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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Tuesday, May 31, 2022

First place in the county Department of Water Supply Keiki Poster Contest for the artists in fifth
grade is Kira Agular. See more below.

OWNERS OF THEIR OWN FARMS is the future faced by the majority of Kaʻū Coffee growers at Cloud Rest and Pear Tree above Pāhala. They are are becoming owners of their farms, after years of worry that their famous orchards would be sold out from under them on the open market for prices beyond their reach. Buying the farms comes after decades of work, following the closure of the Kaʻū Sugar plantation in 1996. The farmers worked the former sugar land under rental agreements, with numerous restrictions on what they could farm and an uncertain future in their land tenure.
   After negotiations with Resource Land Holdings, which bought and subdivided the property under the name Kaʻū Mahi, the farmers were able to buy lots that largely conform to their farms. The farmers

Cory and Connie Koi, one of the first to become owners of
 their Ka'u Coffee farm, after years of renting the land.
Photo from Ka'u Coffee Festival

received first option at prices below land prices that recently surged in rural Hawai‘i. Most farmers were able to qualify for very low interest USDA and other government and private loans, with encouragement and assistance from county, state and federal agencies as well as non-profit organizations, lending institutions and real estate agents. A majority of these Kaʻū Coffee farmers recently received deeds to their property.           Among the Kaʻū Coffee growers who now own their farms are: Kaʻū Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba and Rogelio Aquino. They bought their own farm and Camba worked with other farmers to encourage them to apply for the land loans, a process unfamiliar to many of them. She said the purchase cost per acre was about $10,000 to $21,000, with most around $15,000 per acre. John and daughter Lori Ah San also worked on negotiations with the owners. The Ah San’s were able to purchase the largest amount of land among the existing farmers, about 60 acres, with a USDA low interest loan.
    John Ah San and Gloria Camba credited Punalu‘u resident Julie Enriques for representing the majority of the farmers as the buyers’ Realtor. Ah San said, “She really went to bat for us, from working with farmers on qualifying for the loans to working out details on easements tied the properties and looking over the accuracy of 
Ka'u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba with husband and
 partner in coffee, Rogelio Aquino. Photo from Ka'u Coffee Festival

    Among the growers who recently closed on their farm purchases are: Connie and Cory Koi, Francis and Trinidad Marques, Leo and Herme Norberte, Lazaro Hernandez, Melchor Fernandez, Milton and Verna Dacalio, Don Dacalio, Godofredo and Ana Miranda, Ferdinand and Geraldine Ramos, Val and Renilda Ramos, Delvin and Shauwnette Navarro, Pablo Mauricio, Frank and Avalina Ancheta and Hong Vong. Other farmers are waiting finalization of loans. A few declined to purchase and are riding out rental agreements that go into the future.
    Enriques said that many of the farmers were born and raised here and that working with them has been one of her most rewarding projects, particularly since the locals buying the farms means “roots in the ground for generations to come.”
    Camba also recognized USDA Farm Service Agency’s Jennifer Balderas, Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Co-op member Miles Mayne, The Kohala Center, the state Department of Agriculture, Congressman Kai Kahele, County of Hawai‘i and County Council Chair Maile David for their assistance, as well as Ka‘ū Coffee Mill and Pāhala Plantation Manager’s House for meeting venues. She said she expects more than 40 farms to be owned by coffee growers.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htmltml

Olamau Miyashiro took first among second graders in the Keiki Water Poster Contest, sponsored by the County.

WASTE ZERO WATER IS THE THEME THAT DREW SOME 400 KEIKI TO THE 2022 COUNTY WATER CONSERVATION POSTER CONTEST. From kindergarten through fifth grade they sent in their art illustrating the 2022 effort to spread the slogan, Be a Superhero - Waste Zero. The students came from public, private and public charter schools, as well as home-schooling.
     Department of Water Supply for  County of Hawai‘i issued a statement to congratulate all Big Island schoolchildren who entered, saying they "demonstrated their knowledge of water conservation and artistic skills through their poster entries. Mahalo to the students’ teachers and parents for promoting water conservation. Remember to do your part to protect and preserve our most precious resource – safe drinking water!"
    Check out all the winners and see all the entries at https://www.hawaiidws.org/dws-water-conservation-poster-contest-2022/

Aviva Rose Ruderman took second in the kindergarten division of the county's keiki water conservation poster contest.

