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Monday, March 18, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs March 18, 2024

 Kaʻū, Kona and other Hawai‘i Coffee growers are asking the legislature to require truth in labeling.
A public hearing will be this Wednesday, testimony due Tuesday. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie

HAWAI‘I COFFEE ASSOCIATION SENT OUT AN URGENT CALL ON MONDAY FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS TO SUPPORT TRUTH IN LABELING by providing testimony and contacting legislators by 5 p.m. Tuesday, before Wednesday's public hearing. Hawai‘i Coffee Association's initiative concerning the minimum blend ratio of Hawai‘i coffee products is scheduled for a hearing in the Hawai‘i state Senate Committee on Commerce & Consumer Protection this Wednesday, March 20.
    The call to action says, "No one knows better than you that Hawai‘i's coffee is among the best in the world. Diluting it with foreign-grown coffee, to the point that consumers can't taste one Hawai‘i-grown bean in ten, is simply wrong. Please immediately make your voice heard by telling the legislature to pass HB2298 in its original form and protect the integrity of Hawai'i's coffee industry.
    "Hawai‘i's Department of Agriculture commissioned a study last year that shows that this legislation will cause revenue to shift from the few blenders to the many growers located throughout the state!
    "If you're tired of seeing 10% blends masquerading as Hawai‘i-grown coffee, please submit your
    "If you believe competing with 10% blends in the market is unfair, please submit your testimony.
    "If you agree that Hawai‘i coffee products containing 90% foreign-grown coffee, yet carry the names of Hawai‘i's growing regions push prices down, please submit your testimony.
    "If you're tired of foreign-grown blends deceiving consumers, please submit your testimony.
    "If you agree substandard blends undermine Hawai‘i's reputation for high-quality coffee, please offer your support.
    "Please make your voice heard by clicking the 'Submit Testimony' button on this link and follow the prompts as soon as possible or by 5pm Tuesday, March 19 at the latest!"
    The statement noted that the Consumer Protection committee in the state House of Representatives, "significantly changed the bill in the last hearing. Its current form calls for a move to a 50% minimum blend ratio with a phase-in over nine years! Please tell the Senate committee you want to revert to the bill's original form requiring Hawai‘i's coffee products to contain 100% Hawai'i-grown coffee with a phase-in over three years (in the testimony's comment section)."
    Read the bill, see other testimony and submit your own at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2298&year=2024

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

Accommodations would be no closer than about a quarter mile from the shore. A Beach Club Cafe, Tour Bus Drop Off, Performance Grass Stage, Open Market, Fish Market and Seafood Restaurant, as well as an outdoor Multipurpose Event Lawn/Lu'au Area for Special Private and Community Events would be close to Black Sand Beach. The proposal is
before the Windward Planning Commission, which plans to continue its public hearing on the matter.
Plan from Black Sand Beach, LLC

    "Punaluʻu is a treasured wahi pana and beloved place of our District, and the Special Management Area (SMA) application for residential and commercial development by land-owner Black Sands LLC that is being considered by the Windward Planning Commission (WPC) has important implications for the future, not just for Punaluʻu, but for the entire District. At the WPC hearing on March 7, so many wished to testify that the WPC could not finish hearing from everyone. Therefore the March 7 meeting has been continued until a later date as yet to be determined to finish hearing testimony. I am in communication
County Council member Michelle Galimba
with the Planning Commission staff to offer any assistance that might be needed for a meeting in Kaʻū.
    "It is my belief that we can best express our aloha for Punaluʻu during the SMA process by both sharing our knowledge, experience, interests and perspective, and by listening deeply and respectfully to all perspectives on this issue. As your representative on the County Council, I believe that my role at this time is to listen, gather and share information about the process, and ensure that all have access and feel safe to share their testimony with the WPC. This will ensure that the WPC - as the community's representatives at the Planning Department - can come to an informed and sound decision that is in the best interest for Punaluʻu, Kaʻū, and our island. I would like to note that this SMA application does not come before the County Council.
    "I would also like to provide some information about the Planning Commissions. There are two Planning Commissions - Windward (covering Kaʻū, Puna, Hamakua, and Hilo districts), and Leeward (covering South Kona, Kona, and Kohala districts). Commissioners are nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council. Serving on the Planning Commission is a volunteer position and requires a considerable investment of time and energy to prepare for and deliberate on the matters that are brought before the Commission. As a former Planning Commission member, I know how seriously the Commissioners take their responsibilities and how difficult their decisions can be in highly controversial matters such as the Punaluʻu SMA. I hope that we can all respect our WPC Commissioners as fellow citizens and members of our community.
    "I would like to encourage members of the community to consider applying to serve on our County Boards and Commissions. There are vacancies or upcoming vacancies on both Planning Commissions as well as the Kaʻū Community Development Action Committee, and other important volunteer commissions such as the Board of Appeals, and the Fire Commission. see links below to apply.
    "Please do not hesitate to contact me or my office if you have questions or concerns about the SMA and the WPC hearing process."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming
events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

