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    More than 5,800 acres of coffee farms, pasture, open land and several houses and lots are scheduled to be auctioned
    off through foreclosure on May 21.
    MOA`ULA COFFEE LANDS are scheduled to be auctioned off at noon on May 21 on the lanai of the First Circuit Court Building in Honolulu. The coffee farms, which have been the economic hope of more than 30 farmers since the shutdown of the sugar plantation in 1996, are tied up in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy disaster of 2008. Lehman Brothers has foreclosed on 5,800 acres of farm, coastal and residential land in Ka`u that was purchased from C. Brewer subsidiaries by Windwalker, Hawai`i and WWK Hawai`i Holdings, a group led by developer Alan Worden.
    Alan Worden Photo from Windwalker
    Real Estate
          The properties include large acreage around Waikapuna, lands on the hillside of Honu`apo and the Moa`ula farms. The Moa`ula coffee farm land, part of a 2,000-acre parcel, has preliminary subdivision approval under a Project Unit Development plan that would allow lots smaller than 20 acres, while preserving several large parcels. The subdivision would require bringing in roads and other infrastructure before it would be allowed by the county. 
         Pacific Business News reported yesterday that Windwalker borrowed $44.7 million from Lehman against the land now valued by the county appraisers at about $13.6 million. With interest the total debt is $59.7 million. According to the auction notice, there is no upset price on the property.
          PBN reporter Duane Shimogawa wrote: “Massachusetts resort developer Alan Worden led a group who purchased the land in the Ka`u district of the Big Island in 2006. The group had estimated that it would take up to five years to build out the infrastructure and gain approvals and permits to build a high-end residential development with large homes on ‘farm lots.’ They had planned to subdivide and sell the land, which would have had an average density of one home per 20 acres.
          "Worden is the managing member of Windwalker Hawai`i, the managing member of WWK Hawai`i Holdings, which owns all the interests in the borrowers," PBN reports.
          “Lehman Brothers halted funding for the loan after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2008, putting the project in jeopardy,” the PBN story says.
          Chris Manfredi, who manages the leases of the coffee farms for Windwalker, heads the Ka`u Farm Bureau, chairs the Ka`u Coffee Festival and is one of the lead promoters of Ka`u Coffee, had this to say this morning:
          “It’s clear that Lehman’s bankruptcy caused our plans to stall. I was here before Lehman, and I will be here after. Ka`u has been my home for 11 years. The community has treated me as `ohana, and I will continue to do all I can to continue to advance our community through agriculture.”
          For more information about the auction, see the fact sheet at http://assets.bizjournals.com/pacific/pdf/Big%20Island%20Auction.pdf or contact George Van Buren, the case commissioner, at 808-522-0420 or gvb@vcshawaii.com.

    Chris Manfredi promoted Ka`u Coffee Festival events on Hawai`i News
    Now
    with Howard Dicus this morning. Image from hawaiinewsnow.com
    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL got a pitch on Hawai`i News Now during the Sunrise program with Howard Dicus this morning. Chris Manfredi, chair of the Ka`u Coffee Festival, reported on the ten days of upcoming events. Holding a five-pound bag of Ka`u Coffee Mill coffee, Manfredi talked about the international awards won over the last six years at the Specialty Coffee Association of America convention, the largest of its kind in the world. Manfredi was the first to enter Ka`u Coffee farmers’ green beans into the competition, and Ka`u has placed in the top ten ever since that first year. Dicus talked about remote Ka`u and said that once visitors reach here they find the nicest people and great coffee. 
          Ka`u Coffee Festival events begin Friday with Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant at Ka`u Coffee Mill, followed by a dinner at the Inn at Kalaekilohana on Saturday and the Triple C Recipe contest for Ka`u Coffee cookies, candies and crackers on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill.
          Deadline to enter the recipe contest is Friday. Professional, amateur and student chefs are encouraged to enter. Winners in each category receive $150, second place receives $100, and third place receives $50. The overall Signature Grand Prize winner receives $500. See the entry form in the April issue of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper or download it at kaucoffeefest.com or kaucoffeemill.com.
          Miss Ka`u Coffee will be at the recipe contest and after having been crowned at the pageant Friday.
    OCEAN VIEW FILL STATION is now open after a three-week closure due to equipment failure. Spigots became useable after the system was flushed and final water quality testing was completed the morning. Kanani Aton, of the Department of Water Supply, told West Hawai`i Today reporter Erin Miller that “it was really quite an expeditious repair.” Aton said that repairs could have lasted until late May had a spare pump not been located in the state.

    THE STATE CONSUMER ADVOCATE has submitted questions to Hawai`i County regarding its testimony on the proposed contract being considered by the Public Utilities Commission for `Aina Koa Pono to grow feedstock and refine biofuel in Ka`u and sell it to Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
          Referring to the county’s statement that “the ratepayer has already carried a high financial burden for supporting high penetrations of renewable energy they thought was meant to achieve lower-priced electricity on this island,” the Consumer Advocate asks the county to identify the existing projects and renewable energy technologies that have resulted in significant costs to ratepayers.
          Regarding the county’s testimony that, “when biofuels and biomass projects can compete to effectively lower the cost of utility customer bills, we will consider those projects, provide support and help make them happen,” the Consumer Advocate asks the county to identify the steps that it has taken to-date or plans to take “to facilitate the development of cost-effective biofuel and biomass projects. To the extent that the COH has not taken any steps or does not plan to take any steps, please explain why.”
    Big Fish in Ka`u
    A 500 lb marlin caught yesterday on a boat trolling off Punalu`u by
    police sergeant Cory Koi and his friend. Photo courtesy Trini Marques
      The Consumer Advocate says that Hawai`i County, according to its testimony, recognizes that it is “appropriate for the PUC to consider ‘inevitable trade-offs’ to encourage a particular activity” and asks the county whether it has conducted any analysis of “what premium might be reasonable to consider for approval in order to further the state’s migration away from imported petroleum.”
          According to the Consumer Advocate, the county’s testimony “acknowledges that HECO and HELCO have shielded ratepayers from the risk of AKP failing to perform as they have no obligation to purchase fuel that does not meet specifications” and “notes that risks associated with long-term contracting may be larger.”
          The Consumer Advocate asks the county to identify and quantify, where possible, all risks to ratepayers associated with the proposed contract with AKP “that are materially different from, and/or materially larger than, the risks associated with the long term-contracts for renewable energy projects that the Commission has approved to date.”
           The Consumer Advocate’s and other parties’ information requests are available at puc.hawaii.gov. Responses to the questions are due Friday, May 10.
    ENTRIES FOR THE ANNUAL KEN WICKS Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Scholarships are due a week from today, Wednesday, May 1. High school seniors and adults seeking to re-enter the educational system are encouraged to apply. Applicants are asked to write an essay about how their educational experience will benefit Ka`u. Preference will be given to those who intend to remain in or return to Ka`u and live here. Scholarship money can be used for all college and vocational training, and each scholarship will range from $250 to $1,000. Visit the Chamber website at kauchamber.org to download the application form. Call Lee McIntosh at 929-9872. with any questions.

    A special hike tomorrow explores Pu`uloa Petroglyphs.
    NPS photo by Jay Robinson
    ENTRY TO HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is free through Friday in celebration of National Park Week. Tomorrow at 1 p.m., ranger Adrian Boone leads a two-hour, 1.5-mile round-trip trek across ancient lava flows to Pu`uloa Petroglyphs, the largest petroglyph field in Hawai`i. Participants discover the meanings inherent in these rock carvings and gather a greater understanding of the native people who created them. Meet at Pu`uloa Petroglyphs parking area, near the end of Chain of Craters Road and 45 minutes from the park entrance.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    A new program at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers views of Ka Lae. NPS photo by Dave Boyle
    A VARIANCE TO ALLOW GRASS FOR ABOUT HALF THE ADDITIONAL PARKING at the new Ka`u Gymnasium and Disaster shelter building has been approved by the county Department of Planning. With the gym designed to accommodate 1,023 people, the county is ensuring 285 parking places, with 122 already paved at the school, 75 unpaved and 88 new paved stalls. The variance document says, “The grassed parking area was created to accommodate the community’s desire to leave a large amount of open grass parking area as possible.”
    Variances for the Ka`u Gym & Shelter have been approved, allowing for a
     higher-than-permitted roof and some parking spaces to remain grassed. 
          The Planning Department document says, “The project site is entirely grassed and has been used for overflow grass parking when school or community functions occur at the school. Therefore, the proposed project will not create any adverse condition as it is consistent with the present campus grounds.”
          Another variance approved by the county is for the height limit. The building will be 47.5 feet tall at its peak. County documents say, “While the (35-foot) height limit is appropriate for residential development, design and requirements for public facilities such as schools, universities, etc. differ significantly from single family residential requirements.... The proposed new gymnasium building requires an indoor ceiling height to be high enough for basketball shots or volleyball volleys, therefore requiring a building height much higher than the maximum height limit of 35 feet allowed for residential-zoned properties.
          “The plantation style roofline, resulting in a taller structure, allows for higher ceiling spaces which will enhance natural ventilation and introduction and distribution of natural light to interior spaces.”
          Another variance grants construction of the gym on property zoned for single-family homes.

    `Io, Hawaiian Hawk Photo by J. Jeffrey from NRDC
    REGARDING LIGHTING FOR THE GYM AND SHELTER, the plan states that, regarding potential distraction to night-flying birds from exterior lighting, the “design will specify minimal shielded security lighting.” All other exterior lighting would be turned on only as needed and designed in accordance with the county’s exterior lighting standards. 
          Regarding noise and dark sky impacts to neighbors, the plan says, “Operational policies will require activities to cease no later than 10 p.m. Except for minimal shielded security lights, all outdoor parking lights and interior lights would be turned off no later than 10 p.m.”
          It also promises that, “to minimize the threat of disorientation or downing of (native birds), such as the ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and other birds, all exterior lighting will be shielded in compliance with Section 14-50, Hawai`i County Code, and night-time construction will be avoided.”
          Exterior lights are to be shielded so as to lower the ambient glare caused by unshielded lighting to the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea.
    The document also states that the project “will not significantly affect the views of neighboring residents. The plantation-style roofline and corrugated material will complement the architectural style of the surrounding buildings.”
          Concerning landscaping, it says, “The building landscape will attempt to utilize the maximum amount of native species feasible or plants that have proven to be adaptable to the area.”

    Sen. Russell Ruderman
    Sen. Josh Green
    A BILL THAT WOULD REDUCE oversight of historic and archaeological sites is opposed by both Ka`u state senators, Josh Green and Russell Ruderman, but has made it through conference committee meetings between the House and Senate and goes to a floor vote. Sen. Kalani English, from Maui, who initially supported the bill but changed his mind, proposed the bill be shelved until next year. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning reported English voting against the bill Wednesday in conference committee, saying he would like the state to have more time to discuss the issue with opponents. “Dozens of Native Hawaiian students and other activists have protested against the bill at the state Capitol,” the Star-Advertiser reports.
          The bill would allow projects to be approved before complete archaeological surveys are done for the entire project area. Most professional archaeologists and academic archaeologists working in Hawai`i and numerous historians have opposed it.
    Sen. Gil Kahele
    Rep. Cynthia Thielen
          Rep. Cynthia Thielen wrote that SB1171 “is the same kind of broad, over-reaching exemption as the Public Land Development Corp. It’s unnecessary and will have bad consequences. This bill allows that any large-scale private development in the heart of an area rife with burials – say Turtle Bay – could argue that since their financing is phased, their surveys should be phased too.
          “The problem is you need to design your open space areas and your developed areas around the survey. If you survey in phases, you commit to a design that may actually disrupt the most important historic sites,” said Thielen.
          The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology is asking residents to call legislators to ask for a no vote.
          One of the local senators who has voted yes, to date, is Gil Kahele.

    BUY LOCAL at sponsoring area businesses during Ka`u Coffee Festival season and earn chances to win $1,000. Visit any or all of the participating Buy Local sponsors from now until May 4 to enter the Buy Local, It Matters drawing. To enter, bring business cards, product labels or receipts from participating Buy Local sponsors to the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center by 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The more Buy Local sponsors visited, the more chances to win. Winner must be present at the time of the drawing at 4 p.m. 
          See kaucoffeefest.com for details and a list of participating Buy Local sponsors.

    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS begin tomorrow with the Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant at 6:30 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Call Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or see candidates for $10 advance-purchase tickets.
          Tomorrow is the deadline to enter Triple C Recipe Contest for cookies, candies and crackers using Ka`u Coffee and other local ingredients. Entry forms are available at Ka`u Coffee Mill, R&G Store and Pahala Plantation Cottages in Pahala. The contest takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill.

    Crystal and Saphire's Water Cycle
    Photos by Susan Champeny
    KA`U STUDENTS ARE AMONG WINNERS of Recycle Hawai`i’s Art of Recycling school competition in the Elementary Group category. Students at Volcano School of Arts & Sciences took first place with Over Under. Na`alehu School third-grade students Crystal Quiros and Saphire Kahakua-Brown won third place with Crystal & Saphire’s Water Cycle.
          Recycle Hawai`i holds the contest annually to increase environmental awareness and encourage recycling and sustainable practices at schools and in the community. See recyclehawaii.org.

    VOLCANO GARDEN ARTS in Volcano Village hosts Artists in Action Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This day of demonstrations and hands-on activities is a fundraiser for the art program at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences.

    Over Under by VSAS students
    KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK presents a new program Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. From an overlook on Palm Trail, rangers orient hikers to numerous prominent geologic features of the many eruptions of the Southwest Rift Zone and discuss natural processes that created these features and the cultural traditions associated with them. Participants are invited to bring and eat lunch during the program. Call 985-6011 for more information.
    JUNIOR CLASS RODEO, sponsored by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association, takes place Saturday at Na`alehu Rodeo Arena behind Na`alehu Park. Tickets are $7, and keiki ages 12 and under get in free. Slack roping starts at 8 a.m., with the show starting at noon.

    VOLCANO ART CENTER invites the public to what it calls “an elemental journey into the heart and soul of the “aina” with Liz Miller and John Matsushita Saturday at 6 p.m. at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The artists provide insight into their works currently on display in The Nature of Nature exhibit. The program is free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 or see volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    Tonight's Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant highlights the talents of candidates Kawailani Houvener, Tiare-Lee Shibuya,
    Rachel Ornelas and Seneca Lee Oleyte. Photo by Nalani Parlin
    SHUTTING DOWN VIDEOCONFERENCING of County Council and other county meetings to the remote Ocean View Community Association site is the aim of several County Council members, according to a notice from Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford.
          Ford stated that she objects to cutting funds for the program that allows Ka`u residents to see Council meetings live and to testify live from District 6. She asked the community to testify to keep it open.
    Ocean View Community Center hosted a candidate forum
    attended by Council member Brenda Ford during last
    year's elections.
          Ford said that access to government is more important than some other proposed expenditures by the County Council members, including sending six of them to the National Association of Counties meeting this coming fiscal year in Washington, D.C. Ford said that usually one Council member representing Hawai`i Island flies to D.C. for the meeting. Adding on the expense of five more County Council members to go to the meeting will cost an additional $20,000, and Ford objects to that expenditure.
          Ocean View Community Center “has very graciously allowed the Council to rent the OVCC offices downstairs four days per month for this public outreach program at a reasonable rate,” notes Ford, saying, “Here’s the real problem: two and possibly three of the council members object to keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open at the Ocean View Community Center during the next Fiscal Year 2013-2014 to save money ($19,400: rent plus staff expenses). Of course, those Council members already have a videoconferencing site in their districts.
           “The reason those Council members want to close the Ka`u site is that very few people come to hear the committee meetings and the Council meetings at OVCC. Even fewer people actually testify before the Council. Most attendees prefer to sit and listen off to the side of the room when they do attend.”
          Ford said that two Council members “demanded that I provide a count of how many Ka`u residents are attending and testifying via videoconference.
          “The purpose for this demand,” Ford stated, “is to ‘prove’ that Ka`u does not want or need a videoconferencing site, and the County Council could save $19,400 by not having this public outreach videoconferencing location in Ka`u. I disagree. Government should be taken to the people in a convenient manner that meets their needs.”
    Council member Brenda Ford asks residents to help keep
    videoconferencing of county government meetings
    available at Ocean View Community Center.
          Ford said that former Ka`u Council member Brittany Smart “worked very hard to find alocation and obtain equipment to open a videoconference site in Ka`u for the benefit of the public in Ka`u. While we are still trying to work some bugs out of the technology, this is the only place in Ka`u from which the residents may testify. We are improving our notification by email to Ka`u.”
          She said that while budget negotiations continue, there is no money in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 for a Ka`u videoconferencing site. “I intend to amend the Council’s budget to add sufficient funds to continue the OVCC videoconferencing site in Ka`u at least until June 30, 2014, which is the end of the next fiscal year. I will continue to try to find a permanent county location for a videoconference site at a lower cost.”
           Ford called for the public to assist in keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open. “We need to get the word out to the community about the videoconferencing site and ask them to come and testify on any issue on the agenda at each meeting. I will send committee and Council agendas to everyone on my email list in Ka`u, which you may forward to friends and neighbors.
           “We need the community to testify on Monday, May 13 beginning at approximately 9 a.m. on the budget amendments, especially on those items that impact Ka`u. I would like people to testify about keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open for the public to listen and testify, and the Ka`u public needs to use the site.”
          She asked that questions be directed to her office at 323-4277 or 961-8027.

    A study of algae is in this
    month's Marine Biology.
    ALGAE ON THE SEAFLOOR is important to food webs and fish populations in Hawaiian waters, according to a recent study.
          The study, which took place in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, showed that bottom-dwelling algae served as the base of the food web, culminating in large predatory fishes at the top. Sharks and other large fish consume smaller fishes, which in turn have eaten algae growing on the seafloor.
          The findings, published earlier this month in the journal Marine Biology, “have immediate implications for management of healthy coral reef resources and the restoration of unhealthy reefs,” the authors said in a statement. “Since ecosystems were found to be heavily dependent on benthic algae, any impacts to other such reefs and their algae – like damage from bottom trawling, coral bleaching or other threats – could trickle up the food web.”
           “Benthic algae were found to support a majority of the fish production in this coral reef ecosystem,” said Anna Hilting, lead author and oceanographer with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. “Even some coastal tunas, such as the kawakawa, were partially dependent on primary productivity occurring on the reef bottom.”
          Randall Kosaki, NOAA deputy superintendent of Papahanaumokuakea and a co-author of the report, said the study demonstrates the importance of keeping reefs healthy.
           “Anything affecting native algal species, such as sedimentation, dredging or the spread of non-native invasive algae, will ultimately impact the abundance of prized food fish such as snapper or jacks,” Kosaki said. “Taking care of the reef itself will help to ensure healthy fish populations.”
          The study, Evidence for Benthic Primary Production Support of an Apex Predator-Dominated Coral Reef Food Web, is available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00227-013-2220-x.