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, May 30, 2022

Congressman and Air National Guardsman Kai Kahele visited a Veterans Cemetery in Hawai'i
on Monday morning and said he is drawn to hallowed grounds. Photo from Kai Kahele

VISITING MEMORIALS TO THOSE WHO HAVE "SACRIFICED THEIR LIVES, while serving a grateful nation," is a passion of Congressman Kai Kahele. During a Memorial Day Veterans Cemetery speech on Monday morning, he said that he's made it a point "to visit these hallowed grounds so I can see and feel for myself what those brave men and women must have felt or saw themselves." Kahele said he's been to the Ardennes Forest of Germany, walked the Band of Brothers streets of Bastogne and Luxembourg, and stood at the site of the Malmedy Massacre in Belgium. "I have traveled to the Great Pacific Battle Ground of Wake Island, Guam, Kwajalein and Okinawa and like many of you I have been to the hallowed tomb of the USS Arizona where 1,177 sailors lost their lives on that day of infamy, Dec. 7, 1941."
    The Congressman and Air National Guardsman asked, "Why would anyone go out of their way to visit museums, battlefields, and cemeteries of wars from years gone past? Why are they drawn to the National Mall in Washington, where the names of 58,000 Americans are etched into black granite at the Viet Nam
Hawaiian and U.S. flags fly half staff on Memorial Day. Photo from Kai Kahele
Veterans Memorial? For many, they come to mourn the loss of a family member, a friend, a fellow soldier, airman, sailor, Marine, Coast Guardsman or Merchant Marine. For others like myself, they visit these historic sites so as to gain a deeper connection to historical events that move a nation and help shape our world. ...when they visit these great memorials they are often humbled by the presence of those who are forever represented here.
    "For those that have walked somber grounds of Arlington or Punchbowl, you will quickly gain a sense of the magnitude of our nation's loss while realizing the true commitment on the part of those who have served and died in our nation's conflicts. Throughout the course of our nation's history our sons and daughters have donned the uniform. They have taken up arms and fought and died to preserve our rights and our freedoms... We can not help but mourn their passing as we celebrate their victories."
    Kahele noted that he is in his 22nd year as commissioned officer in U.S. Air Force Hawai'i Air National Guard. During his Air Force pilot training in Mississippi, the tragedy of 9/11 occurred and Kahele was assigned to fly combat missions in the mountains of Afghanistan, to transport patients from the Middle East to Germany and to bring home those who died to Dover Air Force Base in the U.S.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htmltml

THE NEW ORGANIZATION MALAMA PONO PUNALU'U released a statement on Sunday, inviting volunteers to join in. The paper describes The Situation: "Tourist numbers at Punalu'u Black Sand Beach have risen dramatically over the last year, especially during the later hours of the day when tourists are
either retuning to Kona after a day at Volcano National Park or waiting for dark to see the lava at night."
     It describes The Problem: "When lifeguards go off-duty at 4:30 p.m., there is no protection from visitors encroaching upon basking Sea Turtles (Honu). Especially the time before dark, you will often have visitors using cell phone flashlights to take pictures at arms length distance."
     The statement expresses The Need: "Reaching out for volunteers to take one shift a month to monitor basking turtles between the hours of 4:30 p.m. and dark. Depending on the time of the year, a shift can last between an hour and 30 minutes to two and a half hours. The more volunteers the more we can accomplish with less effort."
     Under the headline Basking Honu Need You, the statement says that "Punalu'u is one of the most accessible, untouched and naturally beautiful beaches remaining on the Big Island. Though it is our home many of us haven't spent the time sitting on the beach, experiencing the essence of Punalu'u and our honu. Volunteer to be a part of Malama Pono Punalu'u, reconnect with Punalu'u and be a small part of keeping our hons habitat safe and our beautiful beach as natural as can be."
    Guy Enriques, organizer of Malama Pono Punalu'u, said he is looking for volunteers to sign up by June 18 and plans to conduct an orientation before volunteers begin their shifts. Eail enriques@haawaii.rr.com
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htmltml