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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 30, 2024

Kawa plant and roots used to make the 'awa drink. See more below. Wendy Hollender Art from National Tropical Botanical Garden

COUNTY COUNCIL LEGISLATION ON TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS is "one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation, in process at this time," says Kaʻū's County Council member Michelle Galimba in her newsletter released on Tuesday. 
    Bill 121 "seeks to provide a consistent framework to regulate the
Kaʻū's County Councilmember
Michelle Galimba
Transient Accommodation Rental (TAR) business in Hawai‘i County. You can learn more about this bill at https://www.hawaiicountytar.com/," notes Galimba.
    "The Planning, Land Use & Economic Development Committee of the County Council recently heard Bill 121 and moved to pass it on to the Leeward and Windward Planning Commissions, as well as the Planning Director, for review and recommendation. Bill 121 will receive another hearing in Committee, as well as two hearings at the full Council, so there are numerous opportunities to provide feedback on this Bill."
    Galimba writes that to "help address the lack of housing and the affordability crisis in our County, District 2, County Councilmember Jenn Kagiwada and I are currently working on Bill 107, which will create a new Long-Term Rental tax class that will provide a preferential real property tax rate for property owners to rent their houses long-term (more than 180 days)."
   They will host a Zoom meeting this Thursday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at https://bit.ly/104Mtg "to get feedback from the community on this proposed legislation," says Galimba. 

'AWA IS RECOGNIZED AS SAFE, BUT WITH RISKS, depending on how the drink is prepared from the kawa root. That's the message from state Department of Health in collaboration with University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources. They and Gov. Josh Green issued a statement in late January saying the memorandum "was developed to recognize the substantial history of consumption of the traditional 'awa beverage by Native Hawaiians."
    The determination by DOH aimed to respond to a 2020 memorandum published by U.S. Food & Drug
Administration titled Review of the published literature pertaining to the safety of kava for use in conventional foods. The Hawai'i state memorandum says the "FDA concluded that 'awa is not safe for human consumption but did not clarify that the studies referenced describe the use of organic 'awa extraction and did not review the health effects from consumption of the traditional 'awa beverage."
    The memorandum notes that "Extraction of kavalactones, the active ingredient in 'awa, ordinarily
Kava plant stems and roots.
involves steeping the root in a liquid. Organic extraction (i.e., using acetone, ethanol, or similar solvents) results in two to 10 times the total amount of kavalactones than is extracted via aqueous extraction (i.e., using water). Per the FDA, the highly concentrated amount of kavalactones extracted via non-traditional methods may pose a significant health hazard due to liver toxicity."
    After numerous scientific journals and publications were provided to DOH by UH CTAHR, the memorandum says that DOH concluded that "use of the noble variety of 'awa root, mixed with water or coconut water to make a beverage through aqueous extraction, comports with the substance and intent of the federal Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §170.30(c)(1) GRAS exception, based on common use in food prior to January 1, 1958. Consequently, 'awa root of the noble variety as a food additive for use in a beverage prepared in this specific, traditional, and customary manner shall not be deemed a violation of chapter 328, Hawaii Revised Statutes, provided that all other relevant federal and state food safety laws are satisfied."
   The statement says, "Any other preparation of 'awa, or the use of any other variety of 'awa, will be considered an adulterated food and/or an unapproved food additive by DOH pursuant to §328-9, HRS, and a violation of chapter 11-29, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), and/or chapter 11-50, HAR, unless the elements of 21 CFR §170.30 can be satisfied.
   Visit DOH Food and Drug Branch website to review the DOH memorandum and 2020 FDA memorandum and additional dietary supplement, safety, and advisory information: https://health.hawaii.gov/food-drug/recalls-guidance/.

MATTHEW KOI, OF NĀ'ĀLEHUTURNED HIMSELF IN to Hawaiʻi Island police, who reported that the 20-year-old was previously wanted for an outstanding bench warrant and for questioning in two other criminal investigations. He was arrested in Ka‘ū on Sunday January 28, 2024, at 6:45 p.m., after he turned himself in at the Nā‘ālehu Police Station.
    The investigations Koi is believed to be involved in will be forwarded to the County Prosecutor’s Office for review.

