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Friday, March 17, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Friday, March 17, 2023

MacFarms could be sold to Hawaiian Host Group, which also owns Mauna Loa macadamia. Kaʻū growers
say they are worried that Mauna Loa could cut the work force at MacFarms and use fewer nuts grown here if they
acquire the MacFarms brand and continue to import nuts from other countries to sell under their Hawaiian label. 
Photo from MacFarms

HAWAIIAN HOST GROUP, WHICH OWNS MAUNA LOA BRAND of macadamias, is set to purchase MacFarms and its 50,000 trees at Kapua Orchard on the border of Kaʻū and South Kona. The sale would make Mauna Loa the most dominant seller of Hawai'i branded mac nuts in the world. According to listcorp.com, the Australian company Health Plant Protein, formerly known as Buderim Group, recently entered into a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement with Hawaiian Host Group to sell its MacFarm
macadamia nut business and land for an enterprise value of U.S. $26 million. The estimated completion date of the sale would be this April. MacFarms employs many Kaʻū workers.
    The recent announcement replaced the January announcement that HPP would sell MacFarms for $22 million to MNP Holdings, LLC.
     Other macadamia nut companies, which boast sales of macadamia that are 100 percent grown on Hawai'i Island,  have sounded an alarm about the MacFarms purchase, their representatives saying that Hawaiian Host's Mauna Loa is already buying foreign nuts from places like Kenya and putting them in packages that imply they are grown in Hawai'i. In addition, Mauna Loa has been shutting down facilities and laying off workers in Kea'au. Should Hawaiian Host become owner of MacFarms, more layoffs could occur and affect employment for Kaʻū workers. From another view, it would give Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa another processing plant that is operational and ready to process local nuts from their own farms and from independent macadamia growers. 
     In addition to MacFarms, Hamakua Macadamia and Hawaiian Macadamia Co., along with small independent growers in Kaʻū, sell 100 percent Hawaiian grown macadmia. Combined, they are the largest non-government employer in Kaʻū.
     In response to the increase in macadamia nuts from China to Africa being mixed with Hawaiian grown macadamia, legislation was making its way through the 2023 Hawai'i Legislature. However, a hearing was cancelled in the state. Senate on Friday and the issue may be dead this session. The bill aims to strengthen labeling requirements to protect the Hawaiian macadamia nut growers from loss of market due to the sale of cheap foreign macadamia nuts in Hawaiian packaging.

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A GRAND JURY INDICTED OCEAN VIEW RESIDENT RONALD P.K. KAHIKIKOLO on Wednesday for attempted murder for allegedly shooting a woman in the head with a shotgun. Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced Friday that Kahihikolo was charged in relation to a March 7, 2023 incident at a residence on Outrigger Drive in Ocean View. Kahihikolo was also charged in relation to a March 10, 2023 incident, where Kahihikolo is alleged to have disregarded police attempts to arrest him for outstanding warrants while operating a stolen Dodge Charger.
    Kahihikolo is scheduled to make his initial appearance in Kona Circuit Court on Monday. Prosecutors have filed a motion requesting to detain Kahihikolo without bail pending his trial. He remains in custody in lieu of $196,000.00 bail.
Ronald P.K. Kahikikolo
    As the Indictment alleges, Kahihikolo was charged with eight offenses including, Attempted Murder in the Second Degree (intentionally discharged a firearm in the direction of another person), Abuse of Family or Household Member, Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree, Resisting Order to Stop in the First Degree, Theft in the First Degree (theft of a motor vehicle, a Dodge Charger), Ownership or Possession of Firearm Prohibited, Ownership of Possession of Ammunition Prohibited, Carrying or Use of Firearm in the Commission of a Separate Felony. Attempted Murder in the Second Degree carries a sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.
    The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. The case was initiated by Officers Melissa D’Angelo, Isaac Michaels, and Xylon Takata, Ka‘u Patrol, and the felony investigation was led by Detective Blayne Matsui and assisted by Detectives Len Hamakado, Jason Foxworthy, and Donovan Kohara, Area II Criminal Investigations Division, Hawai‘i Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chase Murray. The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment.
    Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. #hawaiiprosecutors #hawaiipolicedepart

