 pounds, the campaign cut short by severe storms.
Record collections in money and food through
Hawai``i Community Federal Credit Union, KTA
and other donation venues.
     Kahikina Ching, longtime ambassador of the Food Basket, led the drive and said, “My Hunger Angel provided us with overall a very nice jump start, which gave a boost to the volume raised.” An anonymous donor kicked-off the drive with a donation of 11,156 pounds of food, which helped to lead to one of the highest total volumes of food raised during any Feed-A-Thon in recent years. The community’s dollar-by-dollar and can-by-can heeded Ching’s infamous “one can if can” advice and raised over 62,000 pounds, which rounded out the total poundage. Entertainers volunteered their time, including Bolo, known for his performances each year at Ka`u Coffee Festival and his composition of the song about Ka`u's mysitical mountain Kaiholena.
    The Food Basket’s Executive Director En Young said, “This drive brings out a unique opportunity that allows us to connect with our community first-hand. It’s one of the unique aspects of a 10 day, island-wide drive.”
    The stated mission of The Food Basket, Inc. is to “feed the hungry in Hawai’i County while attending to the root causes of this critical social problem. The Food Basket will accomplish its mission by preventing the waste of all edible food in Hawai’i County, feeding the hungry with this food, educating the community about local hunger and what can be done to solve this social problem, and collaborating with organizations of partnering missions to eradicate poverty, the root of hunger, and other social ills.”
     One in five Hawai`i Island residents are served by The Food Basket through a network of nearly 100 partnering agencies island-wide. With one in three children in Hawai`i County eligible for free or reduced school meals, and many families and kupuna facing high levels of food-insecurity, The Food Basket is in need of community support on a yearly basis, said a statement from the organization. For more information on ways to help feed the hungry on Hawai`i Island year-round, please contact The Food Basket at 808-933-6030 or visit www.hawaiifoodbasket.org

KA`U FOOD PANTRY PICKUP  for people in needed nourishment is on Tuesday, Feb. 28 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Showers are also offered. The Food Basket helps by contributing food.

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Andrea Kawabata urges Ka`u Coffee farmers to turn in surveys.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS ARE REMINDED to fill out two surveys being taken by the University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture. They are due on Tuesday, Feb,. 28. Andrea Kawabata, Associate Extension Agent for Coffee and Orchard Crops, said that farmers taking the surveys can choose to remain anonymous. "Or, you may choose to provide contact information to enter a $15 gift card drawing and for research and extension collaboration consideration." The surveys, she explained, assist researchers to better understand project impacts and interests, and provide direction toward pursuit of future projects and funding to support the coffee industry. The surveys contain questions about the health of the soil and coffee trees, disease, pests and farming practices. Take the survey at the following: 2017 Coffee Survey and 2017 Flat Bark Beetle Survey.

HOVE Road Maintenance board of directors meeting, Tue, Feb 28, 10 a.m. 929-9910.

Line Dancing, Tue, Feb 28, 2 – 3 p.m., Kahuku Park. Ages 6 – 12 register Feb 22 – 27. 929-9113.

Open Mic Night, Wed, Mar 1, 6 – 10 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Lava Lounge in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Sign up at 967-8365 after 4 p.m.

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch meeting, Thu, Mar 2, 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-2442 & 928-2015.

Stewardship at the Summit, Mar 3, 10, 18, 25 & 31; 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers clear ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply. nps.gov/havo.

Girl’s Day Doll Craft, Fri, Mar 3, 2 – 3 p.m., Kahuku Park. Ages 6 – 12 register Mar 1/2. 929-9113.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017