HAWAI'I PUBLIC RADIO, WITH TWO STATIONS REACHING KAʻŪ, PRAISED ITS PRESIDENT AND GENERAL MANAGER WHO WILL STEP DOWN. José A. Fajardo will leave his post on July 31, due to his ongoing battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. HPR serves Kaʻū with 89.3 FM, 91.3 FM and is streamed, with programing ranging from Hawaiian to jazz and classical music to in depth stories and current news.
    The HPR Board of Directors will oversee a nationwide search for Fajardo's successor. Fajardo was appointed president and general manager of the independent, community-licensed service in May 2016.
HPR credits Fajardo with making it financially
stable while improving programing.

Under his leadership, HPR has completed the buildout of its statewide network of transmitters; realigned the programming schedules on its two distinct streams, HPR-1 (news, information, entertainment) and HPR-2 (classical music); made significant investments in news, digital content and staff resources, adding new positions and establishing a professional development fund for staff; and maintained the highest rating, four stars, on Charity Navigator, an evaluator of nonprofits nationwide.
    An HPR statement says, "Loyal and widespread community support throughout Fajardo's tenure has fueled the growth in HPR's services and bolstered its financial stability—HPR remains debt-free, has $4 million in reserves and a $7 million endowment fund."
    Fajardo said, "I've been fortunate to have enjoyed a four-decade career in radio, my dream job since I was eight years old. Along the way, I've been privileged to serve in varied and progressively challenging roles. Without question, my role at HPR, and working alongside such a passionate and talented team, has been the most fulfilling. With a strong team and steadfast community financial support, the community can look forward to the sustained excellence and integrity of this service and to its continued development and growth."
    Kathryn Matayoshi, HPR Board Chair, writes, "José's passion for public radio; his deep experience and expertise; his strategic mind; his dedication to the development of the HPR staff and an environment of caring, teamwork and commitment to community, have elevated the caliber of HPR's services. He has shaped HPR into the 'go-to' place for trusted news; expanded coverage of local news, stories and culture; and music that soothes and intrigues. José has put his heart and soul into HPR. His many contributions as a wonderful leader and human being are and will be enjoyed by HPR listeners today—and into the future."
    Joe Uno, Vice Chair of HPR's Board, states, "So rare is the opportunity to meet and work with someone like José. His leadership, knowledge and vision are second to none, and I am humbled and deeply appreciative of the time that I have spent with him. His legacy and impact on our beloved HPR will always be present."
    Francis S. Oda, who served as HPR's Board Chair during the pandemic, writes, "Extraordinary! Inspirational! Visionary! These are all apt descriptions of José Fajardo. Yet, they don't adequately capture the true essence of his leadership of Hawai'i Public Radio. He has established a solid foundation of financial support for the stations and a heart-to-heart relationship with all who treasure Hawai'i Public Radio. Thank you, José!"
   Before joining HPR in 2016, Fajardo was Executive Vice President for the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was also President & CEO of WMFE-TV/FM, the member-supported public broadcasting stations for Central Florida, where he served in various roles over 16 years. Fajardo's broadcast career started in Central Texas, where he worked for three years in commercial radio before joining KNCT-TV/FM, the public broadcasting stations located in Killeen, Texas. Fajardo has also served two terms on the Board of Directors for NPR, and one term on the Board of the Association of Public Television Stations. In 2022, Fajardo received a national leadership award from the Public Radio Regional Organization for his contributions to the field.
    Fajardo has been public about his battle with ALS since his diagnosis in 2021. During HPR's The Conversation last October, Fajardo said: "I'm a very optimistic person. I haven't let this disease define me. I don't sit in the corner, you know, depressed. I still enjoy life."
    Fajardo's plans after his departure from HPR are undetermined. He and his wife Jennifer plan to continue posting updates on his personal blog, teamjose.com.