    A BILL THAT PROVIDES an exemption from building code requirements and expands existing building permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings or structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside the urban district has passed the state Legislature and been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
          SB586 is supported by Local Food Coalition, a group of farmers, ranchers, livestock producers, investors and other organizations that collectively manage more than one million acres of land and produce the majority of food in the state.
          Members of LFC include Hawai`i Farm Bureau, Hawai`i Cattlemen’s Council, 4 Ag Hawai`i, Ulupono Initiative, Hawai`i Aquaculture & Aquaponics Association and The Kohala Center.

    MISS KA`U COFFEE IS CROWNED this evening at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant is the first of several events scheduled during the 2013 Ka`u Coffee Festival.
          Miss Ka`u Coffee and her court will be at the Triple C Recipe Contest on Sunday and preside over the ho`olaule`a next Saturday, May 4.

    POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA is opening several training areas for bow hunting from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday. Training Areas 1- 4 will be open for bow hunting of mammals, only. Training Areas 17, 19 and 20, which are fenced conservation areas, will also be open for bow hunting of mammals to support ongoing protection efforts for threatened and endangered species, according to statement from PTA.
          For more information, call PTA Hunter’s Hotline at 969-3474 or see garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the Hunting tab.

    JUNIOR CLASS RODEO, sponsored by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association, takes place tomorrow at Na`alehu Rodeo Arena behind Na`alehu Park. Tickets are $7, and keiki ages 12 and under get in free. Slack roping starts at 8 a.m., with the show starting at noon.


    Elizabeth Miller discusses her work exhibited in
    The Nature of Nature tomorrow. Photo from VAC
    DEMONSTRATIONS AND HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES are scheduled tomorrow at Volcano Garden Arts in Volcano Village from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the art program at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences. 

    JOHN MATSUSHITA AND LIZ MILLER provide insight into their works currently on display in The Nature of Nature exhibit tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The program is free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 or see volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    Miss Ka`u Coffee and attendants: Second Princess Rachel Ornelas, Ka`u Coffee Queen Tiare-Lee Shibuya, Brandy
     Shibuya (2011-2012 queen), Miss Peaberry Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa Escobar, emcees Bobby and Phoebe Gomes,
    First Princess Seneca Lee Oleyte and Third Princess Kawailani Houvener. The queen and her court will attend
    many festival events through May 5, including the day-long ho`olaulea at Pahala Community Center on
    Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
    TIARE-LEE SHIBUYA, daughter of police officer Dane and Terry-Lee Shibuya, of Wai`ohinu, became Miss Ka`u Coffee last night during the pageant that kicked off ten days of Ka`u Coffee Festival events. Tiare-Lee is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, attends Hawai`i Community College and plans to be a nurse. Her talent was hula. She won a $1,000 scholarship presented by the Edmund C. Olson Trust II.
          First Princess is Seneca Lee Oleyte, of Pahala. She is 22 and the daughter of Ernest and Lenora Lorenzo-Oleyte. She attends University of Hawai`i in Hilo and studies communications. She is a graduate of Ka`u High School. Her talent was singing. She won a $500 scholarship presented by Ka`u Coffee Festival chair Chis Manfredi.
    Tiare-Lee Shibuya, daughter of Dane and Terry-Lee Shibuya, became
    Miss Ka`u Coffee last night at the pageant kicking off ten days of Ka`u
    Coffee Festival events. At right is her sister Brandy Shibuya, who served
    as Miss Ka`u Coffee from 2011 until last night. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
           Second Princess is Rachel Ornelas, of Wai`ohinu. She is the daughter of Mia Ornelas and resides with her grandparents, Mario and Memmy Ornelas. She is 19, graduated from Ka`u High School and attends University of Hawai`i at Hilo, studying to be a nurse. Her talent was singing. She won a $400 scholarship presented on behalf of Sen. Russell Ruderman donating $250 and Rep. Richard Onishi donating $150.
          Third Princess is Kawailani Houvener, of Ocean View. She is 17 and the daughter of Michelle and Kenneth Houvener. She is a senior at Ka`u High School and plans to sign up for the Army and study mechanics. Her talent was hula. She won a $300 scholarship with Punalu`u Bake Shop donating $250 and Miss Bobby Tucker donating $50.
          The Talent and Gown categories were won by Shibuya. Ornelas took home the education scholarship, and Houvener took home the Miss Photogenic prize.
          The reigning Miss Miss Peaberry, Rebecca Lynn Kailiawa-Escobar, wowed the crowd with a dance, a speech and gown presentation.
          Emcees Bobby and Phoebe Gomes entertained, with Phoebe singing and playing `ukulele. Before announcing the judges’ decisions, Bobby said about the candidates, “They are all winners.”
          The queen and her court will attend many festival events through May 5, including Sunday’s Triple C Recipe Contest at Ka`u Coffee Mill for recipes made with Ka`u Coffee. There will be free entertainment with Keoki Kahumoku, coffee tasting and sampling of the entries.
          Tonight’s dinner at Kalaekilohana is sold out. Events this week include a hike in the mountains along the old plantation water system on Wednesday, visiting `Aikane Plantation Coffee farm and stargazing at Makanau on Friday, and the day-long ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. See kaucoffeefest.com.

    XCOR Aerospace wants to lease a spacecraft to a Hawai`i-
    based operateror. Image from XCOR
    LOCATING A SPACEPORT IN HAWAI`I is once again on the radar, and proponents are saying that the location should be remote next to water. It’s a proposal that has drawn attention to South Point and the adjacent Ka`u Coast in the past, since Ka`u is far from population and air traffic. However, the planners may want to use an existing runway.
          According to Pacific Business News, which ran a story by Mark Abramson yesterday, “A commercial space tourism company that has its sights set on rocketing tourists into orbit from Hawai`i could create up to 150 jobs locally. Mojave, Calif.-based XCOR Aerospace officials said they want to find an operator in Hawai`i to lease at least one of their spacecraft so tourists can fly as high as 350,000 feet into the atmosphere. The leases on that equipment would cover 5,000 flights, which is expected to cover a period of four to seven years.”
          The story said the cost of each 30- to 40-minute flight would be about $95,000 per passenger and would include lodging and training. PBN reported XCOR’s CEO Anderson Nelson saying, “It’s going to draw a lot of people to the Islands. There will be a lot of people who just want to come watch these things fly.”
          Hawai`i Tourism Authority chief Mike McCarney also weighed in, telling PBN that a spaceport would support luxury resorts, high-end restaurants and other enterprises catering to the ultra-rich.
          A similar proposal is being negotiated for Curacao, an island off Venezuela, the story reports. Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Rocket Crafters Inc. are also interested in possibly operating in Hawai`i, PBN reported.
          The business journal stated that “XCOR’s spacecraft, which will use a rocket to take off from a runway and glide back to the landing site, are about as noisy as a Boeing 747.”
          An Environmental Assessment would be required ,“but a more time-consuming Environmental Impact Statement won’t be needed if the assessment doesn’t find any significant impacts,” reported PBN, referencing the chief of the state Office of Aerospace Development, Jim Crisafulli. “Other studies around the country for these so-called ‘spaceports’ haven’t required an EIS,” PBN reported.
          The state would need a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration, which already provided $250,000 to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. A half million dollars in federal matching grants would help fund the project, with at least 10 percent of the spaceport cost coming from private investors, reported PBN. See more at bizjournals.com/pacific.
          Another spaceport plan was promoted at the Legislature in March by Fred Eissler and Kama Kekoa, a defense contractor. Eissler said that a space launch facility “will be powered by the latest green technology and will incorporate the most innovative, cost effective, and proven engineering practices, while maintaining and enhancing Hawai`i’s pristine environment and ecosystem.” He compared the Big Island to Orlando, FL, saying “Orlando tourist locations during any given launch week saw a 50 percent increase in patronage.”

    Shalan Crysdale
    THE NATURE CONSERVANCY has named Shalan Crysdale as its Big Island program director. Crysdale has headed TNC’s Na`alehu office for over two years. Trae Menard, TNC’s director of forest conservation, described Crysdale as “a strong and capable leader that clearly has the vision, experience, pragmatism, patience and sense of humor required for this challenging job.”
          In his announcement, Menard said Crysdale has done “his fair share of weed and ungulate control, fencing, and monitoring. He knows what it means to be cold, wet, sore and tired. He knows what it takes to get the job done in the field. He’s also navigated some pretty complex issues with agencies and landowners and maintained excellent working relationships with the partners on the Big Island.”
          Menard also said Crysdale “leads a fantastic team that does excellent, inspiring work.”
          In Ka`u, The Nature Conservancy manages the Ka`u Preserve and Kamehame Beach. Ka`u Preserve consists of four separate parcels of nearly pristine native forest that form a boundary between the largely intact native alpine and subalpine forest above and the agricultural land below. Kamehame is “the most important nesting site in the U.S. for the endangered hawksbill turtle,” says The Nature Conservancy website. The Conservancy, National Park Service and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service cooperate on managing the site and operate a volunteer turtle-monitoring program to protect nests from rats, mongooses, and other predators.

    JUNIOR CLASS RODEO is happening now. Sponsored by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association, the rodeo takes place at the arena behind Na`alehu Park. Tickets are $7, and keiki ages 12 and under get in free.

    Encaustics artist John Matsushita discusses his work this evening.
    Photo from Volcano Art Center
    VOLCANO GARDEN ARTS in Volcano Village hosts Artists in Action today until 3 p.m. The event features demonstrations and hands-on activities and is a fundraiser for the art program at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences.

    VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS John Matsushita and Elizabeth Miller discussing their works currently on display in The Nature of Nature exhibit today at 6 p.m. at the gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The program is free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 or see volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

    CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL takes place Friday, May 3 at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Doors open at 6 p.m.; dinner with live music is at 6:30 p.m. Menu items include enchiladas, rice, beans, salad, dessert and beverage. Tickets are $12 each or two for $20. Call 939-7555.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    Sen. Russell Ruderman is promoting Ka`u Coffee Festival on his website, russellruderman.com. "Enjoy free music and
    hula all day as Ka`u Coffee farmers provide you the special opportunity to taste and purchase their beans," the website
    states. "Talk to coffee professionals in the Ka`u Coffee Experience. Take guided tours of Ka`u Coffee farms."
    Photo from russellruderman.com courtesy of Ka`u Coffee Festival
    SOMETHING’S BREWING IN KA`U is the front-page headline on today’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Coffee & Cattle Day on Phil and Merle Becker’s Aikane Plantation is featured “as part of the annual Ka`u Coffee Festival.” The event takes place Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. See kaucoffeefest.com for more information about it and other festival events.
    Coffee & Cattle Day is Friday at Aikane Plantation.
    Photo from aikaneplantation.com
          Tribune-Herald reporter Colin Stewart describes the cane haul road connecting Pahala and Na`alehu as a slowly fading reminder of Hawai`i’s once all-powerful sugar industry and says “mauka of that remnant of a failed industry … another piece of Ka`u’s agricultural past is quickly becoming the district’s agricultural future.”
          Stewart details the history of Aikane Plantation. Merle’s great-grandfather, John C. Searle, first planted eight acres of coffee in Ka`u in 1894. Although it grew well, Searle was unable to find employees because everyone worked for the sugar plantation.
          When in 2000 the Beckers planted Guatemalan Typica plants, the same species that Searles had planted, “what began as a hobby has become a thriving business,” Stewart reports.
          “The more you get into it and learn about it, the more fun it is,” Phil told Stewart. He also said that, although he doesn’t like coffee, “give me some coffee ice cream, you better stand back.”
         See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    Brian Schatz
    U.S. SENATOR BRIAN SCHATZ, who was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to take the place of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, is running hard for the 2014 election where he is challenged by U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. He announced yesterday that his first quarterly fundraising report shows $1.1 million collected from supporters, “nearly 80 percent right here in Hawai`i.”
          He has been endorsed by a dozen labor and construction unions, the Hawai`i Buliding & Construction Trades Council, University of Hawai`i Professional Assembly, League of Conservation Voters, Council for a Livable World, National Weather Service Employees Organization and Ocean Champions. In a mass email sent out to prospective supporters, he appeals: “So there’s one more endorsement I’m hoping to receive this week: Yours.”
          Schatz also reported that last week he joined with colleagues “to oppose slashing your hard-earned Social Security benefits by shifting to the unfair ‘Chained CPI’ formula. I am also fighting to protect Native Hawaiian homelands, and I have advanced legislation which will allow more Native Hawaiians to own their homes. We must continue working to halt the disastrous effects of the budget sequester on Hawai`i jobs and the economy.”
          Schatz is the U.S. Senate chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power. He said, “I will continue to champion efforts to address global climate change.”

    Colleen Hanabusa
    U.S. REP. COLLEEN HANABUSA is reported to be considering a race against Sen. Brian Schatz in the 2014 election in order to take his place during the last two years of the late Sen. Daniel Inouye’s six-year term. 
          Before his death, Inouye had asked that Gov. Neil Abercrombie appoint Hanabusa to replace him, but the governor chose Schatz, in part to ensure that Hanabusa’s House seat would remain with the Democrats. Had Hanabusa resigned to take the Senate seat, it is likely that former Gov. Linda Lingle, Djou or another strong Republican would have run for it during the next election.

    DEVELOPMENT OF LAND ON PUBLIC school campuses has been approved by the state Legislature. SB237 establishes a pilot program to generate revenue through the lease of public school lands for public purposes. The purpose as stated in the bill is to optimize use of public school lands “to generate opportunities to improve public school facilities and infrastructure to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century and to improve the overall quality of education in Hawai`i.”
          The House wanted the bill to allow five projects, and the Senate wanted to limit it to two. On Friday, negotiators agreed to allow three projects.
          Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman supports the bill. Contrasting it with the Public Lands development Corp., which was repealed, he said this bill is limited in scope and specific in its goals.

    Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya is reigning over the
    Ka`u Coffee Festival and will be at Ka`u Coffee Mill
    today for the Triple C Recipe Contest which begins
    at 2 p.m. See kaucoffeefest.com for all of this
    week's events. Photo by Julia Neal
    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS continue through Sunday, May 5. 
          Triple C Recipe Contest takes place at 2 p.m. today at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The competition features cookies, candies and crackers made with Ka`u Coffee. Attendance and Ka`u Coffee tasting are free. There will be Hawaiian music entertainment.
          Ka`u Mountain Water System hike explores flume systems of the sugarcane era and the recent development of hydroelectric power for diversified agriculture. It takes place on Wednesday, May 1 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is limited to 30 participants. $35 includes lunch. See kaucoffeemill.com or call 928-0550.
          Friday, May 3 is Coffee & Cattle Day with a tour through Aikane Plantation, where descendants of the first coffee farmer in Ka`u explain how coffee is integrated into cattle production and other agricultural endeavors. The event begins at 10 a.m., and the $25 fee includes lunch. For more, see aikaneplantation.com or call 808-927-2252.
          The evening of Friday, May 3 is for Ka`u Star Gazing, when participants observe some of the best night skies in the world from the summit of Makanau with an `Imiloa astronomer between 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fee is $35 and includes light snacks, Ka`u Coffee and beverages. To sign up, see kaucoffeemill.com or call 928-0550.
          These events lead up to Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a Saturday, May 4 on the grounds of Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free event includes Ka`u Coffee tasting, music, hula, coffee educational displays and demonstrations, food, arts and crafts vendors and a kid’s corner.
          Ka`u Coffee College on Sunday, May 5 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. features workshops and sharing of information for coffee growers and other coffee-trade professionals.
          Keep up with news of festivities at kaucoffeefest.com.

    ARTS IN BLOOM on Saturday, May 11 offers live music, pupus, mimosas and champagne from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The Mother’s Day Orchid Sale & Fundraising Event is just a day out from Mother’s Day and provides an opportunity to pick up fresh orchids as gifts. Volcano Art Center programs supported by the event include HINA, Camp Likolehua, Volcano Native Forest Restoration and Education Program. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door. They are available from Ka`u board member Julia Neal at Pahala Plantation Cottages. Call 928-9811. They are also available from other board members and at Volcano Art Center headquarters at the Ni`aulani Campus.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    Triple C Recipe Contest judges taste the many entries at yesterday's event.  Photo by Julia Neal
    THE STATE LEGISLATURE ENDS this Thursday, May 2, and community groups are making a final push for and against bills that remain to be passed or tabled.
          House Bill 224 would require the state to conduct, in the Hawaiian language, culturally based assessment testing for math, science and language arts for students enrolled in Hawaiian language immersion programs.
          It is supported by Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kamehameha Schools and the Department of Education.
          Another is Senate Bill 1171, which would allow large development projects to be approved before all of the archaeological studies are completed. It is supported by developers and contractors and opposed by historians and archaeologists.
          A Call to Action from Malama Coalition urges people to descend on the state Legislature tomorrow or call in their views to key legislators, including Sen. Gil Kahele, at 808-586-6760. A statement from the group says, “We will not stand by while the Senate attacks the Native Hawaiian people through our keiki and our ancestors.”
          The rally is called Ku`e for Keiki and Ku`e for Kupuna. It begins Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.

    KA`U FARM BUREAU is pushing for coffee berry borer funding to fight the pest and money to rehabilitate old plantation water systems for irrigation of farms and ranches. One victory, said Farm Bureau president Chris Manfredi, is an easing of permitting for farm buildings.