Ka`u Farm School held its second session on Sunday at Earth Matters Farm at the corner of South Point and Kama`oa Roads.
See story below. Photo by Raina Whiting
GOVERNORS WHO ARE REPUBLICANS AND GOVERNORS WHO ARE DEMOCRATS acknowledged the value of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, during the winter National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. In the governors' session called Ending Childhood Hunger: Improving Lives and Investing in America's Future, they emphasized the importance of SNAP and the federally assisted National School Lunch Program, which provides free and reduced price lunches and breakfasts to help children stay healthy and fit for education. They also discussed the nutritional challenge for children in poverty during times when school is out of session, particularly during summer.
Huge images of children relying on federally funded food programs were projected
 at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. on Sunday.
Photo by M. Martin Neal
     After the day's meetings, the governors headed to the White House to dine with President Donald and First Lady Melania Trump, with Hawai`i Gov. David Ige and First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige among them. During the White House dinner, which Trump called the Governors Ball, the President told the governors and companions that he will meet with the National Governors Association members about health issues on Monday, as they wrap up their three-day event.
      The session on childhood hunger was held at the National Governors Association meeting venue, the JW Marriott in downtown Washington D.C. Chef Hugh Acheson, known for his cookbooks, restaurants and for serving as a judge on the television show Top Chef, urged governors to help remove the stigma from children receiving free food at school. He also emphasized the importance of providing children with free breakfasts to give them a head start on each school day.
     The First Lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, reminded governors that "For the first time, half of all public school children are eligible for free or reduced lunch," supported by the federal government. "Nutrition is an essential tool to help children focus and learn," she said.
Governors were reminded in large graphics that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
assistance in serving breakfasts to children lowers absenteeism at schools.
Photo by M. Martin Neal
   In Ka`u, the poverty rate is high enough that Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary and Na`alehu Schools are among the 30 schools in Hawai`i that qualify for all students to receive free federally subsidized meals, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture Community Eligibility Provision.
     In addition to working with the federal government to subsidize school meals, Hawai`i's governor and his administration recently launched a Farm to School program to source more locally grown food for school campuses. The fresh food will be served to staff and students who will have the opportunity to learn about farming, ranching and good nutrition. Other programs help establish school gardens on the campuses.
     Outside of school, the nutrition situation for children in poverty in Hawai`i is summed up in state Senate Bill 28 that was deferred this session. It says that the Hawai`i Legislature finds that because of Hawai`i's high cost of living and food prices, many low-income families struggle to purchase food. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program - food stamps - " is a crucial means of providing necessary assistance in the purchasing of food for some of Hawai`i's most disadvantaged citizens." However, fewer families sign up for the program than qualify.
Gov. David Ige at National Governors Association meeting.
Photo from Governor's staff
      Hawai`i secures over $500 million a year in federal SNAP funding but has ranked third from the bottom among states with the fewest percentage of eligible people enrolled in SNAP, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In March of 2016, for example, 341,802 people in Hawai`i were enrolled in Medicaid, which means they likely qualified for SNAP, but only 165,697 were enrolled in SNAP. If these additional people were enrolled, the state would be eligible to receive an estimated additional $274 million a year, substantially increasing the number of families receiving food subsidies through SNAP in Hawai`i.
     The legislators identify the problem as partly due to families being unaware of being eligible for SNAP or how to sign up for it. The legislation would allow health care providers to become involved by questioning their Medicaid patients about receiving SNAP and arranging an outreach. The data would also be reported to the legislature to "create a mechanism in which policy makers can better establish plans to maximize federal funding and fight hunger," the legislation states.
    The legislation also reports on the benefit of $247 million of additional SNAP federal funding being injected into the local economy.
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THE SECOND KA`U FARM SCHOOL CLASS on Sunday offered a session on soil and composting and drew an outlook on agriculture by Rep. Richard Creagan. He said that leadership positions in the state administration and in the Hawai`i Legislature are aligned for supporting small farms. He said that Gov. David Ige "wants to double food production, so this is a good time to develop opportunities for small farmers." Said Creagan, "It is very important to get small farmers going if we are going to have a lot of food production." Creagan, who lives in Ka`u, is chair of the state House of Representative Agriculture Committee and said that Sen. Mike Gabbard, who chairs the state Senate Agriculture Committee, and state Department of Agriculture chief and Board of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright "are all on board."
Rep. Richard Creagan addresses a Ka`u Farm School class on Sunday.
Photo by Raina Whiting       
     Creagan noted that, "So much of our agriculture in Hawai`i today has nothing to do with food production." He named macadamia nuts and coffee as examples of food that is mostly sold to tourists. "And seed corn  (grown to collect seeds for planting corn) goes to the mainland," Creagan said.
       He said, "We need to empower the small farmer with land, water, and capital. For labor, many families could help provide the work to grow the food." Creagan predicted that "food grown for families would ramp up to food for the communities, and then food for the state."
       Creagan said he is also interested in food from forests. He said he plans to introduce a resolution for the state Department of Agriculture and the University of Hawai`i to study the idea of the "a pig forest, where pigs would be wild and eating among trees like macadamia, guava and avocado, but separated out from the native forest and from wild pigs with disease. They would be harvested or hunted as needed." He said there is a good example of growing pigs among trees in Spain.
        Raina Whiting, one of the organizers of the Ka`u Farm School, said classes are open to friends, supporters and those interested in learning more about farming, agriculture and growing food in Ka'u. They are sponsored by Hawai`i Farmers Union United and the Kohala Canter, as well as Earth Matters Farm. Make contact through  kaufarmschool@gmail.com or 808-721-6977. For future class topics, see 