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2,500 on the streets.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 29, 2024

Results are in for the first of three volunteer humpback whale counts in 2024. Photo by Ed Lyman

MORE THAN 400 VOLUNTEERS ON THE SHORES OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS took part in the first 2024 Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Count on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Locations on this island were Punalu'u Black Sand Beach on the Kaʻū Coast; Ho'okena Beach Park, Honaunau, Keahole Point and Hualalai on the Kona Coast; Pu'ukohola Heiau National Park and Mile Marker 7, Kapa'a Beach Park and Old Coast Guard Road on the Kohala Coast; Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo and Hawaiian Paradise Park in Puna.
    Total count for Hawai'i Island was 324. Statewide it was 2,124. The remaining whale volunteer whale count days this year will be Saturdays, Feb. 24 and March 30. Register and learn more at https://oceancount.org/.
    The Hawaiian word for humpback whales is koholā. The whales come to Hawai'i to give birth, nurse their young and breed before heading north to summer waters.
    Last Saturday, volunteers also gathered data on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Molokaʻi. They also searched shores of Maui and Lana'i during the Great Whale Count by Pacific Whale Foundation. This is the sixth year that both counts are coordinated on the same days, ensuring data from all the main Hawaiian Islands are collected simultaneously.
National Marine Sanctuary and NOAA recently released this poster
of koholā, honoring Hawaiian Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary.
Art by Matt McIntosh of NOAA
    The time when most whales were observed at all sites was from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
    On Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Molokaʻi and Hawai‘i Island, Ocean Count volunteers collected data from 32 sites. A total of 174 whales were observed from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
    On Maui and Lānaʻi, Great Whale Count volunteers collected data from 12 sites during 15-minute intervals between 8:30 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. A total of 141 whales were observed  from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Total number for the Great Whale Count on Maui was 821 and on Lānaʻi it was 53.
    "Data collected during the Sanctuary Ocean Count and Great Whale Count combined with other research efforts can help reveal trends in humpback whale occurrence within and amongst whale seasons," says the announcement from the organizers.
   Across the main Hawaiian Islands, weather conditions were primarily mostly sunny with winds varying from light to moderate throughout the day. Several sites did experience rain and gusty winds which was not ideal for observing whales. A variety of other species were also spotted during the count including honu (green sea turtles), ʻilioholoikauaua (Hawaiian monk seals), naiʻa (spinner dolphins), mālolo (Hawaiian flying fish) and multiple bird species such as aeʻo (Hawaiian stilts), ʻiwa (great frigatebird), mōlī (Laysan albatross), kōlea (Pacific golden plover), Nēnē (Hawaiian goose), and more.
    Ocean Count promotes public awareness about humpback whales, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
Humpback whale and calf in Hawaiian waters. NOAA photo by J. Moore

National Marine Sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. Site leaders tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the survey, which provides a snapshot of humpback whales’ activity from the shorelines of Kaua‘i, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi and Hawai‘i islands. Ocean Count is supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
    The Great Whale Count by Pacific Whale Foundation had site leaders count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawai’i, with 12 survey sites along the shoreline of Maui and a new site on the shoreline of Lānaʻi. This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running community science projects.
    Both counts take place three times during peak whale season annually on the last Saturday in January, February, and March.

    NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries recently released the latest sanctuary poster featuring the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The artwork by Matthew McIntosh features the iconic Humpback Whale (koholā) for which the sanctuary is named.
    Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was designated in 1992 to protect humpback whales (koholā) and their habitat in Hawai’i. The sanctuary safeguards koholā breeding, calving and nursing grounds in waters around the main Hawaiian Islands.
    Encompassing 1,370 square miles (3,548 square kilometers) of federal and state waters, the sanctuary extends from the shoreline to the 600-foot/183-meter depth contour and is composed of five separate marine protected areas, accessible from six of the main Hawaiian Islands.

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Mauna Loa's eruption, as seen on Nov. 29, 2022 between Pāhala and Volcano. Photo by Tanya Ibarra

THE LAST VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH PRESENTATION IN KAʻŪ this January happens Tuesday at After Dark in the Park with a USGS presentation by geologist Frank Trusdell and geophysicist Ingrid Johanson. They will discuss the unrest before the 12-day Mauna Loa eruption in 2022. They will compare the eruption in the crater and the Northeast Rift Zone to earlier Mauna Loa eruptions and report on its recent activity. The presentation is at 7 p.m. in  Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Park entrance fees may apply.