    Coca Mocha Roca, by Gwen Edwards, won grand prize in
    yesterday's Triple C Recipe Contest. Photo by Julia Neal
    TRIPLE C RECIPE CONTEST using Ka`u Coffee to make cookies, candies and crackers saw Gwen Edwards take home the $500 grand prize with her Coca Mocha Roca, plus $150 for winning the Amateur Candy category. 
          The event was held Sunday at Ka`u Coffee Mill with five judges, the third in ten days of events during the Ka`u Coffee Festival.
          Judges for the recipe contest were Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya, Chef Brad Hirata, Na`alehu Market owner Carl Okuyama, Ka`u Coffee Mill Chief Roaster Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele and Lou Daniele, also of Ka`u Coffee Mill.
          In the Amateur Candy category, where Edwards also took first and $150, she was followed by second-place winner Rosaria Chelsea-Lynn taking home $100 for her Ka`u Coffee Honu Crunch, and Nadine Ebert taking home $50 for her Chocolate Frosted Coffee Candy.
          In the Amateur Cookie category, Masako Sakata took first and $150 for her Ka`u Coffee Cookie Delights, second place and $100 went to Angelica Kawewehi for her Ka`u Coffee Doodles and third place and $50 went to Nadine Ebert for her Mocha Biscotti Frosted with Chocolate.
    Masako Sakata took home two prizes yesterday in the Triple C
    Recipe Contest, the third in 10 days of Ka`u Coffee Festival events.
    Photo by Julia Neal
          In the Amateur Cracker category. Lisa Dacalio took first and $150 with her Ka`u Bull Crackers. Masako Sakata took second and $100 with her Ka`u Coffee Icing on Cracker.
          In the Professional Cookie category, Aikane Plantation Coffee and Kapolei High Schools Culinary Program took home $150 and first place for Ka`u Coffee Brownies. Trini Marques took home second and $100 for Ka`u Coffee Chocolate Dipped Pleasures.
          In the Professional Cracker category, Trini Marques took first and earned $150 for her Ka`u Coffee Melts.
          In the Student Cookie category, Sarah Beth Passarelli took first with the Coffee-Chocolate Bites, earning her $150. Second and $100 went to Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo with her Coffee Macnut Pie Crust Bars, and third and $50 went to Ka`u Middle School Uplink After-School All-Stars with their Uplink All-Star Cookies.
    Happy Birthday Ka`u Coffee Mill, reads a cake
    served at yesterday's Triple C Recipe Contest,
    with Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya
    looking on. Photo by Julia Neal
         In the Student Candy category, Lorilee Lokenani Lorenzo took first and $100 with her Coffee Macnut Candy. 
          The day also celebrated the first anniversary of the Ka`u Coffee Mill visitor center.

    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS this week are the Ka`u Mountain Water System hike on Wednesday, May 1 at 9 a.m. Call 928-0550. Coffee & Cattle Day is Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation Coffee Farm. Call 927-2252. Ka`u Star Gazing at Makanau is Friday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. Call 928-0550. The day-long Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a is this Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center with music, hula, Ka`u Coffee tasing, arts, crafts, food and educational displays. Entry is free. Call 929-9550.
          Sunday, May 5, is Ka`u Coffee College, 9 a.m. at Pahala Community Center. Call 929-9550. See www.kaucoffeefest.com.

    IN SPORTS, KA`U GIRLS TRACK DID WELL LAST WEEK in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation track finals:

    KRISTINA PADRIGO won the 200-meter dash for the Trojans with a time of 27.14 seconds, beating Emma Taylor of Hawai`i Preparatory Academy and Harper Hottendorf of Kamehameha Schools. Another Ka`u Trojan, Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, came in 11th with a time of 28.73 seconds. Toni Beck finished 28th in 31.88 seconds, Kyra Malepe finished 35th in 33.36 seconds, Shainese Tailon was 38th with 33.76 seconds and Jami Beck was 39th in 34.10 seconds. Padrigo also took first in the Girls Triple Jump with 34-05. Marley Strand-Nicolaisen took third with 34-01.
          Kristina Padrigo came in second in the 100-meter dash in a field of 35 competitors. Her time was 13.05 seconds, just behind Ua Ruedy of Konawaena High School, who ran it in 13 seconds. Other Ka`u standouts in the 100-meter were Kyra Malepe in 15.11 seconds, Jami Beck in 15.55 seconds, Shaenese Tailon in 15.63 seconds and Jennifer Tabios in 17.54 seconds. In the 400-meter dash, Kyra Malepe came in 18th with a time of 1:20.26.

    Ka`u track stars Marley Strand-Nicolaisen and Christina Padrigo.
    Photo from waynejoseph.wordpress.com
    MARLEY STRAND-NICOLAISEN TOOK FIRST in the girls high jump last week in the islandwide high school track finals with ten points. The second place finisher from Hawai`i Preparatory Academy came up with eight points. Strand-Nicolaisen also took fifth in the 100-meter hurdles. Her time was 16.98 seconds. Ka`u took fourth in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 55.06 seconds.

    GIRLS LONG JUMP finished with Trojan senior Marley Strand-Nicolaisen coming in second with 15-06.75 and Kristina Padrigo coming in third with 15-09.00. Sheila Balila took 12th with 12.05.50, and Shaenese Tailon took 13th with 12.00.75.

    IN GIRLS SHOTPUT, Toni Beck came in seventh islandwide with 29-05-50. Jennifer Tabios came in 16th with 22-07-00. In Girls Discus Throw, Beck came in seventh with 77 and Tabios came in 14th with 60-04.
          Overall, Ka`u Trojan girls came in fourth islandwide.

    IN BOYS 100-meter dash, Trojan Esteve Salmo came in 11th in 12 seconds, while David Pillette came in 36th in 13.37 seconds, and Kaweni Ibarra came in 38th in 13.78 seconds. In the Boys 200-meter dash, Jay-R Abaloscame in 46th in 29.64 seconds. In the 300-meter hurdles, David Pillette came in 18th in 50.42 seconds. In the 4x400 Meter Relay, Ka`u came in seventh in 4:23:19.

    IN BOYS LONG JUMP, Esteve Salmo came in fifth with 19-05.

    TOMORROW, A WALK INTO THE PAST features living history presenter Dick Hershberger, dressed in period costume, bringing back to life Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, founder of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and a prominent figure in the history of volcanology, the study of volcanoes.
          The program takes place in the Whitney Vault, a 16’ x 12’ underground laboratory that still has original equipment, and is located under a mound in front of the Volcano House.
          Performances are every other Tuesday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants meet at Kilauea Visitor Center.

    Photo from teachingtea.com
    JOANN AGUIRRE, TEA EDUCATOR and member of the Hawai`i Tea Society, invites Ka`u residents to an hour of tea talk, a delicious scone and a cuppa. Participants have fun exploring traditions and tasting various teas representative of 19th century royal-tea. The free, one-hour program is held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. For more information, call 967-8222 or visit teachingtea.com.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya will entertain with Keoki Kahumoku and reign over Ka`u Coffee Festival events this week.
     See www.kaucoffeefest.com Photo by Julia Neal
    THE 5,700 ACRES OF KA`U LAND to be auctioned off at an O`ahu courthouse on May 21 will be bundled, according commissioner Geroge Van Buren. That means that two houses, as well as small residential and farm lots included in the properties, will be unavailable for individual farmers and local residents to acquire through the auction to be held at the First Circuit Court building in Honolulu.
          The 5,700 acres include a parcel of approximately 2,000 acres where Ka`u Coffee farmers at Moa`ula grow their famous crop on under 400 acres. It also includes Waikapuna, a large stretch of coastal land south of Honu`apo that is now in pasture and open space and is the site of much archeology and pristine coastal conditions. Additional land being auctioned rises above Honu`apo above Hwy 11 and is largely in pasture. 
    Moa`ula coffee farms are on the land to be auctioned off on May 21. Photo by Julia Neal
          The acreage is caught up in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy of 2008. Entities that bought the property include Windwalker, Hawai`i and WWW Hawai`i Holdings, which borrowed $44.7 million from Lehman for a high end development on agriculturally zoned land. Before additional money could be loaned, Lehman fell into bankruptcy and loans were halted. Developers said stopping the additional loans made it impossible to finish their project, sell off the development and pay back the money. 
    Waikapuna lands, south of Honu`apo, are in the bundle of properties up for auction.
          Since 2008, Lehman Brothers has been allowed to reorganize its real estate business and is foreclosing on Windwalker and auctioning off the property. With an all-or-nothing auction for such large acreage, however, it is unclear as to whether anyone will bid. In fact Lehman could end up with the property and then sell it off in sections or raise money and continue the development.
          The value of the real estate for county property taxes is $13.6 million. The money owed with interest is $59.7 million, according to foreclosure documents. However, there is no upset price listed for the property. The commissioner for the property is George Van Buren, who can be reached at 808—522-0420 or email gvb@vcshawaii.com.

    THE `AINA KOA PONO ISSUE is reaching O`ahu, with an op-ed piece submitted to The Ka`u Calendar and also for this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. The opinion comes from the Big Island Community Coalition, which opposes the electric companies signing  a 20-year contract to purchase biofuel that would be produced at a refinery in Ka`u.
          Members of the Coalition include:
          Richard Ha, a member of the state Board of Agriculture and founder of Hamakua Springs Country Farms; Big Island Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and Ka`u sugar mill site co-owner Robert Lindsey; geothermal proponent Ku`ulei Kealoha Cooper, of Kealoha Estate; John E.K. Dill, member of the state Contractors License Board; Rockne Freitas, vice president for student affairs at University of Hawai`i; Wallace Ishibashi, of the ILWU; D. Noelani Kalipi, a former military attorney and advocate of economic and energy development; Ka`iu Kimura, executive director of `Imiloa Astronomy Center; H. “Monty” Richards, of Kahua Ranch; Marcia Sakai, Dean of University of Hawai`i – Hilo School of Business and Economics; Kumu Lehua Veincent, principal of Big Island Kamehameha School; and Bill Walter, president of W.H. Shipman, Ltd.
           The Coalition submitted the following to The Ka`u Calendar. It was penned by Richard Ha:
    `Aina Koa Pono is an O`ahu issue in the Honolulu newspaper this morning, following last fall's hearings in Hilo, held by the PUC.
    Photo from Big Island Video News
          “The Public Utilities Commission is considering approving a contract between Hawai`i island's HECO-owned utility (HELCO) and a partnership known as `Aina Koa Pono (AKP). Its decision is expected soon.
          “Why should rate payers on O`ahu care about this proposed contract?
          “Because if approved, O`ahu residents would pay about 90 percent of the cost — even though the very expensive biofuel would be used only on the Big Island.
         “The contract between HELCO and AKP calls for HELCO — and you — to purchase fuel from AKP at about $200 per barrel. Today, a barrel of oil costs about half that: $107. If this contract is approved, there will be a surcharge, to cover the difference, on your monthly electricity bill.
         "Furthermore, note that whenever oil has reached about $120 per barrel, world economies have slowed precipitously. Many have gone into recession. This tells us that there is a natural economic ‘stop’ in place that keeps oil from getting anywhere near $200 per barrel.
          “And yet, HELCO/HECO is trying to guarantee AKP a fixed price of $200 per barrel.
          "While a discussion of using renewable energy, rather than primarily buying foreign oil, is warranted, when the cost of those renewables is so unrealistically high that any buyer would look for other alternatives, then that discussion has reached the point of absurdity.
           "What lower-cost alternatives exist for the island of Hawai`i`?
    The site off Wood Valley Road where `Aina Koa Pono planned to put its refinery.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    * “The island has significant geothermal resources at the equivalent price of $57 per barrel. Right now, HELCO purchases only about 70 percent of the geothermal power available, meaning there is more geothermal available at well below the equivalent of $200 per barrel.
    * “HELCO currently purchases power from biofuel and hydroelectric sources that make a reasonable profit at today's prices, and don't ask for $200 per barrel. Additional power plants are asking to come on line at today's prices.
    * “HECO and HELCO currently buy solar power at prices well below the equivalent of $200 per barrel (in fact, from what we can tell, at less than half that price).
    * “HECO and HELCO buy wind-generated power for far less than $200 per barrel, with more potential sellers lining up to sell to them.
         "AKP's plan has technical issues as well. The process AKP plans to use has never been proven at the scale it is proposing; the proposed yield of source material is many times more than ever grown anywhere. There are also cultural and environmental issues.
          “Finally, you might ask why O`ahu rate payers should pay for power consumed by rate payers on another island. Good question.
         "The simple answer is that if rate payers on Hawai`i island had to bear the burden, there is no way this could be approved. That kind of tells the whole story right there, doesn't it?
         "We suggest writing to the Public Utilities Commission if you oppose this contract — hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov — or contacting your state or county lawmakers,” the Big Island Coalition concludes.
    Paniolo came from all over Ka`u and beyond to raise money for the Junior Class of Ka`u High School. Photos by Richard Taylor
    THE RODEO AT NA`ALEHU held over the weekend to raise money for Ka`u High School’s Junior Class has submitted the results.
    In Open Dally, first place went to Chris Awa and Bronson Branco, second place to Danny Joseph and Mike Smith, third place to Alex Gomes and Gilbert Smith, fourth place to Sam Auld and Kalai Nobriga, fifth place to Nahe Nobriga and Edwin Nobriga.
    Wahine roping drew many women riders to the rodeo in Na`alehu.
         In Kane Wahine Dally, first place went to Arthur Lindsey and Kacy Boteilho, second to Frank Boteilho and Tatiana Boteilho, third to Kalai Nobriga and Chelsea Branco, fourth to Keola Loando and Tatiana Boteilho, and fifth to Macey Loando and Jr. Henriques.
          In Team 90's, first place went to Keith Gomes and Allen Gomes and second to Frank Boteilho and Billy Benevides.
         In the Po`owai`u, first place went to Ken Meranda, second to Bronson Branco, and third to Kalai Nobriga. 
         In Wahine Mugging, first place went to Chelsea Branco and Nahe Nobriga, second to Raisha Karratti and Cheyenne Fuerte, third to Macy Loando and Naomi Kamakau, and fourth to Laurel Yanagi and Raisha Karratti.
          In Double Mugging, first place went to Keola Loando and Devin Boteiho, second to Kalai Nobriga and Bronson Branco, third to Bronson Branco and Billy Benevides, fourth to Billy Benevides and Ken Moranda and fifth to Dave Borges and Aki Smith.         
         In Ribbon Mugging, first place went to Bronson Branco and Sam Auld, second to Kalai Nobriga and Bronson Branco, third to Shavonne Panglao and Jerry Benevides and fourth to Poch Nobriga and Troy Mandaloniz. 
           In Tie Down Roping, first place went to Ken Moranda and second place Aurthur Lindsey.
           In Youth Barrels, first place went to Daniel Moranda, second to Weston Joseph and third to Kilihea Mackchew.
           In Wahine Barrels, first place went to Nahe Nobriga, second to Hailey Onaka and thrid to Cheyenne Fuerte.
           In Keiki Dummy Roping, four years old and under, first place went to Kohl Pascual. In the five to eight year old Dummy Roping, first place went to Kalia Andrade, second to Blayke Hanoa, third to Stetson Branco, fifth to Khezain Nobriga.
         In Goat Undecorating, four and under, first went to Kohl Pascual, second to Teani Souza. In five-to-eight year old Goat Undecorating, first went to Dedrick Souza, second to Stetson Branco, third to Payton Hanoa
    Team roping competition stretched the steer at the rodeo to raise funds for high school student activities. Photo by Richard Taylor
    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL CONTINUES tomorrow with a hike to old plantation water systems and the rainforest. Call 928-0550. On Friday is Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm on the old cane road between Pahala and N`alehu. Call 808-927-2252 and Friday is Ka`u Star Gazin at Makanau. Call 928-0550. The full day of music, hula, food, crafts and coffee tasting is Saturday at Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An education day is set for Sunday. See www.kaucoffeefest.com

    CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL will be held Friday at St. Judes Episcopal Church in Ocean View at 6 p.m. Includes dinner at $12 a person or two for $20. Call 939-7555.



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  • 05/01/13--20:00: Ka`u News Briefs May 1, 2013
  • View from Volcano House, where management asks the public to name the restaurant which is scheduled to reopen
    in June. Photos from Volcano House
    VOLCANO HOUSE, NOW A MEMBER OF THE MONOGRAM HOTEL COLLECTION, asks the public to help name its new restaurant. A press release sent out today from Aqua Hospitality, which manages Monogram and Volcano House, reaches out to the kama`aina community to help “name the new restaurant that opens in June at historic Volcano House on Hawai`i Island.”
           Elizabeth Churchill, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Aqua Hospitality, said that “opening the new restaurant and lounge is one of the highlights of this exciting multi-million dollar renovation, and providing an opportunity for people to help name the restaurant will be great fun.
    Newly refurbished Crater View rooms at Volcano House are now available
    for nightly rental.
           “Guests are already enjoying their stays in the newly renovated Crater View rooms, so the restaurant and lounge opening will be a wonderful amenity that everyone visiting Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will definitely enjoy.”
          The statement says that “offering diners maximum panoramic views of steaming Halema`uma`u Crater is a priority, and guests will not be disappointed. The new traditional Hawaiian menu will utilize Hawai`i Island farmers for 95 percent of its protein, fruit and vegetable needs.”
           The restaurant-naming contest launched today, May 1. Deadline to submit entries is May 15. Entries must be submitted online at http://www.hawaiivolcanohouse.com/contest/. There is no limit to the number of names submitted. Those entering must be 18 years and older with a valid Hawai`i I.D. One winner will be selected by a team from Volcano House, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and the park’s cultural advisory group. If a name is chosen that has been submitted by more than one individual, the first person to submit the name is the winner.
          The winner receives a two-night stay in a Crater View room with breakfast for two daily and one dinner for two with a glass of wine.
          For more information on the company, individual hotels and its three divisions of hotels – Monogram Hotel Collection, Aqua Hotels and Resorts and Lite Hotels – visit www.aquahospitality.com or call 1-808-943-9291.

    Brenda Iokepa-Moses
    Photo by Julia Neal
    BRENDA IOKEPA-MOSES WAS SWORN IN as a member of the Hawai`i County Board of Water Supply today. An appointee of Mayor Billy Kenoi, she was confirmed with a unanimous vote. She is an employee of Ka`u Farm Management, LCC, a subsidiary of the Edmund C. Olson Trust. She previously worked with Chris Manfredi at Ka`u Farm & Ranch and previously for C. Brewer in the land management division in Ka`u, from the time that Ka`u Sugar Co. was shutting down to the selling off of its lands.
          Iokepa-Moses served 21 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. She has also served for 20 years on the Ka`u Soil & Water Conservation Board and is currently its chair. She is secretary for the Ka`u Farm Bureau and co-chair of Ka`u Coffee Festival. She is a member of `O Ka`u Kakou community group.
          When asked by County Council member Brenda Ford why she wanted to serve on the water board and whether she saw any conflict of interest in being on the other community boards at the same time, Iokepa-Moses said she volunteers on all of them without compensation and that the main goal is to assist the farming community. She said the goal of the Soil and Water Conservation District is taking care of the land with soil conservation plans so that erosion doesn’t happen. She said she is committed to providing water for both agriculture and people.
          Ford said in an interview today that she asks questions about conflict of interest because, "Sometimes people are working for a company that has plans for the area. I always ask about potential conflicts because the question is ‘Are they volunteering to advance the interest of the employer rather than the interest of the community? If they are serving on one or more boards, will any of those boards be advancing their agenda versus the interests of, for example, the water board, which represents the overall community?"
          Ford said that everyone in District 6, from South Kona through Ka`u, “has the same water issues, insufficient or inadequate water systems. Many residents don’t have potable wells, reservoirs and water mains.” Ford said she also questions nominees in particular when they will represent the district where she serves as Council member. “I want to see if they have knowledge of the district.” Ford said that “Iokepa-Moses does. She seems to have a good working knowledge of the old sugar company water distribution system. She explained that she wants to serve on the water board because she has been working with farmers and on water issues for 20 years and wants to see if she can provide further assistance in this area.” Ford joined the other council members in voting to confirm Iokepa-Moses’ appointment.

