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Sunday, February 12, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023

Wiliwili trees, with their flowers and these seeds used in Hawaiian lei making, have been decimated in Kaʻū and across the state by a moth. State agencies and UH plan to introduce another to kill off the offending moth. Photo from Center for Plant Conservation

TO SAVE WILIWILI TREES, state Department of Agriculture and Hawai'i Department of Land & Natural Resources, along University of Hawaiʻi, plan to release Aprostocetus nitens, a wasp. It feeds on the erythrina gall wasp, Quadrastichus erythrinae, which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of wiliwilli trees. Wiliwili,  Erytrina sandwicensis, are native to Hawaiian dryland forest trees found throughout the state. 
    Another parasatoid wasp was introduced into Hawai'i to go after the gall wasp in 2008 and has helped with
Wiliwili image by Joan Yoshioka
some recovery. However, those working on the project are proposing release of the second parasatoid to help the wiliwili recover.
    A final Environmental Assessment for the new wasp introduction was released last week, saying, "Ongoing monitoring of wiliwili has shown that inflorescences and seed pods are still being heavily impacted by the Erythrina gall wasp. A potential second biocontrol agent, Aprostocetus nitens, has been studied as a complementary biocontrol to E. erythrinae, and it is hoped that this species will further reduce the gall wasp’s negative impacts."
    The EA says, “No negative impacts on cultural values are anticipated from the release of this parasitoid on the human environment in Hawai‘i, but instead would lead to positive impacts by reducing the damage from the Erythrina gall wasp to our culturally important native wiliwili. The proposed release of this Erythrina gall wasp biocontrol agent will not have any undesirable, negative, nontarget effects on the natural environment of the Hawaiian Islands. All comments received during the Draft Environmental Assessment period were in support of the project. Therefore, the determination from this Final Environmental Assessment is a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).”
    See the Environmental Notice at https://files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/erp/The_Environmental_Notice/2023-02-08-TEN.pdf
    See more on wiliwili in Native Plants of Kaʻū in The Kaʻū Calendar at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022_08_06_archive.html

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A Solar Frisbee Roof that provides some shade and
power for a playground. Photo from AU Optronics
panels providing shelter from the sun for students playing outdoors, according to Bill 696 before the state House of Representatives, cosponsored by Kau's House member Jeanne Kapela. Kaʻū schools would have priority in the rollout of the project, along with other sunny school campuses in Kona and Waikiki.
    The measure, supported by the state Department of Education, passed the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection last week and goes to the House floor. If it passes there it goes to the Finance Committee.
    Language supporting the bill says the Department of Education faces higher electricity costs, which, in 2022, was 12.81 cents kwh nationally and 22.15 cents kwh for Hawai'i's schools. DOE said not only could the solar installation garner savings and sell power back to Hawaiian Electric on this island, O'ahu and Maui Counties and to the community electric cooperative on Kaua'i. Extra power could also be stored in batteries and be used to charge school and public vehicles.

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Rep. Jeanne Kapela with members of Hawai'i Tax Fairness
 Coalition at the Hawai'i Capitol. Photo from Kapela

REP. JEANNE KAPELA, who represents Volcano through Kaʻū and into Kona in the state House of Reprsentatives is calling for the 2023 Hawai'i Legislature to pass wealth taxes. She joined the Hawai'i Tax Fariness Coalition at a peaceful protest at the Hawai'i Legislature in late January. 
    Kapela said, "Hawai'i deserves tax justice. We know what our working families are struggling to put food on the table, to keep a roof over their heads, while some of the wealthiest among us are not paying their fair share of taxes." Kapela said six other states are fighting for tax justice. She predicted that "the federal government is not going to put forward proposals that uplift working families, but yet saddle taxes on working families." She said, "We're going to make sure we're going in at the state level." She recommended studying the website https://www.hitaxfairness.org/

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.

St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.

Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.

Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in the upper lot only. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.