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  Kaʻū Future Farmers raising money to go to the state convention include Vladimir Fedoruk (Secretary), Ezekiel Kaawa-Kamimura (Treasurer), Jacelyn Jara (President), Lily Dacalio (Vice President), Alajshae Barrios (Reporter), and
 Triton Blanco (Sentinel). Photo by Kaweni Ibarra

FUTURE FARMERS AT KAʻŪ HIGH is raising money to attend Future Farmers of America statewide convention on Kaua‘i to be held Feb. 27 to March 1.
    Jacelyn Jara, President of Kaʻū Chapter of FFA, said, "This year 15 of our members qualified for States, which is the first time for our chapter in nearly 20 years. In order to travel to States, we are looking toraise $14,000 to cover our necessary expenses." Almost a third has been raised. Those who donated so far include Hawai'i Agricultural Foundation, Olson Trust, Punalu'u Bakeshop and 4K Ranch. A donation jar is located at Shave Ice Shack in Na'alehu.
    "FFA has been beneficial to students like us because it helps and provides for our community and gives us students more knowledge about agriculture life and how it works," said Jara. "We would like to use this National FFA Week to prove to our school how involved and generous our local community members, organizations, and alumni are. Any amount of donation is welcome."
    According to FAA mentor Kaweni Ibarra, modest accommodations on Kaua'i and ground transportation are very expensive and there are registration fees for the 15 students and four adult leaders. Food will be out of pocket for the students.
    The convention will be based at Kapa'a High School and Kaua'i High School in Lihu'e. It will also involve educational sessions at working farms around the island, and competitions among FFA members from around the state.
    To donate to Kaʻū FFF, email kaweni.ibarra@k12.hi.us or send donations to Kaʻū FFA, P.O. Box 100, Pāhala, HI 967677.

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KAʻŪ'S REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS Jill Tokuda has released results of her first quarter issues survey for 2024, with her summary of input and her responses. Tokuda said that "Top of mind for local
Rep. Jill Tokuda

families were gun violence, housing, and women's reproductive rights." In her own words, here are her responses to those issues: 
    Preventing Gun Violence: "Across the country we hear about more gun violence in our schools, stores, and workplaces, and even with some of the toughest gun laws in the country we're seeing an uptick in violent crimes in Hawaiʻi. Enough is enough! We don't need another tragedy for Congress to act on gun reform. I won't rest until we pass more laws to ensure every gun purchaser has a completed background check, the gun industry is held accountable, and assault weapons are banned."
    Increasing Housing: "Everyone deserves a place to call home and housing that is affordable is crucial for our local families and communities. I am working in Congress to secure more housing tax credits, expand rental housing and rural housing programs, and develop workforce housing solutions."
    Protecting Reproductive Rights: "Right-wing politicians are doing everything in their power to interfere with women's personal healthcare choices as they work towards a nationwide abortion ban. I will keep fighting to pass the Women's Healthcare Protection Act and every single piece of legislation that helps ensure women in every state can access safe abortion care. I will not rest until every person has the freedom to make decisions about their own bodies and futures."

NO LABELS HAWAI'I, A POLITICAL GROUP LAUNCHING A THIRD PARTY TICKET for the U.S. Presidency here and elsewhere is subject of a complaint to the Hawai'i Attorney General from End Citizens United.
    End Citizens United submitted a complaint to the Hawaii AG alleging No Labels fraudulently misuses its nonprofit status. The complaint was originally filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
    "In its attempt to run a third-party presidential ticket, No Labels is abusing its nonprofit status in Hawaii and we believe Attorney General Anne Lopez should investigate and hold them accountable," said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. "No Labels is a shadowy dark money political group that is grossly exploiting Hawaii laws which are designed to benefit legitimate social welfare organizations. If No Labels' corrupt charade continues unchecked, it will set a dangerous precedent for future elections."
    The IRS complaint, first reported by the Associated Press, alleges that No Labels cannot be considered a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization as its work primarily benefits the No Labels Party, and does not meet the minimum 50 percent threshold of promoting social welfare. It claims that instead, it appears that nearly the entirety of No Labels' spending is on political activity. End Citizens United announced that it is submitting copies of the IRS complaint to the 27 states where No Labels is registered to solicit charitable contributions.