    Tomorrow is the last day of the 2013 Hawai`i State Legislature which
    began on Jan. 16 at the State Capitol.
    THE HAWAI`I STATE LEGISLATURE has voted unanimously in both the House and Senate to approve the state budget for the upcoming Fiscal 2013-2015 biennium.
          HB200 CD1 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.
          For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $6 billion in general funds and $11.8 billion in all other means of financing. For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $12 billion in all additional financing means. It also provides over $3 billion in funding for capital improvement projects and $30 million Grants-In-Aid for nonprofit organizations.

    A BILL AUTHORIZING PHASED REVIEW of certain projects by the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division passed the Senate in a floor vote yesterday. The bill would allow projects to be approved before complete archaeological surveys are done for the entire project area. Numerous historians and most professional and academic archaeologists working in Hawai`i have opposed it. Ka`u’s state senators Russell Ruderman and Josh Green voted against it.

    FRIDAY, MAY 3 IS CINCO DE MAYO at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. There will be live music, and the menu includes enchiladas, rice, beans, salad, dessert and beverage. Tickets are $12 or two for $20. Call 939-7555.

    Merle and Phil Becker host Coffee & Cattle Day Friday.
    Photo from Aikane Plantation
    TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE for Coffee & Cattle Day Friday from 10 a.m. at Aikane Plantation. At this Ka`u Coffee Festival event, descendants of the first coffee farmer in Ka`u explain how coffee is integrated into cattle production and other agriculture. $25 in advance includes lunch and beverages. Call 927-2252. 

    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL’S Fifth Annual Ho`olaule`a is coming up Saturday at Pahala Community Center. Music, hula, food, Ka`u Coffee, games, arts and crafts are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
          Ka`u Coffee Experience has two sessions: 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For $5 Participants sample Ka`u Coffees prepared using a wide variety techniques and served by expert baristas.
          Farm & Mill Tours take place at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday and at 12 p.m. Sunday. Participants learn how coffee is grown and picked, then proceed to Ka`u Coffee Mill to learn how beans are processed and roasted while enjoying coffee tastings and demonstrations. $20 includes entry to Ka`u Coffee Experience.
          Ka`u Coffee College on Sunday from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. is an educational series featuring researchers and industry professionals. It is free for farmers. Sign up with Chris Manfredi at 929-9550.
          Keep up with Ka`u Coffee Festival news at kaucoffeefest.com.

    BUY LOCAL at sponsoring area businesses during Ka`u Coffee Festival season and earn chances to win $1,000. Visit any or all of the participating Buy Local sponsors from now until May 4 to enter the Buy Local, It Matters drawing. To enter, bring business cards, product labels or receipts from participating Buy Local sponsors to the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center by 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The more Buy Local sponsors visited, the more chances to win. Winner must be present at the time of the drawing at 4 p.m.
          See kaucoffeefest.com for details and a list of participating Buy Local sponsors.

    KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BOYS VOLLEYBALL won last night in a Big Island Interscholastic Federation playoff match against Christian Liberty Academy. Playing at home, the Trojans won 25-22, 25-16, 20-25, 25-17. Trojans play their second-round match at Kamehameha School gymnasium at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy. 
           On Monday, the Ka`u High School Boys Volleyball team beat Kea`au Cougars 25-18, 25-21, 25-6 at their last season game. Ka`u Athletic Department and coaching staff congratulates seniors Dimetri Castaneda, Greg Javar, and Donald Garo, Jr.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/02/13--16:08: Ka`u News Briefs May 2, 2013
  • Sensors on Mauna Loa have been tracking climate change since the 1950s, and scientists say that CO2 in the
    atmosphere will soom reach a record daily high. Photo from NOAA
    SENSORS ON MAUNA LOA MEASURE the growing CO2 in the atmosphere, and levels are about to reach a daily average of 400 parts per million, which have not been experienced on the planet since the Pliocine era, according to scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
          This will be the first time in human history that C02 levels have been so high, according to the scientists. The daily average level, recorded Monday by Scripps on Mauna Loa, was 399.5 ppm. The CO2 level changes during the day, and hourly levels in excess of 400 ppm were recorded. The level also goes up and down throughout the year, with May being the month when CO2 reaches its highest concentrations.
          Ralph Keeling, a geologist with Scripps, told The Guardian, a British newspaper: “I wish it weren’t true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400 ppm level without losing a beat. At this pace, we’ll hit 450 ppm within a few decades.” The higher the CO2, the more global warming, scientists predict.
    Monthly daily average of CO2 has been measured on Mauna Loa for more
    than 50 years and is expected to reach a level unexperienced since warmer
    days on the planet during pre-human times. Graph from NOAA
          Scripps released a statement last week saying: “Scientists estimate that the last time CO2 was as high as 400 ppm was probably the Pliocene epoch, between 3.2 million and 5 million years ago, when Earth’s climate was much warmer than today. CO2 was around 280 ppm before the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began releasing large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. By the time [Charles] Keeling began measurements in 1958, CO2 had already risen from 280 to 316 ppm. The rate of rise of CO2 over the past century is unprecedented; there is no known period in geologic history when such high rates have been found. The continuous rise is a direct consequence of society’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels for energy.”
          The result is global warming that could raise the water level in the oceans, covering islands and inundating coastal lands everywhere, these scientists predict.
          The Scripps scientists are the leaders in climate change research that was founded by Charles Keeling.
          The United Nation’s climate chief Christiana Figueres weighed in on the new measurements at a climate meeting on Monday with “a heightened sense of urgency.” Countries from around the world are meeting to negotiate a climate treaty by 2015 that would take effect by 2020.
         Mauna Loa Observatory is a premier atmospheric research facility that has been continuously monitoring and collecting data related to atmospheric change since the 1950s. According to its website at www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo, “The undisturbed air, remote location, and minimal influences of vegetation and human activity at MLO are ideal for monitoring constituents in the atmosphere that can cause climate change. The observatory is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Earth System Research Laboratory-Global Monitoring Division.”
          According to the scientists, the measurements of CO2 on Mauna Loa are unaffected by current emissions from Kilauea Volcano.

    Olson Trust land manager John Cross discussed plans for a hydroelectric
    plant using water from plantation water sources during yesterday's Ka`u
    Moutain Water Systems Hike. Photos by Andrew Richard Hara
    FUNDING TO CONTINUE TO BATTLE the coffee berry borer has passed the state Legislature. HB353 appropriates $250,000 in matching funds for each of the next two fiscal years for the Department of Agriculture to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of coffee berry borer infestations. It also appropriates $300,000 in matching funds for the upcoming fiscal year for the Department of Agriculture to fund efforts to control and mitigate damage from coffee berry borer infestation. In order for the funds to be available, they must be matched dollar-for-dollar by private or other government sources.

    The Nature Conservancy Hawai`i Island director Shalan Crysdale talked
    about rainforest preservation.
    THE KA`U MOUNTAIN WATER SYSTEMS HIKE yesterday led walkers from 25 to 75 years of age onto old plantation trails, into the rainforest above Wood Valley Road and to old tunnels and water systems once used to carry sugar cane to the Pahala sugar mill. The event, one of many during the ten days of the Ka`u Coffee Festival, sold out, and Ka`u Coffee Mill representatives said they plan to offer the hike on a regular basis. 
          During the trek, Olson Trust land manager John Cross explained plans to use the plantation water sources for a new hydroelectric plant that will run Ka`u Coffee Mill and other farm enterprises as well as provide irrigation water for crops like taro and watercress. Shalan Crysdale, Hawai`i Island director for The Nature Conservancy, talked about the rainforest and the preservation of the watershed and endangered species, as well as a partnership with landowner Edmund C. Olson Trust to rid the forest of invasive species such as kahili ginger.
    Participants lined up to cross a gulch on their trek to the source of water
    from the Ka`u mountains.
          The next Ka`u Coffee Festival event is Coffee & Cattle Day tomorrow, Friday, May 3 at Aikane Plantation Farm with lunch and a tour of coffee, protea, cattle, horse and other farm enterprises on the cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu. The cost is $25. Call 808- 927-2252 for reservations.
          Also on Friday is Stargazing at Makanau Mountain at 5:30 p.m., meeting at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The $35 event includes a talk from an `Imiloa astronomer, as well as Ka`u Coffee and snacks. Call 928-0550 for reservations.

    THE LINEUP FOR FREE MUSIC & HULA at the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a this Saturday at Pahala Community Center begins at 9 a.m. with Emcee Skylark offering an opening pule.
    Cyril Pahinui
          Keoki Kahumoku & `Ukulele Kids follow at 9:20 p.m. At 10 a.m., Cyril Pahinui takes the stage, followed by Lori Lei Shirakawa’s Hula Halau at 10:45 a.m. At 11:45 a.m. Loeka and Pomai Longakit sing for the festival, followed by a 12:30 p.m. series of presentations, proclamations and announcements and the introduction of Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya and her court.
          At 1 p.m., Halau Hula O Leionalani with Kumu Debbie Ryder performs with dancers from Pahala, Lana`i and Japan.
          At 2 p.m., Demetrius Olivera performs with D, Gene and Curtis.
          Bolo follows at 3 p.m, followed by Hands of Time at 4 p.m.
    BUY LOCAL at sponsoring area businesses during Ka`u Coffee Festival season and earn chances to win $1,000. Visit any or all of the participating Buy Local sponsors from now until May 4 to enter the Buy Local, It Matters drawing. To enter, bring business cards, product labels or receipts from participating Buy Local sponsors to the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center by 3 p.m. on Saturday. The more Buy Local sponsors visited, the more chances to win. Winner must be present at the time of the drawing at 4 p.m.
          See kaucoffeefest.com for details and a list of participating Buy Local sponsors.

    Masako Sakata, shown here with Keoki Kahumoku,
    gives back her winnings in the Triple C Recipe
    Contest to create a scholarship for next year's
    Miss Ka`u Coffee winner in the education division.
    It will be in the name of Sakata and her cooking
    mentor, Alice Yonemitsu. Photo by Julia Neal
    DONATING HER PRIZES to the Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship Fund is Masako Sakata, who took first and second place in the Triple C Recipe Contests during the ongoing ten days of Ka`u Coffee Festival events. Sakata and her mentor Alice Yonemitsu will be named for a $250 scholarship for the Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship Pageant in 2014. Sakata, with the help of Yonemitsu, created Ka`u Coffee Cookie Delights to take first place in the Amateur Cookie category and win $150. She also took second place and $100 in the Amateur Cracker category with her Coffee Icing on Cracker. Sakata said she wants her donation to go toward the Education Scholarship for Miss Ka`u Coffee. 

    ST. JUDE’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH in Ocean View holds its second annual fundraising Cinco de Mayo Festival tomorrow. Doors open at 6 p.m., and dinner with live music is served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 or two for $20. 939-7555

    OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER hosts a Spring Fair Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring local arts, crafts, baked and canned goods and a silent auction, with items donated from local businesses. The event benefits the community center’s Thanksgiving Dinner and Keiki Christmas Party.

    AN EXHIBIT ENTITLED The Garden Within opens Saturday at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Phan Barker exhibits abstract fiber sculptures and paintings made of silk, thread and wood capturing the beauty of the island while tending to the soul. Opening reception is Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Barker leads an informative exhibit tour during the reception beginning at 5 p.m., offering insights into her technique, process and inspiration. The artist also shares insight behind the works every Tuesday throughout May from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. 

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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  • 05/03/13--15:52: Ka`u News Briefs May 3, 2013
  • Halau Hula O Leionalani, with kumu hula Debbie Ryder, danced at dawn on Punalu`u Black Sand Beach
    this morning to celebrate the friendship between Ka`u, Lana`i and Japan. The halau performs at tomorrow's Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center.  Photo by Julia Neal
    OPPOSITION TO A TEN PERCENT hike in property taxes to pay for the county budget is what Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford has expressed, according to a report in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The tax hike proposal came from Mayor Billy Kenoi’s revised budget yesterday, and the County Council will take up the issue, along with the proposed budget, beginning May 13.
          According to the Tribune-Herald, “Ford said she’s opposed to property tax hikes until a task force completes a study on some 40 recommendations of an outside auditor. In particular,” Ford said, “the county could cut its past-due backlog from three years to two years before foreclosure actions are taken as a way to recoup money currently owed to the county. With a $17 million backlog in unpaid property taxes, that could add a minimum $5 million to the budget without raising taxes.
          “There are some tax increases I could support,’ Ford said. ‘A property tax increase is not one of them,’” according to the article by Nancy Cook Lauer. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    Police Chief Harry Kubojiri, right, will be able to assign more officers to
    Ka`u under the proposed county budget. Photo by Julia Neal
    ADDING ADDITIONAL POLICE OFFICERS to cover the Ka`u District is a proposal in the county budget supported by both Mayor Billy Kenoi and Ka`u County Council member Brenda Ford. Ka`u has had only two police officers on duty for many years for an area larger than the island of O`ahu. Ford said she also supports more lifeguard service at Punalu`u.

    THE MAYOR’S REVISED $394.3 MILLION BUDGET is a 7.9 percent increase over this year’s budget. Kenoi said, “This budget tries to accurately reflect the priorities of the County Council and the concerns of the community that came forward. We’re at the point that after years of budget cuts, we need to begin readdressing our needs.” The budget allows for the ending of county worker furloughs that led to back-logs in processing permits for the public and put many county projects on hold.

    Chris Manfredi
    STARBUCKS IS DOUBLING KA`U COFFEE OUTLETS in its stores that carry Ka`u Coffee to drink and to take home. Ka`u Coffee has been chosen for Starbucks’ Reserve(R) line, according to Chris Manfredi, of Ka`u Local Products, who buys Ka`u Coffee and sells it to Starbucks. 
          Manfredi said this morning that “KLP’s relationship with Starbucks has increased Ka`u’s visibility in the marketplace. This, combined with the exceptional work on the part of the growers to produce a stellar crop that has earned numerous awards, has more than doubled the price paid to the farmers in just three short years. That means the Ka`u Coffee industry is far more sustainable than it was, say, in 2006, when growers were abandoning farms because they could not make ends meet. The ability of the Ka`u community to come together on this marketing program and for the Ka`u Coffee Festival is one of many things that make Ka`u a special place."
          Manfredi is chair of the Ka`u Coffee Festival with events through the weekend, including Coffee and Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation today, Star Gazing at Makanau Mountain, sponsored by Ka`u Coffee Mill tonight, the annual Ho`olaule`a tomorrow with free hula, music, arts, crafts and coffee tasting tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center and Ka`u Coffee College on Sunday, also at Pahala Community Center. See kaucoffeefest.com.

    THE 27TH HAWAI`I STATE LEGISLATURE ended Thursday with members from the House and the Senate joining in the singing of Hawai`i Aloha. Before gaveling the session closed, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki acknowledged the work of everyone involved in the legislative process and summarized the session’s accomplishments.
          Of the 2,872 bills introduced during the Legislature, 293 passed and have been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for consideration.
          Souki said the approach this session was to focus on the state’s long-term needs such as reducing long term fiscal liabilities, replenishing reserve funds, promoting economic development, education, sustainability and improving the quality of life for all residents.
          “I am deeply grateful to all of you,” Souki said. “It is an honor to serve as your speaker, and I look forward to working together next session to serve the people of this state.”

    Jobie Masagatani
    THE DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS has received the largest general funds appropriation in the department’s history. The 2013 state Legislature’s operating budget includes $9.6 million of general funds for administrative and operating costs. While more than any previous appropriation, it was less than the $14.68 million for DHHL that Gov. Neil Abercrombie requested in December or the nearly $26 million that the Hawaiian Homes Commission and DHHL had developed and proposed to “sufficiently” cover administrative and operating costs. 
          According to Jobie Masagatani, chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission and director of DHHL, the appropriation will allow the trust fund and other revenues generated by the Department that currently fund department operational expenses to now be made available for future development of Hawaiian Homestead projects and programs.
          The Legislature’s action comes in light of the May 2012 Hawai`i Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the Intermediate Court of Appeals judgment that a determination could be made for what constituted “sufficient sums” for DHHL’s administrative and operating expenses to carry out the purposes of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The case is still ongoing, and the definition of what is “sufficient sums” for DHHL’s administrative and operating expenses is still to be judicially determined.
          Masagatani said, “We look forward to continuing this important conversation and dialogue in working with the Legislature in the coming years toward furthering our efforts to obtain ‘sufficient’ funds essential to revitalizing our programs, increasing development on homestead projects and placing more native Hawaiian families onto Hawaiian home lands.”

    Agricultural water systems between Pahala and Na`alehu will be restored with help from the state. This system, funded
    by Olson Trust, was toured by the public this week as part of the Ka`u Coffee Festival. Photo by Andrew Richard Hara







    KA`U’S AGRICULTURAL IRRIGATION SYSTEMS have received appropriations as Capital Improvement Projects in the state Legislature’s budget. Ha`ao Springs and Mountain House Ag Water Co-op receives $2.5 million for plans, design and construction. Another $2.5 million is listed to be used for design and construction of systems in the Ka`u Ag Water Cooperative.
          The Legislature’s $23.9 billion biennium budget now goes to Gov. Abercrombie for final approval.
    VISITATION AT HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is up more than 20 percent for the first quarter of 2013, reports park public affairs officer Jessica Ferracane. January saw 150,606 visitors, up 22.65 percent from January 2012; February had 147,131 visitors, an increase of 24.85 percent from February 2012; and in March, the increase was 18.95 percent over March 2012, with 139,222 visitors.
          Statistics for 2012 show an overall increase in visitation of 9.7 percent over 2011.

    Halau Hula O Leionalani greeted the sun as it rose this morning at Punalu`u
    Black Sand Beach. Photo by Julia Neal
    HULA SISTERS FROM PAHALA, LANA`I, O`AHU, JAPAN AND OKINAWA greeted the sunrise at Punalu`u Beach this morning with chanting for more than an hour. After the sun lit up the beach, they danced Ka Nani Ao Ka`u, by Uncle George Na`ope, the teacher of kumu hula Debbie Ryder. Ryder is kumu to Pahala dancers who are forging a cultural exchange with Lana`i, where they will participate in its festival in October. The Halau Hula O Leionalani, led by Ryder, will perform tomorrow afternoon at the Ka`u Coffee Festival at Pahala Community Center. Lori Lei Shirakawa’s Hula Studio from Wai`ohinu will perform in the morning. Admission to the festival is free. See kaucoffeefest.com

    JOANN AGUIRRE, TEA EDUCATOR and member of Hawai`i Tea Society, commemorates Tango-no-sekku (Boy’s Day) and Mother’s Day with a special tea tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. $15 per person includes tea, scones, tea sandwiches, salad, desserts and tea favors. Reservations are required. Call 982-7691 or email teaquiero@yahoo.com.

    KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a buffet Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The menu includes chicken and cheese enchiladas, short rib fajitas, make-your-own-burrito station, cinnamon chips, ice cream bar and beverage. Prices are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 6 to 11. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests, and park entrance fees apply.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/04/13--17:29: Ka`u News Briefs May 4, 2013
  • At last night's Ka`u Star Gazing event atop Makanau, `Imiloa astronomer Shawn Laatsch discussed Ka`u's night skies.
    Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
    A PETITION IS BEING CIRCULATED at Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a today stating: “We, the undersigned farmers and friends of Ka`u, do declare our support for the project undertaken on our behalf by the Red Lizard 501 (c) (3) Corp. to achieve the following goals:
    1. To raise donations from wealthy individuals, entities and from the population at large to support the purchase of this land under foreclosure by Lehman Bros.; 
    2. To hold this land in perpetuity without the possibility of sale; 
    3. To commit to indefinite leases for agricultural producers, so long as they serve as stewards of the land and protect its value as agricultural land; 
    4. To found a for-profit cooperative that will market the products of the land, and train, educate, and encourage those with ties to the land and leadership, agricultural knowledge, health, culture, and entrepreneurship, specifically in the brokerage of agricultural products and commodities, so that the wealth and wisdom of the community and the consumers of their products continues to grow.” 
          Text accompanying the petition says farmers on the land to be auctioned off, in the past “had no choice but to use their labor to create wealth for others” and says that farmers, “since the end of the C. Brewer plantation in Pahala, use their meager resources to create their own wealth.
          “The foreclosure of this property represents an opportunity for the farmers who have made the land valuable to gain their independence and self-determination in perpetuity.”
          The material states that Hawai`i “faces a food crisis in which 85 percent of the food consumed on our islands is produced somewhere else, and that the Ka`u district has been earmarked as Hawai`i’s future breadbasket.”
          It also says ongoing improvements to the ag water system in Ka`u are “for the purpose of supporting a sustainable food production that will ensure food security for our state.”
          The petition contends that “Lehman Bros. has been known to severely abuse their authority in the ownership of land, to distort the value of land, and to place the number of dollars they reap from any given transaction, above the value of human life and relationships, let alone the stability and continuity of the society in which they operate.”
    Aikane Plantatioon hosted Coffee & Cattle Day yesterday.
    Photo by Tom McAlexander
          The petition is in response to the plan to auction off 5,800 acres of Ka`u land in foreclosure, including large acreage around Waikapuna, lands on the hillside of Honu‘apo, the Moa‘ula coffee farms as well as several houses and lots.
          Several coffee growers have identified Malian Lahey, a Wood Valley property owner and coffee buyer, as the organizer of the petition drive.
          The ho`olaule`a continues until 5 p.m. with entertainment throughout the day. Ka`u Coffee Experience and farm tours are also available. See kaucoffeefest.com.

    AIKANE PLANTATION hosted Coffee & Cattle Day yesterday. At the Ka`u Coffee Festival event, Phil and Merle Becker explained to participants how coffee is integrated into cattle production and other agriculture. The Beckers are manning the information booth at today's ho`olaule`a.

    Ka`u Star Gazers gained experience using laser
    pointers. Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
    KA`U STAR GAZING, another event of the Ka`u Coffee Festival, also took place yesterday. `Imiloa astronomer Shawn Laatsch gave a lecture on stars from Makanau last evening as the sun set. While the clouds prevented many stars from being seen, the astronomer used the sky as a backdrop for teaching the group about Ka`u’s night skies. Before dark, the group was able to see the view from Makanau, a famous sacred site for Hawaiians and lookout place. The name of the tabletop mountain, Makanau, incorporates the Hawaiian word for eyes, “maka.”    

    HYDROELECTRIC POWER FROM THE KA`U AG WATER SYSTEM is closer to becoming a reality with the recent delivery of equipment to Olson Trust. Electricity produced would be used to power Ka`u Coffee Mill, as well as about 400 homes in Pahala, according to land manager John Cross. He said the trust is discussing a power purchase agreement with Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
          Cross informed participants about the project during Wednesday’s Ka`u Mountain Water Systems Hike, an event of the Ka`u Coffee Festival.
          Cross also discussed conservation efforts in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy, which manages 3,000 acres of forest in its Ka`u Preserve. The conservancy is helping to remove invasive kahili ginger, which was once used to mark trails.
          Shalan Crysdale, TNC’s Hawai`i Island director, said the conservancy wants to ensure that the ginger doesn’t find its way into the preserve. “It’s unusual for private landowners to work so closely to rid their land of invasive species,” he said.

    An alliance of fishermen wants NOAA to remove humpback
    whales from the endangered species list. Photo from NOAA
    HAWAI`I FISHERMEN’S ALLIANCE FOR CONSERVATION AND TRADITION, INC., a coalition of fishing clubs and groups from across the islands, has filed a petition with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to remove northern Pacific humpback whales from the endangered species list. According to an Associated Press story by Audrey McAvoy, the group says the population has steadily grown since the international community banned commercial whaling nearly 50 years ago. There are more than 21,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific today, compared with about 1,400 in the mid-1960s.
          McAvoy reported that the coalition’s president Philip Fernandez said the fishermen are acting after watching environmental conservation groups petition to add many more species to the endangered list in recent years, like dozens of corals, seven different damselfish and a rare dolphin called a false killer whale, said. Fernandez told her that the government should consider humpback whales for removal to maintain a balance.
          “You cannot add species after species after species without evaluating whether there are species that should come off,” the West Hawai`i fisherman said.
          He said are concerned the Endangered Species Act is being used as a tool to manage the oceans and this will ultimately affect how fishermen are allowed to fish.
          Angela Somma, NOAA Fisheries endangered species division chief, told McAvoy the petition is the first seeking to delist humpback whales since they were classified as endangered in 1970.
         The agency has until mid-July to determine whether the petition merits consideration. If NOAA finds the petition has merit, the agency must come to a conclusion by mid-April of 2014.
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    Ka`u High's Kristina Padrigo placed first in the 100-meter dash and
    long jump at yesterday's BIIF track and field trials.
    Photo by Tim Wright
    HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received more public testimony regarding the proposed contract being considered for `Aina Koa Pono to grow feedstock and refine biofuel in Ka`u and sell it to Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
          “I am opposed to the prospective contract between Hawai`i Island utility and `Aina Koa Pono,” wrote Jim Shipman, of Honolulu. “It is a bad deal for the taxpayers.”
          Anna Subiono, of Kona Hema in South Kona, wrote, “I do not agree with `Aina Koa Pono. I have concerns over: It being situated in a watershed area; placement of four giant microwaves in my community; health concerns in an area that already has low air quality; usage of GMO farming practices; usage of more pesticides; usage of county road for transporting biofuel (which we have to pay for); toxic chemicals; destroying our quality of life and the communities’ well being.
          “I do not agree with HELCO on any of its fuel alternatives so called ‘clean energy.’ `Aina Koa’s model lacks cleanliness.”

    Ka`u High's Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, seen here competing in hurdles,
    placed first in the triple jump. Photo by Tim Wright
    KA`U HIGH SCHOOL’S BOYS VOLLEYBALL TEAM today plays Pahoa at 5:30 p.m. at Kamehameha Schools in Kea`au for the BIIF number one seed in the upcoming state Division II tournament on O`ahu. This comes after the team upset top-seeded Hawai`i Prep yesterday in five games with scores of 13-25, 25-15, 25-19, 16-25, 15-10.

    IN BIIF TRACK AND FIELD TRIALS yesterday, Ka`u High’s Kristina Padrigo placed first in the 100-meter dash (12.73) and long jump (16-03.75), second in the 200-meter dash (26.46) and third in the triple jump (33-08.00). Marley Strand-Nicolaisen yesterday placed first in the triple jump (35-06.75), fourth in the long jump (16-00.00) and fifth in the 100 hurdles (16.51).

    KA`U SUMMER FUN REGISTRATION for keiki who completed grades kindergarten to six will be held May 6 - 9. In Ocean View, registration takes place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Kahuku Park. Families can also register at their respective sites at Pahala Community Center and at Na`alehu Community Center between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
          The Summer Fun program runs from June 10 to July 19, Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Pahala and Na`alehu and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ocean View.
          Payment of $100 per child must be by cash, money order or a certified check.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/05/13--14:39: Ka`u News Briefs May 5, 2013
  • Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative offered samples to Ka`u Coffee Festival attendees yesterday. Photos by Julia Neal
    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL HO`OLAULE`A drew more than a thousand people to the grounds of Pahala Community Center yesterday in celebration of 17 years of Ka`u Coffee becoming a new industry for the district, with small businesses and small farms creating a worldwide reputation. Gov. Neil Abercrombie declared last week Ka`u Coffee Week. A cultural exchange based around the festival was further forged between the small community of Lana`i and halau members in Pahala and from Japan. Lori Lei Shirakawa’s hula studio presented dancers from tiny keiki to kupuna, accompanied by Gene Akamu, Lori Lei and friends. Cyril Pahinui, D, Gene and Curtis, and Debbie Ryder were among the performers along with Keoki Kahumoku and his `ukulele kids. The many brands of Ka`u Coffee were shared with visitors and local residents who also visited farms and Ka`u Coffee Mill. Ka`u Coffee College continues today at Pahala Community Center.

    Keiki from Lori Lei Shirakawa's halau get ready to perform.
    HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received more public testimony regarding the proposed contract being considered for `Aina Koa Pono to grow feedstock and refine biofuel in Ka`u and sell it to Hawaiian Electric Co. and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
          Referring to an April 30 op-ed piece in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser from Big Island Community Coalition member Richard Ha opposing the project, Bert Oshiro, of O`ahu, said, “If what he says is true, that is totally unfair for O`ahu ratepayers. Why should we pay for a project that only benefits the Big Island residents? We already pay the highest electricity rates in the country, and now we are expected to pay for electricity that we can’t even use? Give me a break. Tell HEI that their request will not be approved. This is outrageous.”
    Ka`u Coffee Festival attendees enjoy the Ka`u Coffee Experience.
          Referring to the same article, Mark Torreano, of Honolulu, said, “I was shocked to read in the Star-Advertiser that you are considering signing a long-term contract with `Aina Koa Pono for biomass fuel for HELCO at about $200 a barrel. At twice the price of oil and even some alternate energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal, this just would not make sense. And it is especially wrong to ask O`ahu electricity users to pay more to support this Big Island experiment. Stick to technologies that are more mature and less expensive and do not put this burden on the captive and much abused public.”
          Another resident wrote, “O`ahu residents would pay about 90 percent of the cost — even though the very expensive biofuel would be used only on the Big Island.
    Keoki Kahumoku and his `ukulele students entertain the crowd.
          “Why should O`ahu ratepayers pay for power consumed by ratepayers on another island? We pay way too much already!
          “The simple answer is that if ratepayers on Hawai`i island had to bear the burden, there is no way this could be approved.
    “I am a Hawaiian Electric stockholder, but I am human first. ‘People over profit!’ as Bob’s Red Mill says’ referring to the natural foods producer in Oregon.
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT CO. HAS RECEIVED six bids for a second geothermal power plant on the Big Island, according to a story from Stephens Media. 
          HELCO president Jay Ignacio said who submitted bids and other details about the bids are confidential.
    Members of Halau Hula O Leionalani perform.
          Ormat Technologies, which owns Puna Geothermal Venture, submitted a bid, said Mike Kaleikini, Ormat’s senior director for Hawaiian affairs. Kaleikini told Stephens Media he could not comment on any details of the proposal, including whether Ormat is offering its current site in Pohoiki for an expansion.
          PGV has a contract with HELCO for up to 38 megawatts of power.
          According to the story, Innovations Development Group, of Honolulu, also said it planned to submit a bid.
          Ignacio said the utility is working with an independent observer to review the bids. The utility plans to have a contract awarded by September for another 50 megawatts of geothermal electricity. “We don’t have a deadline, but that’s what we’re targeting,” he said.
    Lori Lei Shirakawa and friends play while members of her
    hula halau dance.
          After a contract is awarded, HELCO will seek a power purchase agreement through the state Public Utilities Commission. Ignacio said that process could take about a year.

    HAWAI`I COMMUNITY COLLEGE IS OFFERING NEW AGRICULTURE CLASSES that are designed for people with a wide range of horticultural interests and goals. By completing the courses, students can obtain a Certificate of Participation or Certificate of Professional Development in the following areas of study: Farm Management, Sustainable Production Practices, Irrigation Repair and Theory, Integrated Pest Management, Farm Food Safety, Ag Business Management and Marketing. The courses will be condensed into a short timeframe: classes on two days for a Certification of Participation and classes on four days for a Certificate of Professional Development. Classes begin May 30 and continue through October. 
    Chris Manfredi, co-chair of Ka`u Coffee Festival,
    with Wendy Cortez-Botelho,representing Gov. Neil
    Abercrombie who declared Ka`u Coffee Week.
          HCC hosts an “AgCurious” information session on May 15 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for people who want to learn more about the courses and about agriculture on Hawai`i Island. The meeting takes place in Building 388 at HCC in Hilo.
          For more information and to sign up for the classes, contact Amy Shimabukuro at amysanae@hawaii.edu or 934-2687.

    KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a buffet today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The menu includes chicken and cheese enchiladas, short rib fajitas, make-your-own-burrito station, cinnamon chips, ice cream bar and beverage. Prices are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children ages 6 to 11.
          Another buffet is set for Mother’s Day next Sunday with prime rib au jus, blackened shrimp alfredo, macadamia nut-crusted fish, salad and potato bar, mashed potatoes, rice, green beans, pineapple-upside-down cake, ice cream bar and beverage. Prices are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children 6 - 11.
          KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests, and park entrance fees apply.

    Kumu hula Debbie Ryder, of Halau Hula O Leionalani, dances in front
    of members of her halau.
    ARTS IN BLOOM, A MOTHER’S DAY orchid sale and fundraising event, is coming up this Saturday, May 11 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Pupus, mimosas, champagne, orchids and native plants will be available for purchase. The event features live music, giveaways, a Ni`aulani Rain Forest photo tour with local photographer Britten Traughber, a talk story with a local native fauna expert, tea education by JoAnn Aguirre and more. Tickets, $5 in advance and $8 at the door, are available at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the Ni`aulani Campus, the office of The Ka`u Calendar in Pahala, online at volcanoartcenter.org or by calling 967-8222. 

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/06/13--15:05: Ka`u News Briefs May 6, 2013
  • Tango-No-Sekku, Boys Day in Pahala, where Glenn Okumura flew the traditional Japanese carp flags to honor his sons
    yesterday. On May 5, families of Japanese tradition celebrate the healthy growth of young boys. The strength and
    energy of boys are represented by the carp, who must fight their way up rushing streams in Japan. Photo by Julia Neal
    Po-jung "Simon" Hsieh of Taiwan
    Photos by Julia Neal
    KA`U COFFEE EDUCATION wrapped up ten days of Ka`u Coffee Festival events yesterday with Ka`u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. Chinese coffee entrepreneur Po-jung “Simon” Hsieh talked about the history of coffee growing in Taiwan where Japanese established coffee growing during their occupation of the island. The coffee became abandoned and went wild after the Japanese left, and more recently was re-established as a new industry. Hsieh operates Soaring Phoenix Trading Co.
          Jim Munson, of Brooklyn Roasting Company, talked about the development of his company. He praised the strength of the Ka`u Coffee farmers' stories and how they play to the U.S. market and appeal to U.S. consumers.
          Dr. Leisha Keith, from University of Hawai`i, talked about management of the coffee berry borer that has devastated farms in Kona. She said that keeping farms and surrounding lands and gulches clean of fallen branches, coffee cherry on the ground and cuttings is one of the most important aspects of holding back the infestations.
    Dr Leisha Keith of Univeristy of Hawai`i
    New York Roaster Jim Munson
    Photo by Chris Manfredi
          Other important management priorities, she said, are spraying a fungus that can kill the borers in five days when the insects move around outside the young coffee beans and also setting traps so farmers can know when the coffee berry borers are invading their orchards. She said that once the pests bore into the coffee beans, the fungus spray doesn’t reach them to kill them.

    HIS BID FOR RE-ELECTION is what Gov. Neil Abercrombie is promoting on a Neighbor Islands tour. In Hilo yesterday, he said that the Neighbor Islands are  important in winning Hawai`i-statewide campaigns. Hunter Bishop, of the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, reported Abercrombie saying, “We’re essentially a rural state. There is a highly concentrated urban core on O`ahu, and a vast diverse urban population in the rest of the state.” Abercrombie said he also began his 2010 campaign with announcements on the Neighbor Islands. 
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.
    Gov. Neil Abercrombie has launched his re-election campaign for a
    second term. Photo from neilabercrombie.com

          Abercrombie’s visit follows the official launch of his campaign last Monday. “I’m pleased to report that the days of fiscal chaos are behind us,” he told a gathering of supporters. “I pledge to keep our economy growing, because a strong economy will allow us to concentrate on my other priorities, starting with education. 
          “We need to address school readiness, plus, our students deserve a robust digital curriculum. Many of our aging schools can’t support modern technology, and by refusing to move with the times we are robbing our children of the ability to compete in the 21st Century.”
          See more at neilabercrombie.com.

    GIL ROBINSON, PRESIDENT of Ocean View Community Association, reported that some residents are making use of the remote videoconferencing location at Ocean View Community Center. He said three people at last Tuesday’s committee meetings and two at last Wednesday’s County Council meeting testified. There also were a few more participants who listened and did not speak. 
          The County Council is considering shutting down the videoconferencing due to lack of participation. Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford urges the public to use the site. “We need to get the word out to the community about the videoconferencing site and ask them to come and testify on any issue on the agenda at each meeting,” she said. “We need the community to testify on Monday, May 13 beginning at approximately 9 a.m. on the budget amendments, especially on those items that impact Ka`u.”
          She asked that questions be directed to her office at 323-4277 or 961-8027.

    Along with videoconferencing and other events, Ocean View Community
    Association next month hosts Air National Guard medical personnel
    offering free medical services.
    OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER will host 35 Air National Guard medical personnel June 4 – 12, when Tropic Care clinics will offer free medical exams, eye exams and glasses, plus dental X-rays and extractions. 
         Ocean View Community Association is looking for volunteers to help with organization, paperwork, crowd control (including parking) and more. Donations of bottled water and snacks for the crowds, plus after-hours treats for the medical team would be gratefully accepted. The team is actually sleeping in the community center's large, upstairs room.
          “This is an opportunity to receive some much needed health care, as well as work together to give back to our community. Spread the word, and help those in need get to this event,” said Gil Robinson, president of OVCA.
          Robinson also expects the last few days will be very busy and recommends coming earlier.
          To donate time and items, call 939-7033 or email ovcahawaii@gmail.com.

