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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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