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, April 01, 2019

Kaʻū News Briefs, Monday, April 1, 2019

Cattle pasture in Kaʻū, where ranchers and farmers are concerned over water use permits. 
Photo by Julia Neal
THE USE OF WATER FROM OLD PLANTATION TUNNELS is wrapped up in an issue going to a public hearing at the Hawaiʻi Legislature tomorrow. House Bill 1326 would extend state water use permits to farmers and ranchers in one-year segments for seven more years. The bill would supersede a deadline at the end of this year to convert state water permits into long-term leases or risk losing access to water. The conversion could require environmental assessments and possibly putting the water permits out to the general public to bid on them.
An old Kaʻū sugar plantation waterway.
Photo by Lee Neal
     The Sierra Club and Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United and several other groups oppose the extension of permits for existing water users, focusing on large tracts of former sugar land on Maui, where courts ordered the return of water to their natural flows, away from the old plantation irrigation systems. The water would go back to the streams where it nourished wildlife and plantings along the natural waterways, including taro and other food crops centuries ago.
     Swept up in the issue are the small ranchers and farmers in Kaʻū who say they fear they will lose access to water for livestock, orchards and food crops. Most of their water comes from manmade horizontal wells, dug into the side of Mauna Loa more than a century ago by the sugar companies. The development of agricultural water in Kaʻū was far different from the diversion of streams on Maui.
     However, afraid of losing ag water, supporters of the extension of existing water permits include John Cross of Kaʻū Soil & Water Conservation District, who submitted testimony saying that revocable permit holders in the Kaʻū Agricultural Water Cooperative District have worked toward long term water leases since 2007. They have "invested vast amounts of money to improve the systems and tunnels" built by the old sugar companies. "The water from these sources support macadamia nut orchards, cattle ranching, coffee cultivation, and a growing expansion of vegetables and produce… food for the community and state of Hawaiʻi. The lands of the Kaʻū District are bountiful, but only so with water." He asked for more time to work out the long term leases.
Macadamia nut orchards rely on irrigation.
Photo from Hawaiʻi Islands Land Trust
     Michelle Galimba, member of the state Board of Agriculture and Mountain House Agricultural Water Cooperative, supports the bill to extend the permits. She noted that Mountain House Agricultural Water Co-op is comprised of water users of the Mountain House overflow system in Kaʻū. They include Kuahiwi Ranch, MJ/Andrade Ranch, Nāʻālehu Ranch, Aikane Coffee Plantation, the Hanoa ranch, and the Johannsen ranch. "These ranchers and farmers depend on the Mountain House Overflow agricultural water systems for their livelihoods, to support their families, to provide food for local markets and to continue to create employment in our rural community," wrote Galimba.
     "This is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences, not just for water permits but for Department of Land & Natural Resources permits as well. Coming up with a good solution may well take time… I would ask that each of the stakeholders in this discussion take the time to understand the other stakeholders in depth, rather than to harden into factions and sides. This will be good practice for a future in which water becomes an increasingly limited resource. I sincerely hope that we can all work together to develop an appropriate policies as quickly as possible."
Water from old sugar plantation sources has served Kaʻū
for many generations. Photo from state Dept. of Ag
     The Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi, and several groups and individuals testified that large water user Alexander & Baldwin and subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Company are unfairly benefiting from a public resource. They contended that smaller water users will not be negatively impacted.
     Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi testified that ranchers of Kaʻū and other small farmers with revocable permits "should return to the permitting process they followed in 2015." They would apply every year for month-to-month permits, "receiving a categorical exemption from state environmental reviews, and paying a small fee. Because these water users have not been sued for abusing water permits like A&B was, they have no court-imposed prohibition on their water use." Sierra Club also contended that the extension "does not protect public trust resources from exploitation."
     OHA testified that the smaller ranchers and farmers' concerns "are based on a purely speculative extension of a circuit court order specific only to A&B, and there is no clear legal barrier to preventing the issuance of annual revocable permits to any other entity." OHA stated that the extension would reward A&B and the Board of Land & Natural Resources "for their failure to conduct an environmental review of A&B's continuous and ongoing diversion of over 100 streams and tributaries on 17,000 acres of public watershed lands in East Maui, 12 years after one had been first ordered by the Circuit Court."
Tunnels to move water are maintained by
Kaʻū farmers and ranchers.
Photo from state Dept. of Ag
     Department of Hawaiian Home Lands testified with "serious concerns" over the extension, stating that the agency should receive 30 percent of revenue generated by long-term water leases. 
     Susan Campbell of Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United and Food Security Hawaiʻi testified against the bill: "If water rights are not held up for the public domain, then our Senators are corrupt. This is actually outrageous."
     HB 1326 HD2 goes before the Senate Committees on Water & Land and Ways & Means at 10:35 a.m. tomorrow morning. Read the bill and testimony, and submit testimony. Testimony submitted less than 24 hours before the hearing will be marked late but may be considered by committee members.