    RENEWABLE ENERGY GRANTS AND LOANS to agriculturalists and rural small businesses that would reduce energy costs and consumption will be available in Ka`u. Grant application deadline is Friday, May 31. A statement from U.S. Department of Agriculture says that funds can be used to purchase a renewable energy system and/or to make energy efficiency improvements. See http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP. The grant amount is limited to 25 percent of the eligible project cost, not to exceed $500,000 for renewable energy systems and not to exceed $250,000 for energy efficiency improvements. Priority is given to grant requests of $20,000 and less. Grant only and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications must be received by May 31, while guaranteed loan only applications are received on a continuous basis up to July 15. For all of Ka`u, contact Lori Nekoba at 933-8321 or email lori.nekoba@hi.usda.gov
         Governments and nonprofits are ineligible for the funding. They may apply for other energy grants through www.rurdev.usda.gov/HCF_CF.html.

    A 2013 Benjamin Franklin Silver Finalist Award went
    to Tom Peek's Daughters of Fire.
    DAUGHTERS OF FIRE, a book by Tom Peek, who lives in Volcano, has won a 2013 Benjamin Franklin Silver Finalist Award for Popular Fiction. The award comes from the Independent Book Publishers Association, the largest not-for-profit trade group in the U.S. Book industry. The book’s publisher, Arnie Kotler, of Koa Books, said that Daughters of Fire was a labor of love for everyone involved – the author, editors, artists, and designer.” 
          “More than a decade in its research and writing, Peek’s mystical and provocative page-turner picks up Hawai`i’s story where James Michener left off,” says a statement from Koa Books. It “illuminates how the islands’ transformation into a tourist mecca and developers’ gold mine sparked a Native Hawaiian movement to reclaim their culture, protect sacred land, and step into the future with wisdom and aloha.” The book’s cover is a painting by Herb Kawainui Kane, and pen and ink drawings by renowned nature artist John D. Dawson illustrate the novel.
          The storyline presents a visiting astronomer falling in love with a Hawaiian anthropologist who guides him into a Polynesian world of volcanoes, gods and revered ancestors. The lovers get caught up in murder and intrigue as developers and politicians try to conceal that a long-dormant volcano is rumbling back to life above the hotel-laden Kona coast.

    IN BOYS VOLLEYBALL, KA`U HIGH SCHOOL, after upsetting number one seed Hawai`i Preparatory Academy on Friday night, lost the BIIF championship Saturday night to Pahoa. Ka`u took third in the BIIF but will play the number three team from O`ahu, Campbell High School, today at 3 p.m. at the Ka`u High School gym. The winner of today’s game will be the eighth seed in the state championships on O`ahu.

    `Ohi`a lehua Photo by Judy Edwards
    KA`U’S OWN VOLLEYBALL STARS Evan and Emmett Enriques will join Kamehameha School’s Hawai`i Island volleyball team to the state championships this week on O`ahu. Coached by their dad, Evan, a junior at Kamehameha, is the number one player. Coach Guy Enriques said the team flies to O`ahu this Wednesday to play the first game against Kaleheo from O`ahu, followed by Punahou, and then, if they win, they will head into the semifinals and the final Saturday night at Blaisdell Auditorium on O`ahu.

    VOLCANO RESIDENT AND HULA STUDENT Kanoe Awong shares the traditional wili style of lei making using liko lehua Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at on Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants learn how to transform the leaves and flower buds of the `ohi`a lehua tree into beautiful lei. These trees are currently in bloom throughout the park, and its signature red blossom is the official flower of the island of Hawai`i. The program is free, and park entrance fees apply. 

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/07/13--14:36: Ka`u News Briefs May 7, 2013
  • Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School hosted the first-ever Sports Showdown on the Big Island with students from
    Kea`au's and Pahoa's UPLINK All-Stars after-school programs. Above are all students who participated, along with
    some staff members. Photo by Thu-Tam Doan
    THE FREE AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS program at Ka`u Middle School will be celebrated with Kea`au Middle and Pahoa Intermediate Schools. About a dozen of the 80 All-Stars from Ka`u will travel today to the Kea`au campus. All-Star coordinator for Ka`u is Thu-Tam Doan, who partners with UPLINK coordinator Liza Saplan for the daily after-school program. 
          Doan said this morning that her goal is to help empower the students to learn to rely on themselves through life skills. She talked about entrepreneurship and the students discovering needs in the community that an entrepreneurial and community-minded person can fill.
          She noted that the business students in the All-Stars program recently took third place in the Ka`u Coffee Festival Triple C Recipe Contest. She said that she is encouraging them to develop products around "what is here." She gave the example of macadamia nuts, which are abundant in Ka`u. Students are growing a garden, raising ingredients that can be combined with mac nuts, she said, to create new products.
    Local products mac nuts, cane sugar and Ka`u Coffee were used by Ka`u's
    All-Star program to make these award-winning cookies in the Ka`u
    Coffee Festival Triple C Recipe Contest. Photo by Julia Neal
          Pahoa, Kea`au and Ka`u each receive $100,000 in funding during the school year for the All-Stars program, plus additional money for summer. The finances come from federal and private sources. 
          Statewide coordinator Dawn Dunbar said she started the Hawai`i Chapter of All-Stars four years ago and opened up on the Big Island this school year.
          All-Stars provides a reliable schedule each day for students, with an hour set aside right after school to complete homework and for tutoring. Homework is followed by two hours of enrichment or sports.
          “Each community we work with is so unique, and it is really interesting to see the different offerings, everything from sports to cooking to `ukulele with Keoki Kahumoku in Ka`u,” said Dunbar.
          Another aspect is teamwork among people with varying talents and skill levels. Thirteen students from Ka`u from general and special education classes will travel to O`ahu over Memorial Day weekend for Special Olympics. The goal, said Doan, is to unify the students onto the same team where they can see they are perfectly capable of working together and can learn to better appreciate and cooperate with one another.
          Recently, a group of general and special education students from Ka`u traveled to a softball tournament on O`ahu, also sponsored by Special Olympics.

    U.S. SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO today filed four amendments to the immigration reform bill under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measures would reunite Filipino World War II veterans with their families, make it easier for foreign tourists to visit the islands and help Hawai`i’s longline fishing industry to more easily hire foreign crew.
          Hirono said, “These changes would pump millions into Hawai`i’s economy by boosting foreign tourism, make good on our promises to those who served our nation and fix a longstanding competitive disparity between mainland and Hawai`i fishermen.”


    Sen. Mazie Hirono
          The measures are summarized on the U.S. Senate website as follows: 
          Reunifying Filipino WWII Vets With Their Children (Hirono1) – Although thousands of Filipino veterans were granted citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States in World War II, their children were not granted citizenship. Senator Hirono’s amendment would help eliminate the immigration backlog for the families of Filipino World War II vets seeking citizenship. The amendment is identical to Hirono’s previously introduced bill, the bipartisan Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2013.


          Allowing Hawai`i Fishing Vessels To Temporarily Rotate Foreign Crews (Hirono2) – Because of Hawai`i’s geographic isolation, Hawai`i’s longline fishing fleet faces a unique competitive disadvantage. Federal law requires U.S. fleets to rotate their nonimmigrant foreign crews at foreign ports. While mainland fleets can comply with this crew rotation requirement by rotating foreign crews at ports in Canada or Mexico, Hawai`i-based vessels must make a round-trip voyage of more than two weeks to reach the nearest foreign port. Senator Hirono’s amendment would allow U.S. vessels to temporarily rotate their nonimmigrant foreign crew in Hawai`i through C1/D crew visas, the same flexibility currently available to U.S. ships rotating crew in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


          Expanding Chinese Tourism By Making It Easier For Chinese Visitors To Visit The Islands (Hirono3) – While Chinese tourists to the United States represent a large and lucrative market, restrictive visa laws prevent them from traveling to the U.S. and spending money in our economy. Visitors from Mainland China currently can only hold tourist visas to the U.S. for one year. Senator Hirono’s bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Senator Lee, would allow residents of Mainland China to hold U.S. visitor visas for five years and would permit multiple entries to and from the U.S. during this period. This amendment is identical to a key provision of Hirono’s VISIT USA Act, a bill she previously introduced in the U.S. House to boost Chinese tourism to the United States.


          Making Hong Kong Eligible For The Visa Waiver Program (Hirono4) – Senator Hirono’s bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Senators Hatch and Lee, would designate Hong Kong as eligible to be considered for participation in the visa waiver program for visitors to the United States. The VWP allows citizens of participating foreign countries or states to travel to the U.S. without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, provided they meet appropriate requirements. Currently, 36 countries and Taiwan – a province of China – are VWP participants. Hong Kong must still meet all statutory requirements that every country must meet for inclusion in the VWP. The amendment is identical to a bill previously introduced by Hirono in April 2013.

    This morning's SO2 readings show high levels in Hawai`i Volcanoes
    National Park. Image from Department of Health
    UNHEALTHY AIR CONDITIONS at Kilauea Visitor Center, Volcano Art Center and Volcano House Hotel kept some visitors distanced during periodic vog alerts yesterday and today. This morning, air became unhealthy for sensitive groups at 6 a.m., improved to moderate and good for a half hour and declined to unhealthy air at 9 a.m. 
          The SO2 reading at 10:30 a.m. in the visitor center area was a red alert 1.40 parts per million. The state Department of Health Guidance on Short-term Sulfur Dioxide exposure says that during a red alert, “Everyone may begin to experience health effects. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Avoid outdoor activities and remain indoors. If you experience breathing difficulties, such as chest tightness or wheezing, stop activities, use a rescue inhaler and find a place to sit down and rest. Potential health effects not expected, however actions to reduce exposure to vog may be useful.”
          At Jaggar Museum, the most unhealthy air was during a red alert between 6 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. At 10:30 a.m, the air was unhealthy for sensitive groups. Volcano Art Gallery staff said they had the doors closed this morning to keep the clean air in and the bad air out.
          Yesterday, none of the operations shut down, but alerts were coming and going, sometimes reaching the red, unhealthy level. See vog conditions at http://www.hiso2index.info/. Click on Jaggar or Visitor’s Center to see today’s levels and alerts.

    Identifying where products are from is one way to add value to them.
    Photo from Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai`i
    A FREE 58-PAGE GUIDE ENTITLED Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai`i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation is now available to Ka`u farmers. The guide helps growers add value to all aspects of their farm enterprise and offers resources for further developing their strategies. 
          Craig Elevitch and Ken Love authored the guide with input from agricultural professionals statewide. Elevitch is an agroforestry educator whose most recent book Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011) provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on production methods, post-harvest processing, and marketing.
          Love, widely known as an advocate for the innovative small farm, is co-owner of Love Family Farms in Kona, which produces a range of value-added products including jams, jellies, dried fruits, and coffee.
    Ken Love
    Craig Elevitch
          “Adding value is an essential component of small farm sustainability,” said Love, who has extensive experience working with farm enterprises. “There are many different ways to add value in growing, processing, and marketing products. This guide is about finding ways of adding value to your operation that are best suited for you and that are ultimately profitable.” 
          The publication was produced with funds from the state Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Incubator Program of the University of Hawai`i, and the county Department of Research and Development. It is available as a free download, and a limited number of free hard copies will be available throughout Hawai`i.
          Distribution locations and a link to download the free guide are listed at www.valueadded.info.

    KA`U TROJANS VOLLEYBALL boys just missed going to the state high school finals on O`ahu this weekend. They lost their playoff game at home yesterday to Campbell High School, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 8-15. Ka`u upset number one seed Hawai`i Preparatory Academy on Friday night but fell to the Pahoa Daggers in the finals on Saturday at Kamehameha High School Gym.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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  • 05/08/13--14:28: Wednesday May 8, 2013
  • Fees for using county Department of Parks & Recreation facilities, like Pahala Community Center shown here at last weekend's Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaulea where Lori Lei Shirakawa's Hula Studio danced,  could double, under a proposal that goest to public hearing. Photo by Julia Neal
    BEACH PARK PAVILIONS, COMMUNITY CENTERS, BALLPARK AND GYMNASIUM FEES would double under a measure proposed to the County Council by the county Department of Parks & Recreation. Swimming pool use would remain free of charge. The ballfields and gyms would remain free for non-profit athletics. The charge for commercial money making events would go to $400 a day for the ballfields and $1,000 a day for the gyms.
          A hearing on the issue will be held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 28 at the Aupuni Center in Hilo and at West Hawai`i Civic Center.

    A Big Island march against GMO's. Sen. Russell Ruderman sponsored a labeling bill in
    the state legislature and a ban on new GMOs on the Big Island is before the County Council.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    BANNING MOST GMO CROPS is a goal of County Council member Margaret Wille. Her bill will be heard in committee, with public testimony allowed at 9 a.m. in council chambers on Tuesday. Rainbow papaya, engineered to resist ringspot virus and other genetically modified organisms, already grown here would be exempt. The bill would also allow University of Hawai`i – Hilo and other institutions to continue GMO research. The bill would not affect GMO products shipped into the islands for sale, such as corn and soy. However, growing the non-exempt GMO plants on the island would draw a $1,000 fine, the legislation proposes. She said she wants to keep out the large biotech companies that grow seed corn and other mass

    KA`U GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS are encouraged to apply for the state Transformation Internship Program. The program provides students the opportunity to work alongside innovators within state government and gain hands-on experience in a wide range of areas.
         “TIP represents an investment in those who have likewise invested in themselves through higher learning,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “This public-private partnership offers a unique opportunity for college and university students to gain training and experience while taking part in our ongoing transformation of state government. The students emerge ready and empowered to take an active and leading role in shaping Hawai`i’s future, particularly as they begin their respective careers in an increasingly technological global marketplace.”
       
     TIP is open to students in a wide range of majors including business administration, management information systems, computer science, social sciences (research focus), political science, public administration, human resource development, communications, engineering and other related fields.


         The TIP summer 2013 session starts in June, with applications being accepted through June 8. Applicants must be currently enrolled with junior or senior status, maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, have the ability to work well in a team with a broad range of stakeholders (e.g. state employees, outside consultants and private organizations) and communicate effectively at multiple levels.
         Applications can be submitted online at www.dhrd.hawaii.gov.

    The family and members of the coffee cooperative of the late Mike Matsui, of Wood Valley
    presented his coffee at last weekend's Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaulea. Matsui was a
    businessman who helped encourage entrepreurship. Photo by Julia Neal
    FARMERS RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP comes to Pahala on Thursday, May 23 at Pahala Community Center from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Michael Holl will give and update for farmers and ranchers about taxes. The workshop is designed to help manage labor, financial and legal risks. Holl is a federally authorized tax practitioners and is experienced in resolving issues between taxpayers and the IRS. The workshop is set up to help farmers lower tax liabilities through understanding deductions, preparation and record keeping. Holl will discuss how employment laws and independent contractor requirements affect businesses and special provisions in the tax code for farm income averaging.

    VOLCANO RAIN FOREST RUNS, which raise money for Volcano Arts Center, are drawing hundreds of competitors to sign up for races on Saturday, Aug. 17. A Half Marathon, 10K and 5K are on the agenda for the roads through Volcano Village. The races start at 7 a.m. for the Half Marathon, 7:30 a.m. for the 10K and 7:45 a.m. for the 5K. Kids runs begin at 10 a.m.
          Keiki runs are free and include a 100-yard dash for one- to four-year-olds and a 200-yard dash for five- to seven-year-old children, both sponsored by Kilauea Lodge. Start and finish for all events are at Cooper Center on Wright Road.
          Artists of Volcano Art Center Gallery provide prizes to the overall winners in adult races and top two in the ten years of age divisions in all races. Entertainment, face painting, animal balloons, Health and Fitness booths, food booths and a silent auction will be held at Cooper Center finish line. Entertainment includes the Hiccup Circus.
          On Friday night, August 16, the great Rainforest Pasta Party will be open to the public as well as participants, raising money for the Friends Feeding Friends Program.
          To register or volunteer, see rainforestruns.com, email raceinfo@volcanoartcenter.org or call Sharron Faff, race director at 967-8240.

    Hunter education classes are available all year.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    HUNTERS EDUCATION CLASSES will be given at Na`alehu Community Center this Aug. 10 and 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only standby applications are being accepted as the classes are filling up. Other classes on the island will be at Kealakehe Intermediate School Cafeteria May 27, 28 and 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with only standby applications being accepted. Another session is set for June 17, 18 and 20 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., and space is available. Another will be held July 16, 17, and 18 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, which still has spaces, and at Kealakehe Intermediate School on Aug. 26, 27 and 28, with only standby registration accepted.
           See the entire schedule for the next year at dlnr.hawaii/gov/programs/huntered/classes.

    KA`U SUMMER FUN REGISTRATION for keiki who completed grades kindergarten to six continues today and tomorrow. In Ocean View, registration takes place from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Kahuku Park. Families can also register at their respective sites at Pahala Community Center and at Na`alehu Community Center between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
          The Summer Fun program runs from June 10 to July 19, Mondays through Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Pahala and Na`alehu and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Ocean View. Payment of $100 per child must be by cash, money order or certified check.

    THE NON-PROFIT FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK present their monthly Walk in the Park Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Usually offered on second Sundays, the program brings together members of FHVNP to share in the park’s trails.
    “For May only, we changed our walk to the second Saturday so as not to conflict with Mother’s Day,” said FHVNP education and outreach coordinator Elizabeth Fien.
         Led by Cheryl Gansecki, this month’s four-mile hike explores Kilauea Iki Crater. Kilauea Iki Trail begins on the crater's forested rim and descends 400 feet through the rain forest onto the crater floor. Hikers cross the still-steaming crater, pass the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu`u Pua`i cinder cone and ascend the far rim. Of interest on the hike are forest plants, birds, insects, the 1959 lava lake, steam vents and cinder and spatter cones.
         This hike, rated moderately difficult, traverses pahoehoe lava and forested trails. Participants should be prepared for the 4,000-foot elevation as well as for variable weather conditions, including sunny, windy, chilly, and/or rainy.
         FHVNP’s Saturday Walk in the Park is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the organization in order to attend. Annual memberships are $30 for individuals and $45 for families and come with a variety of benefits.
         Participants should bring a bag lunch for a rest stop along the walk. To register, contact FHVNP at 985-7373 or admin@fhvnp.org. For more information, visit www.fhvnp.org. Park entrance fees apply.

    TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE for Arts in Bloom, a Mother’s Day orchid sale and fundraising event this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Participants can purchase pupus, mimosas, champagne, orchids and native plants. The event features live music, giveaways, a Ni`aulani Rain Forest photo tour with local photographer Britten Traughber, a talk story with a local native fauna expert, tea education by JoAnn Aguirre and more. Tickets, $5 in advance and $8 at the door, are available at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the Ni`aulani Campus, the office of The Ka`u Calendar in Pahala, online at volcanoartcenter.org or by calling 967-8222.


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  • 05/09/13--13:17: Ka`u News Briefs May 9, 2013
  • Habitat for Humanity has built four homes in Ocean View and just received a grant from The Home Depot Foundation
    that will help build another one. Photo by Jim Skibby
    HABITAT FOR HUMANITY West Hawai`i will soon build a house for a veteran in Ocean View. To help out, Habitat has received at $5,000 Community Impact Grant from The Home Depot® Foundation. On May 18, Habitat will break ground for the new house for an Ocean View vet.
    Habitat for Humanity is looking for volunteers to help build a house for
    a veteran in Ocean View. Photo by Jim Skibby
          Habitat is recruiting volunteers for the home construction. “We built four homes in Ocean View and look forward to our next build – Our First Veteran Build! We need the support of the community – skilled volunteers, unskilled volunteers, churches, service groups and lunch sponsors – to make it a reality for our new partner family,” said community relations director Margo Takata. 
          Patrick Hurney, executive director of Habitat for Humanity West Hawai`i, said, “The Home Depot Foundation’s generous donation will help with upcoming repair work and new home construction for veterans. It is through these types of partnerships that we are able to assist our local veterans.”
          The Home Depot Foundation’s Community Impact Grants Program supports the work that local nonprofit veteran organizations are doing to improve the lives of veterans and their families. “The Home Depot Foundation is committed to ensuring that every veteran has a safe place to call home,” said Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation. “We are proud to work with Habitat for Humanity West Hawai`i in our efforts to give back to those men and women who have so bravely served our country.”
          To volunteer, email info@habitatwesthawaii.org or call 331-8010.

    Volcano House in 1947. Photo from NPS
    VOLCANO HOUSE HOTEL is expected to be fully open next month, according to a statement from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. It says that “soon guests will stroll through the lobby, where polished concrete floors of deep jade have been restored to their 1940s luster, and into the Grand Lounge. Flames from the original lava fireplace will warm the lobby and cast flickering light upon the imposing bronze of volcano goddess Pele, sculpted by Honolulu artist Marguerite Blassingame. A few more steps will reveal an expansive, comfortably appointed sitting room with spectacular views of Kilauea and fuming Halema`uma`u Crater beyond large picture glass windows.” 
          The park statement calls Volcano House, Hawai`i’s oldest – and newest hotel. It reviews the history:
          “While temporary shelters on Kilauea predate the 1824 grass hut built by Chiefess Kapi`olani and her entourage, it was in 1846 that Hilo resident Benjamin Pitman, Sr. built a grass house, and christened it ‘Volcano House.’ The name stuck, and the first substantial wooden structure to welcome guests at Kilauea was built in 1877. (Eventually, this one-story building was relocated, repurposed, and currently houses the Volcano Art Center). Famed writers Mark Twain, Isabella Bird and Robert Louis Stevenson were among guests in the 1877 building, as were King David Kalakaua and French microbiologist Louis Pasteur.
    Overlooking Halema`uma`u Crater, Volcano House as it appeared
     in February 1966. NPS photo by William Robenstein
          “In 1895, Greek-born George “Uncle George” Lycurgus acquired the Volcano House, and several structural evolutions ensued, including the construction of an ornate, two-story, Victorian-inspired building that served many distinguished guests. Visitors included President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 (the first U.S. president to visit Hawai`i), Amelia Earheart and Princess Victoria Ka`iulani,” says the history provided by the park service. 
          "In 1940, a fire from an oil burner destroyed the Victorian-style Volcano House. No lives were lost, but the entire hotel was a complete loss. Undaunted, Uncle George negotiated the construction of a new hotel with the park some 200 yards from its former site. In late 1941, the new Volcano House, designed by Maui-born architect Charles W. Dickey, was unveiled with great fanfare on the crater rim – and it is unveiled again in 2013 in the historic character of the 1940s. Uncle George’s name, flair for hospitality, and affinity toward volcano goddess Pele, will continue to define the character of Volcano House."
          The 33-room hotel is owned by the National Park Service and is managed under contract by Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC, who also manage Namakanipaio Campground and ten A-frame cabins.
          “While the views from Volcano House of the active volcano may be distracting, the careful observer will note the restoration of canec ceilings in the comfortable guest rooms, appointed with historic crown moldings. Prints by local artist Marian Berger of native birds in the Audubon style of the era adorn the walls. Original tiled hearths in three rooms were upgraded with electrical fireplaces,” says the park statement
          Outside, two new decks overlook Kilauea caldera. Indoors, guests can “have a seat at the lovingly restored original koa wood bar in Uncle George’s Lounge, where another bronze sculpture depicting Pele’s vengeance graces a historic fireplace.
          “If Uncle George were alive today,” says the statement from the park, “perhaps he’d marvel over the coincidental return of Pele to her home at Halema`uma`u Crater, which began to erupt again in 2008, and to the return of guests to historic Volcano House.” 

    BIG ISLAND SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNCIL is shutting down offices, and 20 employees around the island will lose their jobs. The organization has worked closely with the Hawai`i Paroling Authority and Drug Court to provide counseling to drug and alcohol offenders through its Therapeutic Living Program. However, it has lost about 60 percent of its funding, according to its CEO, Hannah Preston-Pita. 
          To raise money for programs, Kamehameha Schools Hawai`i Campus has offered a venue for a Recovery Day on Aug. 3 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Events include a strong-man competition, dance competition, a wellness fair and cooking demonstrations. Admission to Recovery Day is free.

    Image from Department of Health shows mostly good air quality with
    Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park experiencing SO2 in the
    Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups category.
    AIR QUALITY IMPROVED TODAY after several hours of bad air descended on Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Visitor Center and Volcano Art Center yesterday. It was the third day with SO2 levels reaching unhealthy levels, but for far less time yesterday than previous days. Jaggar Museum had good air all day, following periods of bad air on Tuesday. 

    HIKING OVER LAVA IN THE HOT SUN with volcanic emissions in the air can be deadly. Near Kalapana Gardens, a tourist, 57 years of age, from Victoria, British Columbia collapsed and died on Tuesday after a day-long hike. According to police reports, they were not carrying a cell phone and were somewhat lost on the lava. The victim’s companion left for help, and the man’s body was found by fire rescue crew aboard a helicopter.

    AN IDENTITY THEFT SCAM is in the radar of the Hawai`i Police Department, which is warning residents about emails. The fake messages warn recipients of suspicious activities concerning their accounts and ask readers to click on a link to verify accounts. On the link, the reader is asked for personal information, which, police warn, could be used for identity theft. According to a statement from police, legitimate banks and other financial institutions do not ask for personal information through email or phone.

    Emmett and Evan Enriques led Kamehameha School to victory over
    Kalaheo High School last night on O`ahu. They take on top-seeded
    Punahou tonight. Photo from Julie Enriques
    PUNALU`U RESIDENTS EVAN AND EMMETT ENRIQUES led Kamehameha-Hawai`i to pound Kalaheo High School on O`ahu last night in state Hawai`i Athletic Association Division I volleyball competition. Kamehameha won with scores of 25-22, 25-17 and 25-21 at the match held at McKinley High School. Evan scored 28 kills, and Emmett scored ten kills. Evan also came up with 16 digs. Kamehameha takes on Punahou, the top-seeded school in the state playoffs, at 7 p.m. tonight. The coach for Kamehameha is the two boys’ dad, Guy Enriques. 

    MAY DAY ON THE PAHALA SCHOOL CAMPUS will be held tomorrow with the elementary school celebration at 8:30 a.m. and the middle and high school starting at 10:45 a.m. Parents and families are invited to the school gym. During the elementary school celebration, each class will perform. During the middle and high school celebration, May Day Queen Casey Koi and King Keoki Pavao and court will dance and reign over the gathering. Winners of the middle school talent show will sing.

    VOLUNTEER TO PLANT NATIVE SEEDLINGS in the Kilauea section of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Friday, May 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The activity, sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, provides education on the park’s native forest restoration program. Volunteers must be 12 years of age or older and able to hike a mile over uneven terrain through brush on a moderate slope. Scrub soles of shoes before arrival to ensure dirt and invasive species are kept out. A crew of at least a dozen people is needed and must pre-register at forest@fhvnp.org or call 352-1402. 

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    The solar eclipse was seen in Hawai`i but not the rest of the U.S. yesterday afternoon. Photo by Lee Ann Higginbotham

    YESTERDAY’S SOLAR ECLIPSE was visible in the United States only from Hawai`i. It dimmed the light and created a ring of fire as the moon passed between Earth and sun. For the Big Island, the event occurred between 2:20 p.m. and 5:10 p.m.
          According to Bishop Museum scientists, viewers using safe filters saw 44 percent of the sun blocked by the moon. The “bite” that the moon cut out of the sun peaked before 4 p.m. and covered well over a third of the sun before the bite became smaller and smaller and disappeared.
          For the planet, the “path of anularity” began in western Australia and moved east across the central Pacific Ocean to include Hawai`i.

    The Marshall Islands are experiencing drought conditions.
    THE MARSHALL ISLANDS COMMUNITY of Ka`u has been hearing from relatives back home about a drought that has dried up banana, taro, breadfruit and other food crops and created a shortage of drinking water. The cabinet of Marshall Islands government yesterday declared a disaster area for the northern Marshall Islands and a state of emergency, with many families living on a gallon of water a day, according to Chief Secretary Castern Nemra. The lack of water has caused an increase of pink eye, flu, diarrhea and other diseases, he said. 
          Yesterday the Marshall Islands Journal reported that “people’s lives and health are in imminent danger. Many of the affected communities have less than 11 days of drinking water left and are already rationing households to one gallon of drinking water for six people per day.”
          “The Northern Marshall Islands is under incredible level of hardship, and reports indicate that conditions will get worse in the coming days,” the Chief Secretary said.
           Boats carrying food and water from the capital of Marjuro are reaching the affected islands. The population of the Marshall Islands is about 70,000. Ka`u is home to a Marshall Islands community which sends its children to school here. Some of the Marshall Islands were used by the United States government to test nuclear bombs more than 50 years ago, and the U.S. government continues to provides health and educational assistance to the Marshallese and their offspring in various parts of the U.S., where many of them relocated.

    Lorie Obra took the top five position in the recent Roasters Choice competition at SCAA.
    Her award-winning coffee has led Ka`u Coffee to become a favorite with chef Alan Wong,
    shown here, and other coffee enthusiasts worldwide.
    THE ROASTERS GUILD has announced the placement of the top ten coffees in the worldwide competition recently held at the Specialty Coffee Association of America convention in Boston. Ka`u Coffee and Ka`u toasters took two spots in the top ten. Here are the final results and placements of each roaster in the competition: First place went to Caitlin McCarthy-Garcia, Equator Coffees & Teas, San Rafael, CA. Second went to Winston Harrison, CREMA, of Nashville, TN. Third went to Steve Souphanhong, of Social Coffee & Tea Co., in Ontario, Canada. Fourth went to Jason Burkum, of Beansmith Coffee, in Omaha, NE. Fifth went to Lorie Obra, of Rusty’s Hawaiian, in Pahala. Sixth went to Adam Bad, of Deeper Roots Coffee, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Seventh went to Ed Strachan, of Single Origin Roasters, in Sydney, Australia. Eighth went to Allen Leibowitz, of Zingerman’s Coffee, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ninth went to Lee Segawa and roasting partner Kalikoweo Keolanui-Daniele, of Ka`u Coffee Mill; and tenth went to Shih Ru Wang, of Just Go Coffee, from Taiwan. 
          The coffees used by these roasters were from all over the world - Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Two coffees were from Hawai`i, and they were both grown and roasted in Ka`u.

    A SPECIAL MEETING OF HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL takes place Monday at Council chambers in Hilo. The meeting focuses on the budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. Ka`u residents can participate from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site. Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford urges residents to make use of the facility, which the Council is considering closing down due to lack of use.
          The agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    Kilauea Iki is the site of a hike tomorrow sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i
    Volcanoes National Park. NPS photo by Michael Szoenyi
    FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK present their monthly Walk in the Park tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The program brings together members of FHVNP to share in the park’s trails. 
          Cheryl Gansecki leads this four-mile, moderately difficult hike exploring Kilauea Iki Crater. Kilauea Iki Trail begins on the crater’s forested rim and descends through the rain forest onto the crater floor. Hikers cross the still-steaming crater, pass the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu`u Pua`i cinder cone and ascend the far rim. Of interest on the hike are forest plants, birds, insects, the 1959 lava lake, steam vents and cinder and spatter cones. 
          The walk is free for Friends members, and non-members are welcome to join the organization in order to attend.
         For more information and to register, call 985-7373 or email admin@fhvnp.org. Park entrance fees apply.

    TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE for Arts in Bloom, a Mother’s Day orchid sale and fundraising event taking place tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The event features live music, giveaways, a Ni`aulani Rain Forest photo tour with local photographer Britten Traughber, a talk story with a local native fauna expert and tea education by JoAnn Aguirre. Pupus, mimosas, champagne, orchids and native plants will be available for purchase. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door and are available at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, the Ni`aulani Campus, the office of The Ka`u Calendar in Pahala, online at volcanoartcenter.org or by calling 967-8222. 

    A FUNDRAISING DINNER FOR Ocean View’s Summer Fun program takes place tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kahuku Park. Chef Jason Lofland is planning a Cinco de Mayo theme. For $7, the meal includes homemade carnitas, rice and beans. Beverages are $1.
          Summer Fun registration will also be available. Coordinator Genny Galletes said that, thanks to fundraising efforts, the per-child fee to sign up for the program has been lowered from $100 to $20.
          To donate or volunteer, contact Genny at 217-5593 or gengalletes@gmail.com.

    `Ohi`a lehua at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes
    National Park. Photo from NPS
    PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT THE VITAL ROLE of the `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a tree and the lehua flower on Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Visitors traveling through the park area will be able to identify the many differences of this most prominent tree in the Kahuku Unit. Pack a lunch to enjoy during the program. 

    KA`U CELEBRATES MOTHER’S DAY on Sunday with many dining options. In Na`alehu, South Side Shaka’s restaurant offers a champagne breakfast and brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prime rib dinner starts at 5 p.m.
          Hana Hou Restaurant’s lunch options, available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., include Italian seafood in a red clam sauce or roast beef sirloin and shrimp. Dinner features prime rib or a seafood platter and includes a special dessert.
          Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has a buffet from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Menu items include prime rib au jus, blackened shrimp alfredo, macadamia nut-crusted fish, salad and potato bar, mashed potatoes, rice, green beans, pineapple-upside-down cake, ice cream bar and beverage. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests, and park entrance fees apply.

    EVAN ENRIQUES, of Punalu`u in Ka`u, led the Kamehameha Warriors with 16 kills in the state high school volleyball finals being held on O`ahu. However, it was not enough to take Kamehameha past number one seed Punahou, which beat the Warriors of the Big Island. Punahou took down Kamehameha-Hawai`i 25-14, 25-22, 25-19. Kamehameha takes on Maui’s Baldwin High School this evening at Waipahu High School on O`ahu for a fifth-place semifinal. Coach for the Warriors is Guy Enriques.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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    The Mauna Loa Observatory recorded the sobering climb of CO2 in the atmosphere beyond 400 ppm this week. Photo by Forrest Mims
    CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE reached the predicted 400 parts per million this week at the planet’s most respected observation point – Mauna Loa Volcano. Passing through the 400 ppm threshold which had been predicted by climate scientists was widely reported today, from the New York Times to National Geographic and business journals like Commodities Now.
          The measurement is seen by scientists as tied to climate change. The announcement was made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration yesterday. James Butler of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory said: “It's important mainly as a milestone that marks a steady progress of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."
         According to National Geographic, "The last time the concentration of Earth's main greenhouse gas reached this mark, horses and camels lived in the high Arctic. Seas were at least 30 feet higher—at a level that today would inundate major cities around the world."
         According to Commodities Now, “The threshold has become an important marker in U.N. climate change negotiations, tagged as a dangerous level by most climate scientists.

 For many years scientists have said that concentrations need to be kept below, or pushed back to, 350 ppm for countries to meet an international target of keeping the average temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) this century.

 Dozens of observing stations around the world monitor atmospheric carbon dioxide. 
    Image by James Wright of Skeptical Science
    But Mauna Loa, a volcanic mountain on the Big Island of Hawai`i, is regarded as the benchmark site. “Two instruments at Mauna Loa showed carbon dioxide at 400.03 ppm on Thursday. Certain arctic observing stations exceeded 400 ppm more than a year ago, and the global average of atmospheric carbon dioxide could break the 400 ppm barrier in the next year or so, Butler said by telephone from Boulder, Colorado.

 Whether or not that occurs, Earth's atmosphere hasn't had this much carbon dioxide in it for at least 800,000 years, and possibly for as long as 5 million years.
          “During the last 800,000 years, the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuated between 180 ppm and 280 ppm. With the widespread burning of coal and oil during the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of carbon dioxide rose to about 290 ppm by the end of the 19th century, Butler said.

 In the 20th century, the rate of increase accelerated, with levels between 370 and 380 ppm by the year 2000." An animated graph that shows the history of atmospheric carbon dioxide is online at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/history.html

    LOWERING DEPENDENCE ON OIL will result in lower costs for locally produced food, according to Richard Ha, owner of Hamakua Springs and a member of the Big Island Community Coalition, which advocates using local resources to lower electricity rates.
         “I first noticed our farm costs rising steadily back in 2005 and 2006,” Ha wrote recently on his blog hahaha.hamakusprings.com. “Rising costs affect every aspect of our farm, and it was very worrisome. Looking into it, I realized that the rise in price was due to the price of oil increasing.
    Richard Ha, right, says it is hard for farmers to compete with mainland
    food imports because high electric bills here make  ag too expensive.
    Photo from U.H. Hilo
         “Here in Hawai`i, we are being squeezed extra hard. More than 70 percent of our electricity comes from oil. Compare this to the U.S. mainland – Hawai`i’s primary competitor in many produce and food manufacturing categories – which relies on oil for only about two percent of its electricity generation.  “Farming is very energy intensive, and farmers’ refrigeration and water pumping costs have steadily gotten more expensive. Wholesalers’ and retailer refrigeration costs have gone up, too. This means food costs more. 
         “Oil prices have quadrupled in the last 10 years, and this has put the economy into a continuous recession.
         “The era of cheap oil is over. And the stuff produced in the future will be even more costly, setting a higher floor as time goes by. Unless we do something, it will squeeze us all even more.
         “What can we do on the Big Island to lower electricity costs, and the cost of locally produced food? Biomass and geothermal can do that today. There may be other choices maturing in the next few years, too. Producing electricity from geothermal here costs half as much as producing it from oil. And the Big Island will be over the hot spot that provides us with geothermal for 500,000 to a million years.”
     
    HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received more testimony from O`ahu residents regarding the proposed contract for Hawaiian Electric Light Co. to purchase biofuel from `Aina Koa Pono, which plans to grow feedstock in Ka`u to supply a refinery above Pahala. These O`ahu testifiers are concerned about a plan put forth by the state Consumer Advocate to increase electricity rates on O`ahu only, instead of having increase on both Hawai`i Island and O`ahu to support the `Aina Koa Pono project.
          State Rep. Cynthia Thielen, of Kailua on O`ahu, wrote: “As much as I believe in enhancing the renewable energy sector of Hawai`i’s economy, such as solar, wave, wind, geothermal and biofuels, I am worried that locking in a twenty-year contract with AKP for biofuel at roughly $200 per barrel is not a wise decision. I understand that a fixed price will lead to more investor confidence and thus increase much needed investment in this nascent but promising technology, but could we not tie the price of AKP’s biofuels to the price of oil on the global marketplace instead? I understand that this is the way it works in many European countries that rely on imported natural gas (from, say, Russia). Biofuel barrel prices would increase and decrease with crude oil prices, and they would still provide enough security for investment, as crude oil surely will not leave the global marketplace within the next twenty years.
    Rep. Cynthia Thielen, seen here  at an environmental restoration project, submitted testimony
    to the PUC regarding `Aina Koa Pon. Photo from Cynthia Thielen
         “Secondly, as much as I am aware that the island of Hawai`i has the highest electric utility rates among all the islands, we on O`ahu are not faring much better. I do not think that I can support any more electricity rate increases on my constituents, many of whom are already struggling to pay their electric bills as it is. If you contractually tied the price of biofuels to the price of crude oil in the marketplace, then electricity rates would not raise in any abnormal way (only in the way they already fluctuate with the price of oil).
         “I sincerely hope you will reconsider this proposed contract with AKP. I have researched their organization and their methods and am impressed with the scope and ambition of the proposed project. I think it could have tremendously beneficial impacts on the state of Hawai`i as a whole. Once again, my primary concern is with the locked-in contractual price of $200 per barrel, a price my already struggling constituents must pay.”
          Jim Wolery, of Kaneohe, wrote, “This is what I hope to be another of many, many requests from other O`ahu HECO customers to please, please, please not approve this scheme by Hawaiian Electric to saddle its O`ahu customers with yet another surcharge by contracting with AKP on Big Island to purchase biofuel at far above any reasonable or comparative cost with standard or available alternative production media - simply to be able to advertise their “Green Energy” efforts. It is unreasonable and unacceptable. If they want to prop up AKP so bad, or promote themselves as a ‘Green Energy’ company, let them pay whatever premium there happens to be over the going rates for standard fuel choices. The ‘Disconnection’ scheme was bad enough, this would be piling on more insult to that already egregious injury.” 
          Another resident, James Roller, wrote, “Let it be known that one HECO customer on O`ahu is not happy at the prospect of having to pay extra on my electric bill in order to subsidize a “not so sweet deal being pursued by HELCO and AKP. This deal would only benefit the residents of the Big Island (if it really in fact does). There are cheaper alternatives that what AKP is proposing on charging HELCO for their energy resources. Please take time to review this proposed contract before it is let and subject it to the common sense test. This is one HECO customer (and believe me there are many hundreds more) who do not believe the test is passable with the information or alternatives available to HELCO. Besides, my wife and I work hard at keeping our bill as low as possible. The prospect of paying for something that I am not directly responsible for using is somehow distasteful, and I am not so sure it would pass the constitutionality test not to mention the common sense test.” 
         Robert J. Manson, Jr., also of Kaheohe, wrote, “I strongly oppose the fact that O`ahu rate payers would essentially fund this project for Big Island rate payers. This is absurd. Why would it be even considered, especially without O`ahu rate payer input/comment? Please do not approve.
          Sue Nance testified, “As on O`ahu resident and HECO consumer, I am outraged at this payment cabal for Big Island power through AKP and HECO. We have not been openly and fully informed and seem, once again, to have little or no voice in decisions which cost us unfairly and unjustly. Continuous rate increases (while the CEO is the highest paid executive in Hawai`i) have been nasty enough. This proposal is outrageous and grossly unfair. Please pay some attention to the needs of O`ahu residents/consumers and stop thinking of us as ‘cash cows’ for some of the most absurd ideas to be imposed upon us.”

    KA`U CELEBRATES MOTHER’S DAY tomorrow with dining options. In Na`alehu, South Side Shaka’s restaurant offers a champagne breakfast and brunch buffet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Prime rib dinner starts at 5 p.m.
          Hana Hou Restaurant’s lunch options, available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., include Italian seafood in a red clam sauce or roast beef sirloin and shrimp. Dinner features prime rib or a seafood platter and includes a special dessert.
          Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has a buffet from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Menu items include prime rib au jus, blackened shrimp alfredo, macadamia nut-crusted fish, salad and potato bar, mashed potatoes, rice, green beans, pineapple-upside-down cake, ice cream bar and beverage. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests, and park entrance fees apply.

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    Fossilized footprints in the Ka`u Desert are the topic of discussion at After Dark in the Park Tuesday. Photo from NPS
    KAU’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD went on national television this morning asking for a new way to handle sexual assault accusations in the military. Gabbard, herself a member of the National Guard and a veteran of Middle East combat, talked about recent revelations that the number of accusations of rape and other sex crimes in the military is on the rise. She was interviewed by Candy Crowley on CNN’s State of the Union along with U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckwork, another National Guard member, veteran of Iraq, helicopter pilot and double amputee.
          “It is not enough to say it is unacceptable,” said Gabbard. The response to accusations of sexual assault in the military “has to be a victim-centered response that is safe, transparent and responsible.”
    Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Tammy Duckwork discussed sexual assault
    accusations in the military on CNN's State of the Union.
          Gabbard and Duckworth described sexual assault as a power issue, not a sex issue. With the military tradition of power and rank, it can be fixed, they said. 
          However, reporting sexual assaults has led to retaliation in the ranks. The atmosphere for women soldiers has been one of having to travel in buddy teams, not going out alone, even when a woman thinks she should be safe with her military colleagues. Gabbard said that sexual predators “seek out weak targets. I was not a weak target,” she noted, saying that she did not experience inappropriate sexual aggression during her time on duty.
          Both Gabbard and Duckworth said the Uniform Code of Military Justice has not been able to solve the problem. They called for independent investigators for such cases and a code that will prevent commanders from overturning the outcomes.
          The two also noted that almost half of the sexual assault victims are men. They said that such assaults on women and men are a betrayal to the unit, the military and the nation, not only the victim.

    AGRICULTURAL TOURISM is on the agenda for the Leeward Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at 9:30 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center. The initiator is the County Council, which wants to amend Chapter 25 of the Zoning Code to “clarify definitions, procedural guidelines and requirements, and standards related to agriculture tourism operations.” The rules for ag tourism have been debated at the County Council and its Planning Committee with testimony from the public for more than a year. County Council member Brenda Ford asked, “Will this bill result in new food crops growing on the island, or will this bill be for people who want to cash in and be part of the tourist industry?”
    Leeward Planning Commission meets at West Hawai`i Civic Center
    Thursday. Image from bigislandvideonews.com
          During hearings, neighbors of ag tourism activities talked about crowded roads, lack of parking and noise, along with such activities as loud music and parties that don’t have anything to do with agriculture.
          Ford pointed out that 15,000 visitors a year would average 40 people a day. People in rural areas “don’t want to be in an urban area with buses coming next door to our properties,” said Ford. “When you get to 30,000, that is 82 people a day.” Imagine 30- something a day vehicles coming to your neighbor’s property,” she said. “Urban traffic going in and out of a little private road,” in some cases, she said.
          “I am for ag tourism,” she said, but called for regulation.
          Previous discussions included keeping weekly or daily numbers of visitors going to ag tourism destinations and requiring a plan approval for locations with larger numbers.
          Planning director Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd said up to 30,000 visitors a year are allowed under current county ordinance. A plan approval with drainage study for new construction is required for operations with that many visitors expected.
          Leithead-Todd noted that farm stands are separate issues under county and state law and are permitted use – they are not ag tourism, she said.

    AN INNOVATIVE TRAINING PROGRAM by the U.S. Department of Defense will bring 75 military reservists to Ka`u June 4 - 12 to provide free medical care in clinics open to the public.
          Tropic Care 2013 will run two clinics, at Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School and Ocean View Community Center. Clinics will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing early at 12 p.m. on the final day, June 12.
          Health care services that will be provided free of charge include physical exams, dentistry, optometry (exams and glasses), medication review and provision of some medication, and nutrition education. Patients will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis and are advised that there may be long wait times.
    Tropic Care, which visited Kaua`i last year, comes to Ka`u next month.
    Image from youtube
          “This is an opportunity to bring needed medical, dental and vision services to the district of Ka`u,” said Aaron Ueno, Hawai`i District health officer with the state Department of Health. “These services are open to the entire island, and we are hoping to do this again in the future with community support.” 
          Tropic Care 2013 is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and the state Hawai`i District Health Office, supported by the County of Hawai`i and Ka`u Rural Health Community Association. It is an exercise of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program, which challenges reservists to plan and implement rapid mobilizations to distant and unfamiliar areas.
          “We thank the Department of Defense and all the reservists for coming to Hawai`i Island and reaching out to our residents,” said Karen Teshima, executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This innovative program will benefit everyone involved and will further our goal of keeping our community safe and healthy.”
          Other community partners collaborating to bring this service to Ka`u are the Hawai`i Department of Education, Ocean View Family Health Center, Hui Malama Ola Na `Oiwi, Bay Clinic, Hawai`i Island Cardiovascular, Hawai`i Island Community Lung Assessment Science Studies, Ocean View Community Association, Kona Community Hospital, Hawai`i Police Department, Hawai`i National Guard’s Youth Challenge Academy, Ka`u Hospital, Pacific Quest and the Veteran’s Administration.
          For more information on Tropic Care 2013 or to request special assistance or an auxiliary aid seven days prior to the event, call (808) 974-6035 or email Martha Yamada of the Public Health Nursing Section at martha.yamada@doh.hawaii.gov.

    KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO PARTICIPATE in this week’s county government meetings from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site, which Hawai`i County Council is considering closing down due to lack of use. A special meeting of the Council, focusing on the budget for the next fiscal, takes place tomorrow at 8 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo. The Council’s regular meeting begins Wednesday at 9 a.m., also in Hilo.
          Agendas are available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND sponsors more cleanup activities this month. 
          Anchialine pool cleanups take place this Tuesday and Wednesday. The group seeks volunteers to help remove non-native plant species (Seashore paspalum) and excess sediment from the bottom of the northernmost Ho`onoua anchialine pool. Participants will also monitor water quality, shrimp abundance, and survey for `ope`ape`a (Hawaiian hoary bats).
          Saturday, May 25 marks the fourth annual Manuka Natural Area Reserve coastal cleanup being co-hosted by Hawai`i Wildlife Fund and DLNR’s Natural Area Reserve staff. Volunteers meet at Manuka State Park (mauka of highway) for caravanning to cleanup. This cleanup requires at least a mile of hiking. Camping is an option at Kiolaka`a Ranger’s cabin Saturday evening after the cleanup. Space is very limited, and coordinator Megan Lamson suggests signing up early. For more information or to RSVP, contact her at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

    HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY FOUNDER Thomas Jaggar comes to life Tuesday when Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger presents the living history program A Walk into the Past. Programs begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants then walk across the road to the Whitney Vault, an underground room containing original equipment used by Jaggar in his research on Hawai`i’s volcanoes.

    Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura
    WHOSE FOOTPRINTS ARE THESE REALLY? is the question discussed at After Dark in the Park this Tuesday. Research suggests the story behind the fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert may be more complex than originally thought. Footprints found in desert ash layers were believed to have been created in 1790 by the army of the Hawaiian Chief Keoua on their way back from battle. While in the area, Kilauea erupted, sending suffocating ash down on one group. Others made it out alive, leaving their footprints in the then-wet ash. The ash dried, forever memorializing this event – or did it? Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura examines geologic evidence that may indicate much more prehistoric activity in the area. The program begins at 7 p.m. 
at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger, portraying Thomas Jaggar, shows the scientist's equipment in the Whitney Vault
    during A Walk into the Past tomorrow and every other Tuesday. Photo from KDEN
    A STAFF MEMBER FROM U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD’S office will visit Pahala Senior Center on the second Wednesday of every month from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as part of Gabbard’s districtwide constituent outreach program. The program, called Tulsi in Your Town, will allow her local staff members in every county to assist with casework and other issues.
    Tulsi Gabbard
          “As a member of Congress, it is my priority to be accessible and available to people in every corner of Hawai`i,” Gabbard said. “My constituent outreach plan will maximize my team members in every county. While my office is open and available on a daily basis, my team and I want to be proactive and let people know we are always here to help. I encourage people to visit with my staff during these community outreach days to get to know how we can be of assistance, and so they may share their thoughts and opinions about how we can best serve Hawai`i and our country.”
          For more information, contact Blaise De Lima at 
blaise.delima@mail.house.gov or 
(808) 987-5698.

    AFTER TAKING A SIX-WEEK TRAINING PROGRAM for eight-week summer internships in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, students participating in the park’s Youth Ranger Internship Program took part in graduation ceremonies last week at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. They included students from Ka`u, Pahoa and Kea`au high schools and Hawai`i Academy of Arts and Science.
    Kupono McDaniel, who won the
    recent King Kalakaua look-alike
    contest, oversees HVNP's summer
    internship program.
          The school internship program began in 2010 with Ka`u High. Training started after visiting professor Joan Rubin and The Ka`u Calendar publisher Julia Neal worked on a grant with Ka`u High School principal Sharon Beck and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park staff. Edmund C. Olson provided classroom space and has been providing a van for transportation each year. The initial $60,000 grant grew last year to $320,000. After federal funding was cut this year, community groups and individuals helped make up the difference. Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park was able to provide over $90,000 after receiving grants from the Cooke Foundation, Ltd, the Victoria S. and Bradley L. Geist Foundation and Kamehameha Schools’ Aima Education Program. 
          Hawai`i Pacific Park Association also provided funding.
          “We are so grateful to our community for embracing this life-changing program,” said park ranger Kupono McDaniel. “The Youth Ranger Internship Program is designed to empower local students to affect change in the world and to expose them to meaningful career options. The skills they learn will make them better candidates for any career they choose to pursue.”
          Elizabeth Fien, education and outreach coordinator for the Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, said the class included “a lovely group of Ka`u kids.” She also said that McDaniel, who has coordinated the program since its inception, “is amazing to work with” and “knows how to connect” with the youth. Fien, who also arranges forest restoration events in the park, said, “We need to grow children, too.” She said she sees the program as a way to get young people involved in stewardship or the environment.
          This summer, many of the students will have an opportunity to work in the parks divisions of interpretation, natural resources, cultural resources, maintenance, protection and administration.

    This koa at Kona Hema, managed by The Nature Conservancy, was placed on
    the National Register of Big Trees in 2012. Photo from American Forests
    OF THE SIX NEW HAWAIIAN TREES CROWNED as national champions in the American Forests’ Big Tree Program, five are on Hawai`i Island. 
          The Big Tree Program is a nationwide competition to find the largest trees in the United States that are recognized as “champions” of their species.
          According to American Forests, the goal of the Big Tree Program is “to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment.”
          American Forests’ newly released spring 2013 National Register of Big Trees includes about 40 new national champion trees, with a total of 780 national champions.
          In 2012, Hawai`i had six champions, including a koa, two coconuts, an a`ali`i, a manele, and a hau.
          With the six new champions, Hawai`i is now home to a total of 10 nationally recognized champion trees.
           Hawai`i Island’s five new champion trees are a wiliwili (Eryrthrina sandwicensis) at Pu`u Lani Ranch and, at Pu`u Wa`awa`a Forest Reserve, a kolea (Myrsine lessertiana), an olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis), a papalakepau (Pisonia brunoniana) and a mamane (Sophora chrysophylla).
          “The Big Tree Program has really grown in Hawai`i over the past few years, and we’re proud that some of our native trees are being recognized on a national level,” said Sheri Mann, forestry program manager at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “These trees help highlight the beauty and uniqueness of Hawaiian ecosystems, as well as the importance of preserving our native forests.”
          New nominations for champion trees are being accepted until a fall deadline yet to be determined. All nominations must include the tree’s exact location and three measurements: trunk circumference (inches), height (feet), and average crown spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score.
          Send nominations and questions relating to the Hawai`i Big Tree Program to Hannah Bergemann, 
1151 Punchbowl St., Room 325 or contact her at 808-587-0164 or 
Hannah.A.Bergemann@hawaii.gov.
          For more information about the Hawai`i Big Tree Program, see hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/forestrr/big-trees.

    A WALK INTO THE PAST, the living history program that brings Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar to life, takes place tomorrow at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants meet at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, then walk across the road to the Whitney Vault, an underground room containing original equipment used by Jaggar in his research on Hawai`i’s volcanoes.

     Fossilized footprints in the Ka`u Desert are the topic at tomorrow's
    After Dark in the Park. Photo from NPS
    AT TOMORROW’S AFTER DARK IN THE PARK program, Dr. Jadelyn Moniz-Nakamura discusses fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert. Research suggests the story behind the fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert may be more complex than originally thought. Footprints found in desert ash layers were believed to have been created in 1790 by the army of the Hawaiian Chief Keoua on their way back from battle. While in the area, Kilauea erupted, sending suffocating ash down on one group. Others made it out alive, leaving their footprints in the then-wet ash. The ash dried, forever memorializing this event – or did it? 
          The program begins at 7 p.m. 
at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs.

    KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO PARTICIPATE in Wednesday’s County Council meeting from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site, which Hawai`i County Council is considering closing down due to lack of use. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo.
          Agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    HAWA`I ISLAND NETWORK OF ARTISTS holds a wrap-up meeting Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. This is a final opportunity to learn about VAC’s HINA Project and be included in this research study. Partially funded by Hawai`i County, the project aims to encourage and support a greater awareness of Hawai`i Island artists and the economic impact of this unrecognized creative workforce. See more at www.HINArtists.org

    THE NEXT KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 16 at 4 p.m. at the Royal Hawaiian Orchards Field Office. The organization is restoring agricultural water from the old plantation system. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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