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Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs April 2, 2024

Trojan Volleyball started this season with five wins and one loss. Left to right are Head Coadh Joshua Ortega, senior Chaz La'a Kajiwara-Ke, freshman Emil Soriano, sophomore Cy Zeiah Silva-Kamei, junior Vladimir Fedoruk, senior Tyson Junior Kuahuia-Faafia, junior Kayson Pagan, junior Adahdiyah Ellis-Reyes,  sophomore Karsen Polido-Tuaifaiva,  junior Triton Blanco, sophomore Desmond Camba, sophomore Zayden Gallano and Assistant Coach Sarah Ortega. Photo from Trojan Volleyball
TROJAN BOYS VOLLEYBALL, under Kaʻū High School Head Coach Josh Ortega, Assistant Coach Sarah Ortega and Athletic Director Jaime Guerpo, is achieving a stellar season so far, with five wins and one loss. In the latest victory on Tuesday at Herkes Kaʻū District Gym, Trojans beat Honoka'a 25-15, 25-19 and 25-16.
    Trojans started the season on the road against Kaumeke, winning 26-16-, 26-24, 25-20 and 25-17. Kaʻū followed up by taking down Kohala 25-19, 25-19 and 25-16. The only loss is to Konawaena with 17-25, 14-25 and 10-25 at home. Trojans beat Parker 21-25, 25-22, 25-22, 20-25 and 15-10 and bested Makualani 25-15, 25-8 and 26-16.
     Kaʻū goes on the road for the next three challenges, with all games at 5 p.m., traveling to play Kanu o Ka ‘Āina on Saturday, April 6, then to HPA on Wednesday April 10 and on to Pāhoa Monday April 15. The next home game is at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, followed by the Play-offs.

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THIS IS NATIONAL NATIVE PLANT MONTH. U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, announced Senate passage of her bipartisan resolution designating April 2024 as National Native Plant Month. The resolution, which passed the Senate unanimously and was also led by Senator Mike Braun (R-IN), recognizes the importance of native plants to environmental conservation and restoration, as well as in supporting a diversity of wildlife. On Tuesday, Hirono and University of Hawai‘i President David Lassner together planted ‘ohia lehua trees and toured the grounds of Lyon Arboretum to launch the month of appreciation of native plants.
April is National Native Plant Month each year. Read a Kamehameha Schools article about
its importance in Hawai‘i at https://www.ksbe.edu/article/laau-love-lets-celebrate-native-hawaiian-plant-month

   Hirono said, "Hawai‘i is home to more than 40 percent of our country's endangered and threatened plant species, and native plants are significant to our state's history, culture, and environment. "In Hawai‘i, we recognize the importance of preserving our unique biodiversity and understand the need to continue raising awareness of native plant populations." She said the resolution "highlights the importance of native plants in our communities and encourages all Americans to learn more about native plants in their own communities."
    The bill is endorsed by more than 200 organizations across the country, including 16 organizations from Hawai'i: Aha Punana Leo, Ahahui o na Kauka, Bishop Museum, Boys & Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Council
 'Āhinahina, the Kaʻū Silversword. only grows on Mauna
Loa between 5,000 and 8,000 feet in elevation.
Photo from HVNP 
for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Hawai‘i Land Trust, Iolani Palace, Kamehameha Schools, Laukahi: The Hawai‘i Plant Conservation Network, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Native Hawaiian Education Council, Papa Ola Lokahi, Pouhana O Na Wahine, Sierra Club of Hawai‘i, and The Lani-Kailua Outdoor Circle.
    As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Hirono has championed legislation to protect Hawai‘i's environment, fish, wildlife, and plants, while also working to support local farmers and agriculture, and speed the transition to clean, renewable energy in Hawai‘i and across the country.
    In February 2024, she announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior is awarding over $4 million in funding to programs and initiatives across Hawai‘i to prevent the imminent extinction of Hawaiian forest birds. In September 2023, Hirono introduced the AuGmenting Research and Educational Sites to Ensure Agriculture Remains Cutting-edge and Helpful Act, legislation to provide billions in funding to address deferred maintenance at U.S. schools of agriculture, including the University of Hawai'i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, and USDA Agricultural Research Service facilities. In May 2023, Hirono introduced the Extinction Prevention Act, bicameral legislation to provide funding for some of the country's most imperiled yet vastly underfunded wildlife species, including threatened and endangered North American butterflies, various Pacific Island plants, freshwater mussels, and Southwest desert fish.