THE BILL TO STRENGTHEN PENALTIES ON DANGEROUS DOG OWNERS will be heard Tuesday, March 19, at 10 a.m. at the Hawai‘i Legislature. The session is available to watch on YouTube.
One advocate for the legislation, House Bill 2058, which would establish felonies in some cases, is Shannon Matson, whose father, Bob Northrop, was killed in Ocean View by uncontrolled dogs. The hearing is before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Watch at
Read the legislation and testimony at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx...

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

The last whale count on the coast in 2024 will be Saturday March 30 with registration due noon, March 23.
Photo from NOAA
REGISTER FOR FOR THE LAST HUMPBACK WHALE OCEAN COUNT IN 2024 by noon, March 23. The Kaʻū count will be held at Punalu‘u on Saturday, March 30 from 8 a.m. to noon. Sign up with Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Advance registration is required at https://oceancount.org/registration #HumpbackWhale #CitizenScience

Jaymelyn Pua-Queja is reported
as a runaway from Nā‘ālehu.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

JAYMELYN PUA-QUEJA is reported as a runaway and Hawai‘i Island police are asking the public’s assistance in locating the 15-year-old. She was last seen leaving her residence for school in the Nā‘ālehu area on the morning of Wednesday, March 13. She is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall, 130 pounds, with long black hair and brown eyes.
    Pua-Queja is believed to be in the Hilo area, according to police who ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies in the mail and on stands.

WHY IS HAWAI‘I RANKED LAST IN PLACES FOR DOCTORS to practice medicine in the latest WalletHub study? It ranked 51st in the study that includes all the states and Washington, D.C. It ranked 50th in compensation that is adjusted for cost of living; only D.C. was lower. Hawai'i ranked. 49th in what WalletHub called Opportunity & Competition Rank and 47th in Medical Environment Rank.
    According to WalletHub, the best states to practice medicine are Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Indiana and Minnesota. The worst are Hawai‘i, followed by Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York and New Mexico, according to WalletHub.
    WalletHub noted that nationwide a family physician's salary ranges from around $130,000 to $310,000, depending on the state. The data for the WalletHub study set ranges from the average annual wage of physicians to the number of hospitals per capita to the quality of the public hospital system.
     In explaining Montana's success, WalletHub reported: "Montana is the best state for doctors, and it has
Woodley White starts eight weeks
of free 'ukulele classes this

one of the top hospital systems in the country, with 82.5% of patients giving their hospital a score of 9 or 10 out of 10. Montana doctors also receive high wages. For example, the state has the second-highest average income for obstetricians and gynecologists, at nearly $375,000, and one of the highest incomes for surgeons, at almost $420,000 on average."
   WalletHub also reported that "Montana is a good place for doctors’ mental health, with the lowest rate of physicians reporting that they are burned out. Over 63% of medical residents who train in the state end up staying there, too – one of the highest retention rates in the country."

NEW ‘UKULELE SCHOOL SESSION BEGINS THIS WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20 at Nā‘ālehu Methodist Church under the guidance of luthier and music teacher Woodley White. The beginners class is at 12:30 p.m. with Music Theory at 1:30 p.m. and Kanikapila Sing Along at 2:30 p.m. The session runs for eight weeks. Classes are free and ‘ukulele are available. All ages are welcome. 

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See upcoming events, print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.