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SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ WILL CHAIR DEMOCRATIC SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON CLIMATE CHANGE. He calls climate change the "crisis of our generation." He said the purpose of the committee is to have in place "a predicate for action if and when" Democrats regain control of the Senate. Its formation comes a week after Republican Sen. Mike Lee took the Senate floor and used placards to promote his claim that the Green New Deal would end air travel. He showed a cartoon seahorse, Ronald Reagan using a machine gun to take on a velociraptor, and Luke Skywalker riding a tauntaun. He proclaimed the way to solve climate change was to let the next generation solve it.
Sen. Brian Schatz.
Photo from Schatz's Facebook
     Schatz took to the Senate floor in response: "I get that we want to make jokes and we want to be clever and we want to get clips to put on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, but that was appalling. This is the crisis of our generation and it is not a joke."
     The Green New Deal – which makes no mention of air travel – was voted down in the Senate last week. During an interview with MSNBC, Schatz said Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans "are literally making fun of climate action" which is problematic in light of recent flooding in the Midwest, California wildfires increasing in severity, and increasing floods and storms in costal regions. "This is serious business," and only one party is taking it seriously, he said. "They are sort of outsmarting themselves. They are very impressed with their own cleverness… But the truth is, we are right on climate change."
     Schatz said people from all political backgrounds "want climate action," and that "young people are decisively in favor of doing something about this planetary crisis." He referred to "tens of thousands" of "young people" who marched about climate change in the Capitol a few weeks ago. "We in the Congress have to follow their lead, and take care of the future."
Paʻaʻau Gulch during a 2018 storm.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Schatz also sent a message to his supporters: "For the past two years, Mitch McConnell and Congressional Republicans have dragged our country from crisis to crisis. They have championed the priorities of the richest people in this country and stood in the way of policies that would help all of us.
     "The only way to change this is to win the Senate. That means we have to be ready to mobilize across the country to make sure great Democrats win. We have to spread our message of progress, and fight for the things that matter to us like affordable health care, climate change, and education."
     Schatz specified in a Tweet: "Doing nothing about climate change is expensive and dangerous."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