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HOVE Road Maintenance board of directors meeting, Tue, Feb 28, 10 a.m. 929-9910

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue, Feb 28, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Line Dancing, Tue, Feb 28, 2 – 3 p.m., Kahuku Park. Ages 6 – 12 register Feb 22 – 27. 929-9113


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017

Calm waters, no wind and an overcast sky made for perfect whale counting at Ka Lae on Saturday where 23 breaches were seen
 in 15 minutes during the second of this season's Ocean Counts for humpback whales. See story below.
File Photo from NOAA
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION was the opening topic of the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, attended by Hawai`i's Gov. David Ige. The governor told The Ka`u Calendar that "Early childhood education is important." Investment in early childhood education "pays huge dividends in the long term."
"#We the States" is the slogan for the National Governors Association meeting in
Washington, D.C where Gov. David Ige is supporting early childhood education.
Photo by M. Martin Neal
     He referred to his budget before the 2017 Hawai`i Legislature, which proposes the most money allocated in history to pay for teaching in Hawai`i's public schools. It includes preschool and other early childhood education funding. In addition, the governor is involved with the Executive Office on Early Learning, which coordinates programs and funding with his administration and the Hawai`i Legislature.
     Ige also told The Ka`u Calendar that Hawai`i has benefited from federal early childhood education grants supported by the bipartisan National Governors Association and that the organization has been helpful in gathering, developing and sharing "best practices." The Governors Association members, both Republicans and Democrats, lobby Congress for early childhood education funding, particularly Preschool Development Grants.
Gov. David Ige at the opening of the National Governors Association
meeting in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. Photo from Gov. Ige staff
    Said one NGA letter to Congress, "Governors understand that early childhood education is a key component of building a literate, knowledgeable and skilled 21st century workforce. Preschool Development Grants, including expansion grants, enable governors to build on their efforts to promote school readiness by accelerating state-focused innovation to improve access and quality in early childhood education. States use the program to better serve our youngest students, including English language learners and early learners with disabilities; improve the professional development of preschool teachers and administrators; and expand access to early education programs to thousands of students."
     During the meeting on early childhood education, Ige and governors of all political persuasions threw in their backing. The chair for the session, Gov. Robert Bentley, of Alabama, said, "The most important education is childhood education" and declared that he wants to make "early childhood education a priority across the nation."
     Mike Peters, President and CEO of one of the largest employers in some states, Huntington Ingalls, which builds aircraft carriers and other vessels, told the governors that early childhood education creates a stronger workforce. 
     Actress Jennifer Garner and Mike Shriver represented the non-profit organization Save the Children, which is dedicated to young people in need. They talked about the "house-visit model" that helps make mothers into educators. Garner focused on education from birth to third grade, the kind of program that is popular in Ka`u, called Tutu & Me.
     Many letters of support for early childhood education have been sent from Ka`u to the governor and Hawai`i Legislature to support funding of Tutu & Me. The traveling preschool moves around Ka`u and welcomes grandparents, aunties, uncles and parents to bring the keiki to start learning from birth until they attend public school. Tutu & Me also makes house calls.  
     Bills in motion at the Hawai`i Legislature include SB1152 and HB500, which would appropriate money to continue funding public prekindergarten classrooms and set up administration of charter school prekindergarten classrooms. HB498 and SB687 would enable the Early Learning Board to appoint the director of the  Executive Office on Early Learning. 
     To read and send in testimony on these early childhood education bills, which are coming before state Senate and House committees next week, click on the bill numbers above. To find related bills, go to the Hawai`i State Legislature at www.capitol.hawaii.gov and type in key words.