The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail.
2,500 on the streets.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 28, 2024

ʻAlalā, endangered Hawaiian crows, raised in captivity in Volcano and on Maui, will be
released into the wild, this time on Maui, following an earlier release on this island when
they were attacked, some killed by another native bird, the Hawaiian hawk. Photo from DLNR
 SOME OF THE ENDANGERED HAWAIIAN CROWS, RAISED IN CAPTIVITY IN VOLCANO, will be flown to Maui for release by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service onto forest reserve lands. The ʻAlalā - native Hawaiian crows - are extinct in the wild. An earlier species re-introduction project on Hawai‘i Island was halted, largely because the native Hawaiian hawk (‘io), their natural predator, was preying on the birds.          While ʻalalā were last known to exist on Hawai‘i Island there is subfossil evidence of a Corvid (crow family) species on both Maui and Moloka‘i.

    For Maui releases, the state Department of Land & Natural Resources and U.S. Forest & Wildlife Service identified the project area through a collaborative process that evaluated eight sites on Maui and Moloka‘i. Since Maui Nui does not have a breeding population of ‘Io, researchers are hopeful releasing ʻalalā on Maui will be successful.
ʻAlalā chick being fed by a look-alike, substitute ʻAlalā mom in a captive breeding facility. Photo from San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance
    The agencies prepared a joint Environmental Assessment to address any impacts of pilot releases of ʻalalā. The assessment focused on the two highest-ranking sites, Kīpahulu Forest Reserve and Ko‘olau Forest Reserve. Project areas include a radius of 2.4 miles surrounding release sites, which is the maximum distance ʻalalā are expected to travel based on the previous Hawai‘i Island releases.
    In its submittal to the Board of Land & Natural Resources, the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife indicated the preferred alternative is to release ʻalalā in the Kīpahulu Forest Reserve for the first release effort to minimize potential impacts to rare snails and other native species. The environmental analysis also addressed potential impacts to other threatened and endangered plants and animals, to cultural, recreational and wilderness resources, and to public health and safety, air quality, climate change, and environmental justice.
    The interdisciplinary team consulted with scientific experts and environmental partners from DLNR, USFWS, the National Park Service, and the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. Released birds will come from the captive population of 120 birds. The birds are housed at two conservation breeding facilities managed by SDZWA on Maui and Hawaiʻi Islands.
    DOFAW representatives told board members that after reviewing the final EA, they agree that a “Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)” justifies the pilot release of ʻalalā in east Maui.
    BLNR voted unanimously to approve the plan. No date for releases has been set.

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ADDING A $25 FEE TO TRANSIENT ACCOMMODATIONS TAXES already charged by the state and county would raise money for state Department of Land & Natural Resources to deal with climate change, according to a proposed bill from Gov. Josh Green before the Hawai'i Legislature. 
    Green said the money would be used to protect beaches, parks and natural treasures from extreme weather, without hiking taxes and fees on Hawai'i residents. He said the fee could bring in $68 million a year to the state.
    Other proposals from legislatures would also add taxes to visitor accommodations, including raising the TAT by a percentage point.