HAWAIʻI RANKS NINTH FOR RETURN OF TAX INVESTMENT in Health, a recent WalletHub report states. Overall, return on tax investment in Hawaiʻi ranked as the worst of all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Analysis of the quality and efficiency of state and federal government services in Hawaiʻi takes into account the very different rates at which citizens are taxed in each state and D.C. The study also noted that, unlike state taxes, federal income-tax rates are uniform across the nation. However, some states receive more federal funding than others.
     WalletHub's Taxpayer Survey reports 55 percent of U.S. adults feel they pay too much in taxes and 90 percent don't think that the government uses tax revenue wisely. Different states have dramatically different tax burdens. This report seeks to find out if people in high-tax states receive superior government services, and if low-tax states are more efficient or do they receive low-quality services?
     Percentage of Residents in Poverty was where Hawaiʻi ranked the best, at 5th. The Aloha State ranked 14th in Economy, 20th in Safety, 22nd in Overall Government Services. Hawaiʻi ranked 37th in both Education and Infrastructure & Pollution.
     Hawaiʻi ranked last in both Total Taxes per Capita for those 18 and older, and Overall Return on Investment.
     For the full report, visit wallethub.com/edu/state-taxpayer-roi-report/3283/.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
Kaʻū Trojans Spring Sports Schedule
Tue., April 2, 3 p.m., @HPA
Thu., April 4, 3 p.m., @Waiakea
Sat., April 6, 11 a.m., @Kealakehe
Sat., April 13, 3 p.m., @Kamehameha
Fri., April 19, BIIF Semi-Finals
Sat., April 20, BIIF Semi-Finals
Wed., April 3, host Waiakea
Fri., April 5, 3 p.m., @Kealakehe
Fri., April 12, BIIF Semi-Finals
Sat., April 13, BIIF Semi-Finals
Fri., April 19, BIIF Finals
Sat., April 20, BIIF Finals
Boys Volleyball:
Wed., April 3, 6 p.m., host Ehunui
Fri., April 5, 6 p.m., @Christian Liberty, Varsity
Tue., April 9, 6 p.m., host Waiakea
Fri., April 12, 6 p.m., @Keaʻau
Wed., April 17, 6 p.m., Kamehameha
Fri., April 19, 6 p.m., host Honokaʻa
Mon. April 22, BIIF First Round
Wed., April 24, BIIF Semi-Finals
Thu., April 25, BIIF Finals
Sat., April 6, 9 a.m., @Waiakea
Sat., April 13, 9 a.m., @HPA
Sat., April 20, 9 a.m., @Kamehameha

GAME OF EXTREMES workshop happens Wednesday, April 3, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Hilo Municipal Golf Course Multipurpose Room, 340 Haihai Street. The workshop is "a fun way to learn about climate change, its impacts, and how we can adapt. Faced with climate impacts on a fictional community, participants will decide how to make community assets most resilient."
     Free. Seating is limited. Register online at gameofextremes.eventbrite.com. Kristin Baja, the Climate Resilience Officer for the Urban Sustainability Director's Network, facilitates the workshop.  Baja helps local governments identify strategic ways to advance climate resilience planning and implementation.
     For questions or more information, contact Michelle Agbigay at 961-8375 or Michelle.Agbigay@hawaiicounty.gov.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Vacation Rental Regulation Hearing, Tuesday, April 2, 6 p.m., Hilo County Council Chambers. Testimony accepted.

AdvoCATS, Tuesday, April 2, 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

Finger Puppetry, Tuesday, April 2, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m., multi-purpose room, Ka‘ū District Gym. Open to keiki grades K-6. Free. Register through April 1. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Mtg., Tuesday, April 2, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Pāhala Community Center.

Arts and Crafts Activity: Plastic Spoon Flowers, Wednesday, April 3, 3:30-5p.m., multi-purpose room, Ka‘ū District Gym. Register keiki grades K-6 March 25-April 2. Free. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Hula Voices with Kumu Kini Ka‘awa, Wednesday, April 3, 1st Wednesday monthly, 5:30 p.m – 7 p.m., Volcano Art Center Gallery. Desiree Moana Cruz moderates the talk story session. Free. 967-7565, volcanoartcenter.org

Open Mic Night, Wednesday, April 3, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m., Lava Lounge, Kīlauea Military Camp. Call 967-8365 after 4 p.m. to sign up and for more details. Park entrance fees may apply. Open to KMC patrons and sponsored guests, 21+. 967-8371, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

Women's Support Group, Thursday, April 4, 1st Thursday monthly, 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., PARENTS Inc., Nā‘ālehu. Women welcome to drop in. Free. Lindsey Miller, 333-3460, lindsey@hawaiiparents.org