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FIVE NOMINEES FOR AN INTERMEDIATE COURT OF APPEALS JUDGE have gone to Gov. Josh Green for consideration. The State Judicial Selection Commission transmitted the list of nominees to Green on Friday following review of qualifications and backgrounds of all applicants.
   The nominees are:
    Lance D. Collins, a per diem judge for District and Family Court (Second Circuit) and a graduate of  University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
  Rebecca A. Copeland, a District Family Court Judge (First Circuit) and lead judge in the Special Division and Presiding Judge in Truancy Court. She is a graduate of St. Mary's University School of Law.
    Kimberly Tsumoto Guidry, an attorney for State of Hawaiʻi employed by the Department of the Attorney General as the Solicitor General and Supervising Deputy Attorney General. She received her law degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
    Deirdre Marie-Iha, an attorney and partner at Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel. She graduated from the University of Colorado School of Law.
    Taryn R. Tomasa Gifford, an attorney who works as a Deputy Public Defender III. She is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
    Green must make his appointment by Sunday, April 16, 2023. The public is invited to provide comments on the nominees via the Governor's website https://governor.hawaii.gov/contact-us/contact-the-governor/. Once selected, the nominee will be subject to confirmation by the State Senate.

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GEOSCIENTISTS PROMOTING ACCESSIBLE COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCES is the topic of this week's Volcano Watch by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists and affiliates. This column is written by National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow Lis Gallant:
    Visiting rocks in their natural habitat, or “going into the field,” is an important part of geology training because it provides real context for what students learn in the laboratory and classroom. Field courses can be up to 6 weeks long, are located in remote areas, and are often required to complete an undergraduate geology degree program. As traditionally designed, the courses are not accessible to everyone.
Color photograph of student group
 GeoScientists Promoting Accessible Collaborative Experiences (GeoSPACE) group at the Grand Canyon in Arizona. USGS Photo

A GeoScientists Promoting Accessible Collaborative Experiences (GeoSPACE) student capturing ground control point coordinates with a GPS. USGS Photo

    A mission debrief is conducted at the end of each day, where the Ground Team reports to Mission Control on their findings. The collaborative nature to this approach between those online and those on the ground reflects modern geoscience working environments, such as those used at HVO during eruption responses.
    Volcanic fields, areas where many small volcanoes are clustered, provide an excellent natural classroom for accessible fieldwork because they offer great variety over short distances. Volcanic fields are also excellent analogs for eruptive styles on different planets. Students preparing for careers in space science can gain experience with the types of environments they’re likely to encounter conducting planetary research.
    The opportunity to learn and thrive in a supportive environment allows students to develop confidence in their ability to succeed in the geosciences. Student feedback indicated that it was empowering to have HVO scientists as part of the faculty team. Being treated as an equal by accomplished scientists gave them confidence in their abilities and made it easier to believe in their own abilities. Students could see themselves as belonging in the geosciences.
    Frankie Butler, a student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, stated that "...the GeoSPACE field trip was a truly transformative experience. I thought my lifelong dream of being a volcanologist was over after my devastating injury. I missed out on 4 years of field work and had no access to that unique learning environment. I was treated as a scientist; I was part of the discussion and I got to see a real HVO volcanologist in the field! As an undergraduate you don't get the opportunity to see working scientists in the field, seeing their systematic approach to an outcrop and the techniques utilized have helped me become the field geologist I am today."
     Faculty members and students have presented about the GeoSPACE program at professional geoscience conferences all over the globe. These presentations have covered topics from the design of the course, findings from the mystery site, mentoring, and student perception of accommodations. Find presentations and learn more about GeoSPACE by visiting https://sites.google.com/ufl.edu/geospace-field-program.

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.

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.


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.

O 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 Kona Dr. Drive and Hwy 11, near Thai Grindz. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no rez needed. Parking in the upper lot. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.