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COFFEE EDUCATION AT NOON ON TUESDAYS will be offered via zoom with live questions by University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources' Agricultural Extension Service. Here is the schedule:
  • Jan. 30 - Using Priaxor for CLR Management: Chemistry Review and Best Usage Guidelines w/ Mike Ravalin of BASF
    Feb. 6 - NO Presentation w/ Q&A scheduled
    Feb. 13 - Coffee leaf rust research updates and pesticides registered in coffee w/ Julie Coughlin and
    Kaʻū and Kona coffee education series is at noon on Tuesdays.
    Photo by Luis Aristizabal
    Zhang Cheng of CTAHR
    Feb. 20 - Progress on coffee breeding for CLR-resistance w/ Ming-Li Wang of HARC
    Feb. 27 - Micropropagation of coffee using somatic embryogenesis w/ Steve Starnes of UH Hilo
    Mar. 5 - Optimizing location-specific pesticide applications for Coffee Berry Borer on Hawai'i Island w/ Melissa Johnson of USDA ARS DKI PBARC
    Mar. 12 - Coffee Leaf Rust in Puerto Rico: Patterns and Pathogens w/ Paul Bayman of Univ. of Puerto Rico
    Mar. 19 - Black twig borer w/ Rob Curtiss of Washington State University and Bob Smith of Smith Farms
    Mar. 26 - Management Tools for Kona Coffee Root-knot Nematode w/ Roxana Myers of USDA ARS DKI PBARC
    Apr. 2 - Field trials controlling the coffee leaf rust infection by using fungicides in commercial coffee farms in Hawai'i w/ Luis Aristizabal of SHAC
    Apr. 23 - Field pesticide and fertilizer trials and leaf disc assays w/ Lisa Keith of USDA PBARC
    Apr. 30 - Coffee germplasm and update on the cupping of rust resistant varieties w/ Tracie Matsumoto of USDA PBARC,
       The pre-recorded presentations will be hosted at the Kona Extension YouTube account and will be played at 12:00 pm on Zoom during the Tuesday webinars. A live online Q&A with the presenter(s) will take place after the presentation. Topics, presenters, and presentation titles are subject to change and will be updated at https://www.hawaiicoffeeed.com/coffeewebinars.html.
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fewer on Sunday. The quakes continue to indicate repressurization of the summit magma reservoir, according to reports from USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, The increase in pressure began when the latest eruption ended last September.
    The heightened seismicity remains in the south caldera area. The tiltmeter near Sand Hill indicated Sunday morning an ongoing inflationary deformation. A tiltmeter near Uēkahuna bluff also responded to Saturday’s events, but to a lesser degree, as this instrument is not as sensitive to south caldera changes, reports USGS.

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The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail.
2,500 on the streets.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 27, 2024

Guinea grass, haole koa and other invasive plants and trees could become fertilizer. U.S. Department of
Energy has invested in the idea. Photo from Simonpietri Enterprises

INVASIVE PLANTS CAN BE TURNED INTO FERTILIZER, according to the group ramping up to use guinea grass, haole koa and other invasives to make it. U.S. Department of Energy recently awarded Simonpietri Enterprises, LLC a $206,500 grant to conduct research on producing organic fertilizer from locally-sourced green waste and wildfire-prone invasive plant biomass.
    The project also includes the possibility of producing renewable energy to displace imported fossil fuel inputs, said Joelle Simonpietri, creator of the venture. She said construction and demolition debris and other organic waste can be diverted from landfilling and burning to make to make renewable energy, organic fertilizer, recycled-material building products, and other circular economy products.    
    She said her company has partnered with University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture, native Hawaiian plant nursery and landscape restoration organization Hui Ku Maoli Ola, and the Energy and Environmental Research Center of North Dakota.
    Phase I research took invasive guinea grass from a wildfire prevention project of Hui Ku Maoli Ola, and converted it to biochar and syngas for energy and fertilizer production at the U.S. DOE's National Center

for Hydrogen Technology™ gasification pilot laboratory at the North Dakota EERC. The nutrient products will next be tested in crop trials at U.H. Tropical Agriculture's Waimanalo and Pearl City research stations as a soil amendment and slow-release fertilizer ingredient.
    "We all need a way to bring more resources to landscape restoration and fire prevention in Hawai'i," said Hui Ku Maoli co-owner Matt Kapaliku Schirman. Hui Ku plans to test Simonpietri's organic fertilizer product for its seedlings at its native Hawaiian plant nursery.
    "This competitive DOE low-greenhouse gas fertilizer research award demonstrates the strength and timeliness of Simonpietri Enterprises' vision for sustainable agriculture and clean energy in Hawaii," says a statement from the company, noting its commitment to the "transition to a regenerative local economy that benefits all of Hawai'i's communities."

Kaʻū Aikikai Club in Ocean View, on Thursday, hosted Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, 7th Dan, a high level aikido
instructor. He is in back row, fourth from right. Photo by Cheryl Cuevas

HIGH LEVEL AIKIDO INSTRUCTION CAME TO OCEAN VIEW on Thursday, with Hiroshi Ikeda Shihan, 7th Dan, of Boulder Akikai and Aikido Shimbokai. Ocean View Sensei Jim Carter and his students at Kaʻū Akikai Dojo invited three others from Kaʻū to join in the training. Shihan has been in Kona teaching a winter Aikido Camp. Aikido is also taught at Pāhala Hongwanji by Sensei Gabriel Cuevas.