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NAUPAKA IS PLANT OF THE MONTH for Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū by Jodie Rosam with illustration by Joan Yoshioka:
    Description: I realize that some of the plants you read about here are a little more elusive and more difficult to spot (with confidence) in the wild, but here is one we all know and love, naupaka! Naupaka is an indigenous shrub in the Goodeniaceae family. Naupaka are most commonly seen growing in tight groups about 2-6’ tall, but if you trace a single plant down to its primary stem, you may realize that a single plant can spread 15-20’ wide. The leaves are unmistakable and somewhat succulent. They are an array of gorgeous light green ovals, covered with silky hairs on the axil (the area between the leaf stem and petiole or branch), and can range anywhere from 2 to about 8” long. The fruits are white, round, and pulpy. Naupaka kahakai bloom year-round with beautiful half-flowers that are shades of white with purple accents. Here is a homework assignment: learn the moʻolelo of naupaka kahakai (beach naupaka) and naupaka kuahiwi (forest naupaka).
    Of the ten native species of Scaevola, this featured species is the only one to produce white fruits and is not primarily bird-dispersed; the others produce more purple fruits and are a favorite forest bird snack. The fruits of this naupaka readily float and remain viable for long periods of time, hitching rides on ocean currents before settling along a shoreline, which speaks to its large distribution across the tropics. In fact, studies have shown that naupaka seeds are the most viable after spending an average of 250 days on the ocean!
    Uses: Naupaka can be used medicinally and in lei. The fruit and/or bark of naupaka can be crushed and
Naupaka grow all along the Kaʻū shoreline. Photo from DLNR
used on cuts and abrasions, and is especially effective when mixed with paʻakai (sea salt). The flowers, leaves, and fruits can be used in lei-making, and when the right plant is chosen for harvesting, the lei has a fresh floral fragrance. Naupaka fruits, flowers, and leaves can yield a light-to-dark green dye. For all of you divers/snorkelers out there, the fresh fruits contain a natural sunscreen and the broken leaves can be rubbed on the inside of your mask to keep it from fogging (no need for hāʻae, or spit)!
    Habitat: Naupaka is a common coastal adornment throughout the archipelago and across the pantropics. It thrives in areas that seem to be extreme and harsh - enduring hot, dry conditions, wind, and heavy salt spray. In Kaʻū, naupaka can be seen along all of our coastlines, providing erosion control, habitat for honuʻea (Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles) and sea bird nests, and a food source for the nalo meli maoli (Hawaiian yellow-faced bee).

    Growing and Purchasing: Naupaka grows easily from seeds and quickly from cuttings. Take 5-6” cuttings that are less woody than the main stem, and pop them into a jar of water on your windowsill for a couple of weeks (changing the water daily) or directly into a pot with a lot of perlite and good drainage. Sow seeds (after removing them from the fruits) in flats or germination trays in a similar media to that for cuttings, and place them in filtered sunlight, keeping them slightly damp. Seeds will only germinate in freshwater, but once the plant is established, it doesn’t mind (and actually likes) salt spray. Naupaka make a great, low-maintenance, pollinator-friendly accent to your home or property/landscape. They thrive in heat and full sun, and few pests bother the thick, waxy leaves. I encourage you to make some naupaka friends of your own, and see if any of them want to come home with you. Happy planting!

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Kaʻū News Briefs April 1 , 2024

 Kaʻū Coffee farmers are urged to ask the state legislators to pass truth in labeling laws to keep foreign beans out of Hawaiian
 coffee bags. Local coffee growers have built their reputation on 100 percent  Kaʻū.  Photo by Julia Neal

TRUTH IN LABELING FOR THE COFFEE INDUSTRY survives at the 2024 Hawai'i Legislature. A statement from the Hawai'i Coffee Association says, "Thanks to your testimony, HB 2298 HD1 cleared the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection on March 20. Based on your comments, the committee also restored the bill to its original form! This bill will ultimately require coffee labeled using Hawai'i's origin names (like Kona and Kaʻū) contain 100% coffee from that origin by July of 2027.
   "This bill is now scheduled to be heard in Hawai'i's Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday, April 2 at 10:05 a.m.. Like before, we need to tell legislators how we feel about blenders selling 90% foreign-grown coffee labeled with Hawaii's origin names."
    The message urges the public to "tell the Senate Judiciary Committee you support HB 2298 HD1 SD1.
Hawai'i's Department of Agriculture commissioned a study last year that shows that this legislation will cause revenue to shift from a handful of blenders to the many growers located throughout the state! We've analyzed several of these blends. We discovered defective coffee and severe insect damage! Hawai'i's growers are required to adhere to strict grade standards, yet these imported coffees are not! This is unfair!
    "If you object to foreign grown blends masquerading as Hawai'i-grown coffee and undercutting your price, tell the legislature!
    "Raw foreign-grown coffee imported into our growing regions is a prime vector for invasive pests and disease. Tell the legislature this practice must stop!
    "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 tell the legislature to pass HB2298 HD1 SD1 and protect the integrity of Hawai'i's coffee industry." Follow the legislation, read testimonies and find opportunities to submit testimonies https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=2298&year=2024


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HAWAI'I RESIDENTS SUFFER THE SECOND HIGEST TAX BURDEN OF ANY STATE, according to the WalletHub. "With Tax Day approaching on April 15 and 72% of Americans thinking their current tax

rate is too high, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2024 Tax Burden by State report and its 2024 Tax Facts infographic, as well as expert commentary," says the WalletHub study.
    In order to determine which states tax their residents most aggressively, WalletHub compared the 50 states based on the three components of state tax burden — property taxes, individual income taxes, and sales and excise taxes — as a share of total personal income. Hawai'i ranked second in Overall Tax Burden, 25 in Property Tax Burden, sixth in Individual Income Tax Burden and third in Total Sales & Excise Tax Burden.
    According to WalletHub, California has the highest individual income tax burden, while Maine has the highest property tax burden, and Washington has the highest sales and excise tax burden. When considering all types of taxes together, New York has the highest overall burden.
    The lowest tax burden overall is in Alaska, followed by New Hampshire, Wyoming, Florida and Tennessee.

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