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WHALE COUNTING DREW MORE THAN 590 VOLUNTEERS on Hawai`i, O`ahu and Kaua`i Islands on Saturday during the second session of data gathering for the 2017 Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.
The second SanctuaryOcean Count of humpback whales this season
took place Saturday, sponsored by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback
Whale National Marine Sancturary. Photo from NOAA
    There were more whale sightings on Hawai`i Island this Ocean Count compared to last month's. Conditions were generally overcast across the sites with flat, calm waters and little to no wind, which allowed for great whale viewing conditions. Volunteers at South Point, at the Ka Lae Ocean Count site, had quite a show. In 15 minutes, they saw 23 breaches - the acrobatic display where the humpback uses its tail to launch itself out of the water then lands back on the surface with a splash.
     Ocean Count serves to promote public awareness about humpback whales, the sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. The count is conducted three times per year during the peak whale season and provides a snapshot of humpback whales sightings from the shoreline. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals' surface behaviors during the survey.
     Volunteers collected data from 50 sites statewide on Feb. 25. A total of 174 whale sightings were recorded during the 11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. time period, the most of any time period during the day's count.
    Preliminary data detailing whale sightings by site location are available at: http://www.sanctuaryoceancount.org/resources/. Additional information is available on the sanctuary's website at http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov.

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OCEAN VIEW SATURDAY MARKET was shut down by police about half way through the morning and didn't reopen, according to Mike Alexander, of Ocean View. He said the scare surrounded reports of live ammunition, reportedly being sold at the outdoor venue, which operates like a swap meet, with animals, food, plants, clothing, used furniture and other household goods, and a chiropractor who gives Saturday market adjustments. The ammunition turned out to be cannonballs someone was selling, said Alexander.

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Palm Trail Hike, Sun, Feb 26, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit. This free, moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop trail provides one of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer.



Friday, February 24, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017

Pacific Biodiesel's plant in Kea`au. The company has been planting test plots on the Big Island and looking for land to
grow sunflower and safflower for food and utility oils. It blessed a sunflower farm on Maui today and Ka`u's Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard and Ka`u's Senator Mazie Hirono attended. Photo from Pacific Biodiesel & Think Tech Hawai`i
PACIFIC BIODIESEL, which operates a biofuel manufacturing plant at Shipman Industrial Park in Kea`au, is getting into the sunflower growing business to make more biofuel and food products. Sunflower and safflower test plots have been grown on the Big Island and a new effort to plant sunflower on 115 acres of former sugar land in central Maui was blessed on Friday. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono both attended and gave remarks on the importance of developing more sustainable energy sources throughout Hawai`i.
Pacific Biodiesel founder Bob King with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the blessing of a
new sunflower farm to grow oils for food and fuel on Friday.
Photo from Tulsi Gabbard
     In 2015 Kelly King, vice president of Pacific Biodiesel, told Pacific Business News that the company wants to grow sunflower crops on tens of thousands of acres as feedstock to make biofuel. Under consideration have been lands owned by Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and private properties on the Big Island.
    Funding and research for the expansion into sunflower and possible safflower oils have come with help from University of Hawai`i and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Hawai`i Military Biofuels Crop Program and the Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute.
     Pacific Biodiesel has a manufacturing location in Shipman Industrial Park in Kea`au where used cooking oil and grease trap waste are the current feedstock for making transportation and utility fuel.
    The company has assisted with Hawai`i and other counties adopting biofuel to run their vehicles.
     King said the Kea`au plant is like a distillery and "exceeds all technology." She said it manufactures what is probably the highest quality biodiesel in the world. She said the number of employees totals at about 35 at Shipman and nearly 80 statewide. She said Pacific Biodiesel is proud to provide a variety of jobs and has hired students from Hawai`i Community College, which is teaching technology processing.
     Pacific Biodiesel sells its fuel for electric companies, the trucking industry, boating, back up generation, farming equipment and passenger cars. Kelly said that it is important to realize that electric cars often indirectly rely on imported oil, when it is burned to make the electricity for the power company that provides the electricity used when the electric car is plugged in. The electric car is clean when the electricity that it uses comes from solar or other alternative energies like biodiesel, she explained. 
     Kelly said that she looks forward to not only the biofuel value of sunflower and safflower but also their edible value and the opportunity for the oils to first be used for food, and secondarily to be upcycled into fuel for transportation and for the electric companies. At the Maui farm, she said, she expects to produce about 100 gallons of fuel per acre per harvest, with three harvests a year.
     See more at www.biodiesel.com