O KAʻŪ KAKOU AND KAʻŪ HIGH REMIND STUDENTS OF SCHOLARSHIP MENTORING available for free. "Millions of dollars of scholarship money go unclaimed each year - mostly due to a lack of applications from qualified college students," says statement from the mentors. "Scholarships are free money, tax free, and don't have to be repaid."
    Many scholarships cover educational expenses beyond tuition such as books, housing and meals.
    A committee has been created this year to assist students in successfully locating, researching and applying for college scholarships. A team of adult volunteer mentors in the Kaʻū District is available to work with students who need help, encouragement and support in receiving scholarship money.
    Mentors assist students with online research of available scholarships, help students keep organized, review applications for completeness and grammar, not miss deadlines and proof read applications, essays and other submissions.
    This service is free to any high school senior living in the Kaʻū District. For more information and to sign up with a scholarship mentor, contact the committee at okaukakou.org.scholarship@gmail.com or contact Kaʻū High School Counselor Regina Blanchard-Walker.

Deadline to apply for Rotary scholarship is Feb. 1.
Photo from Rotary Club of Volcano

ROTARY CLUB OF VOLCANO REMINDS STUDENTS OF THE $5,000 SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINE ON FEB. 1 for high school seniors going on to a four year college. A $2,000 scholarship will go to a senior going on to a two year college or vocational school. Applications for the $5,000 scholarship are due Feb.1 and the students must show academic achievement, community participation and financial need. Applicants must also attend an interview with Rotarians. The $2,000 scholarship applications are due April, with similar requirements. Those interested can email office@hawaiirotaryyouthfoundation.org or contact Alita Gandy at alida608@gmail.com.

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The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail.
2,500 on the streets.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Jan. 26, 2024

Punalu'u Black Sand Beach is heavily promoted in social media and through travel publications, including Travel & Leisure,
which published this photo. Decisions are soon to be made by the Planning Commission regarding proposals for more accommodations and commercial enterprise at Punalu'u. Photo from Travel & Leisure 

A NOMINEE FOR THE WINDWARD PLANNING COMMISSION is sought by Mayor Mitch Roth. The person selected could vote for or against one of the ongoing considerations - proposal for a Special Management Area permit for various accommodations and commercial enterprises in the old Sea
Mountain Resort and Punalu'u Black Sand beach area.
    The position on the Planning Commission is for N. Hilo - Hamakua and was formerly held by John Cross, who worked for many years in Kaʻū. The Commissioner for Kaʻū is Louis Danielle, manager of Kaʻū Coffee Mill. He succeeded John Replogle, who has worked and volunteers for land and ocean conservation programs.
    Holders of the seven Planning Commission seats vote on issues concerning each others districts,
including zoning changes, variances, approval of Special Management Area permits and other matters.

    The Planning Commission is advised by the Hawai'i County General Plan, Kaʻū Community Development Plan and its Action Committee, the Planning Department and the public through written comments and public hearings and meetings. It is also informed by submissions and interaction with those proposing developments.
     A county statement on Friday said the Mayor seeks qualified candidates to fill critical positions on various Boards and Commissions in the County of Hawaiʻi. "These civic bodies play a crucial role in shaping the future of Hawaiʻi Island, and the Mayor invites individuals with the necessary skills, expertise, and commitment to public service to apply."     
    Other commissions where nominees are sought are Board of Appeals, Merit Appeals Board, and Cultural Resources Commission.
    A statement from the Mayor's office says, "These bodies play a vital role in ensuring our communities' responsible and sustainable development, protecting cultural resources, and upholding the highest standards in planning and appeals processes." 
    The Mayor said, "Our Boards and Commissions are the backbone of effective governance, and we seek individuals with a passion for public service and a commitment to the betterment of our County. Your input and expertise will contribute to the growth and prosperity of our communities."
    Qualified individuals interested in serving on these Boards and Commissions are invited to apply. "Applicants should possess a solid commitment to the community, relevant expertise, and a willingness to dedicate their time to public service."
    For further information or inquiries, contact Pomai Bartolome at pomaikai.bartolome@hawaiicounty.gov or apply online at Boards & Commissions Application - Mayor | Hawaii County, HI.