Ocean View Neighborhood Watch Mtg., Thursday, April 4, 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Stewardship at the Summit, Friday, April 5 and 26, Saturday, April 13 and 20, 8:45 a.m. – noon, Kīlauea Visitor Center. Volunteers remove invasive plants. Gloves and tools provided. Free; park entrance fees apply. RSVP to Paul and Jane Field, field@hawaii.edu. nps.gov/havo

Skateboard Movie Night, Friday, April 5, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., Ocean View Community Center. Free; open to public. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

yART Sale, Saturday, April 6, 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Gigantic rummage sale with proceeds to benefit VAC programs and workshops. Accepting donations of garden, kitchen, art, collectables, tools, appliances, and furniture. All items clean and in working condition. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

Keiki Science Class, Saturday, April 6, 1st Saturday monthly, 11 a.m. – noon, Ace Hardware Stores islandwide; Nā‘ālehu, 929-9030 and Ocean View, 929-7315. Free. acehardware.com

Sunday Clay - High Fire! with Erik Wold, eight week workshop starts Sunday, April 7. Morning session, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; afternoon session, 2:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Handmade functional pottery art – max. eight wheel throwers and three hand-builder spots per session. All skill levels. $180/VAC member, $200/non-member, plus $15 supply fee per person. Register: volcanoartcenter.org, 967-8222

Ham Radio Potluck Picnic, Sunday, April 7, 1st Sunday monthly, noon – 2 p.m., Manukā State Park. Anyone interested in learning about ham radio is welcome to attend. View sites.google.com/site/southpointarc or sites.google.com/view/southhawaiiares/home. Rick Ward, 938-3058

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Coastal Net Patrol, Monday, April 8. Free; donations appreciated. RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com, 769-7629

Free STD Testing, Monday, April 8, 2nd Monday monthly, 9 a.m. – noon, Ocean View Community Center. Sponsored by Hawai‘i Department of Health. Call for appt. on different day or time. Teenagers 14+ do not need parent/guardian consent. Confidential. Free condoms and lube. 895-4927

Kickball, Monday, April 8 through 29, 2:30 p.m – 3:30 p.m., Kahuku Park, H.O.V.E. Register keiki ages 6-12 April 1-5. Free. 929-9113, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Pāhala Neighborhood Watch Mtg., Monday, April 8, 2nd Monday monthly, 5 p.m., activity room at Kaʻū District Gym.

Two $1,000 Scholarships are available from American Association of University Women-Kona to any female high school graduate or older women attending a two-year vocational program leading to a marketable skill at Palamanui Campus. Applications must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 10.  Application packets available at kona-hi.aauw.net. Contact sharonnind@aol.com.

Beginning Farmer Institute Cohort Applications open through Monday, April 15. Free training program which "prepares new producers of any age or operation type for a successful future in agriculture." Applications at nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.

Kaʻū Coffee Fest invites non-profits, clubs, cooperatives, and businesses to sign up for booths at the 11th annual Kaʻū Coffee Fest Hoʻolauleʻa on Saturday, May 4 at Pāhala Community Center. The all-day event comes with music, hula, coffee tasting, and meeting the famous Kaʻū Coffee farmers. See KauCoffeeFestival.com.
     Booth fees are $100 for food vendors; $60 for non-food items and crafts, including coffee and coffee samples; and $35 for pre-approved information displays. No campaign and other political displays. Fifty percent discounts for non-profit organizations and cooperatives selling food, crafts, and coffee. Vendors must also obtain county vendor permits costing $30 each and a Department of Health permit, if serving food. Call Gail Nagata 933-0918. Apply by Friday, April 26. Application at KauCoffeeFestival.com. Email to biokepamoses@gmail.com; mail to Brenda Iokepa-Moses, P.O. Box 208PāhalaHI 96777; or call 808-731-5409.

Exhibit: On Sacred Ground by Dino Morrow is open daily through Sunday, May 5 at Volcano Art Center Gallery. The public is invited to see documentary and portrait photography of Hula Arts at the Kīlauea Program. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.