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THE U.S. CORAL REEF TASK FORCE met in Washington D.C. this week and Hawai`i Gov. David Ige attended on his way to the National Governors Association Winter Meeting this weekend. The United States Coral Reef Task Force was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, seven U.S. States including Hawai`i, Territories, Commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States.
Gov. David Ige attending the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in
Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Photo from the Governor
     The USCRTF helps build partnerships, strategies, and support for on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs. During the meeting, Dr. Luis Solorzano, of The Nature Conservancy, made a presentation on Coral Restoration - why we should be hopeful? The organization also released its new Handbook on Coral Reef Impacts: Avoidance, Minimization, Compensatory Mitigation and Restoration. 
   Within the Hawai`i state government, the Department of Land & Natural Resources works closely with the Coral Reef Task Force, with Robert Nishimoto taking the lead. See more, including Hawai`i's Local Action Strategies for preserving coral reefs at www.coralreef.gov.

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THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE IN KA`U is a big part of the discussion between community members, policy makers and staff at Ka`u Hospital tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend and give input to the East Hawai`i Regional Board of the Hawai`i Hospital System Corp., which manages Ka`u Hospital and its clinic, as well as the Hilo and Kona Hospitals. 

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Na`alehu School children went out for track and competed and
won at Konawa`ena this month. Photo by Bob Martin
NA`ALHEU STUDENTS competed well at an island wide Track and Field event this month at Konawaena High School. Head Coach Linda Le and assistant coach Bob Martin report that Neiwad Boaz took 2nd place in the girls 11-12 shot put. Anthony Clark won 3rd Place in the boys 11-12 1200m. Layton Ka-ne-Kala took 1st Place in boys 6-8 Standing Long Jump and Ariel Cohen won 1st Place in girls 11-12 1200m.

COUNT THE HUMPBACK WHALES ON SATURDAY along the Ka`u Coast. Register at  hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov or 725-5923.

Love the Arts: Singin’ in the Rainforest, Sat, Feb 25, 5 – 9 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. The annual fundraiser features one-of-a-kind umbrellas painted by Hawai‘i Island artists. Fine wine, a luxurious gourmet buffet, spirited Hawaiian music and live and silent auctions. 967-8222

Soil and Composting class at Ka`u Farm School on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Earth Matters Farm on the corner of South Point Road and Kama`oa Roa`oa Road, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Special guests include Rep. Richard Creagan, Chair of the Agriculture Committee of the state House of Representatives and Melanie Willich, Director of the Young Farmers Program at Kohala Center. Free, sponsored by Kohala Center and Hawai`i Farmers Union United. Donations accepted. RSVP to kaufarmschool@gmail.com or call 808-721-6977.

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