WALKSTARS - WALKING FOR FITNESS BEGINS in March with Herkes Kaʻū District Gym and Pāhala Senior Center in partnership with Hawai'i island-based health promotion nonprofit organization Vivawell.org. Vivawell will hold an information session on the Walkstars program Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 10 a.m. at Pāhala Community Center. 
    Walkstars- Walking for Fitness Program will be held Fridays 9:15-10:15 a.m. at Herkes Kaʻū District Gym beginning March 1.
    According to Vivawell, the program helps participants gain the most health benefits from a regular walking habit. Walkers will learn how to add time, frequency and intensity to their walks as well as set goals, monitor progress, and have fun with different walking tools and equipment. The program consists of ten, one-hour sessions with a warm up, walking workout, and weekly health education topics led by a board certified health coach and personal trainer.  
    Each session will build on previous information and skills. A statement from Vivawell encourages participants to attend as many classes as possible. Walking for Fitness is a free program open to adults with donations accepted. Participants can register for the program at Kaʻū District Gym, Pāhala Community Center or online at vivawell.org.
    Vivawell launched the Walkstars Program in 2023 in partnership with the Kamana Senior Center in Hilo and Hawai'i County Elderly Recreation Services. With grant funding from the Hawai'i Community Foundation, the program is expanding to Kaʻū and Puna in 2024. Vivawell is a 501c3 nonprofit organization offering community based programs to prevent chronic health conditions through diet, exercise, stress reduction, social connection, and health-supporting environments.

Matthew Koi
MATTHEW KOI, OF NA'ALEHU, IS SOUGHT BY HAWAI'I ISLAND police, who are requesting the public’s assistance. The 20-year old is wanted for an outstanding bench warrant and also for questioning in two other criminal investigations. He is described as being 5-foot 9-inches tall, 155 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. Koi is known to frequent the Naalehu town area.    
     Hawai‘i Police Department announced it "would also like to inform the public that harboring or concealing a wanted person could result in criminal charges being filed against the person who harbors or concealed the wanted person."
   Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Koi can contact Detective Donovan Kohara at 808-960-3118 or donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov. Also contact the Hawai‘i Police Department’s non-emergency number at 808-935-3311.
    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 808-961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers does not record calls or subscribe to any Caller ID service. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

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HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE COLLECTION will be held between 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3 in Hilo at Waiākea High School Parking Lot B (entry via Po'okela Parkway, upper driveway off W. Kāwili Street).
    Another Hazardous Waste Collection will be in Kona on Saturday, Feb. 10 at West Hawai'i Civic Center Parking Lot (entry via 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Highway).
    County Department of Environmental Management states that it "holds these regular collection events, at no charge to the public, so households can conveniently dispose of acceptable household hazardous waste in a manner that protects both public health and the environment."
    Acceptable household hazardous waste includes automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and pesticides. For a more complete list of acceptable or unacceptable household hazardous waste, visit https://www.hawaiizerowaste.org/recycle/household-hazardous-waste/. The website includes information on solid waste diversion and recycling.
    These events are for household-generated and self-hauled waste only. Business, government agency, non-profit agency, or farm wastes are prohibited by law. No latex paint, no electronic waste, and no tires will be accepted.
    Rules have been set for public safety and the safety of the staff conducting these events:
- Remain in your vehicle unless directed by authorized personnel.
- Prior to arriving at the event, place your HHW items in your trunk or truck bed. Make sure your trunk can be unlocked or opened remotely. If you don't have a trunk or truck bed, it is preferred that you place your materials in the unlocked and unoccupied backseat area.
- All containers brought to the event will not be returned and should be disposable. If you want to keep your container, transfer the material into a safe disposable container prior to the event.
- Please label your HHW items (if possible) and make sure that your HHW items are easily distinguishable and separate from anything else in your trunk or truck bed.
- If you are under quarantine, feeling ill or showing symptoms of illness, please consider postponing your participation in our event or designate someone else to drop off your materials.
    With questions, contact Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with Department of Environmental Management, at (808) 961-8554, or email recycle3@hawaiicounty.gov.

The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper, 5,000 in the mail.
2,500 on the streets.