Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016

President Obama's 2017 budget provides funds for Ala Kahakai Historic Trail land acquisition. See more below. Photo by Julia Neal
BILLS OF INTEREST TO RURAL KA`U residents receive hearings at the state Legislature this week.
      SB2350 would restrict any subdivision of parcels of agricultural land 100 acres or greater in size. It would require owners to make and implement farm plans prior to construction of any homes on the resulting legal lots of record.
A bill at the state Legislature calls for study of Korean Natural
Farming methods to control invasive species such as
the coffee berry borer.
      “Hawai`i State Constitution makes the conservation and protection of Hawai`i’s agricultural lands a priority,” the bills states. “It charges the state to ‘promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.’ This priority is reflected in the state plan as well, which declares self-sufficiency, social and economic mobility, and community well-being as the values guiding the state plan. Securing agricultural lands and promoting agriculture are essential to meet these goals. …
      “Agricultural lands must be protected from such subdivision in order to prevent the fractionalization of agricultural parcels and promote the conservation of large agricultural tracts.”
      SB2746 and HB2718 support Korean Natural Farming practices. The bills call for establishment within the Department of Agriculture of a Korean Natural Farming pilot program to explore the feasibility of using the techniques to combat various agricultural pests in Hawai`i, including the little fire ant, coffee berry borer, macadamia felted coccid, macadamia fungus, `ohi`a wilt, banana bungee, coqui frogs and fire weed. Korean natural farming is a technique that involves collecting and culturing indigenous microorganisms and reintroducing them into an agroecosystem.
      SB2659 calls for Hawai`i Department of Agriculture to issue hemp grow permits. It would establish an industrial hemp pilot program to allow cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawai`i through limited activities by the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research. It appropriates funds for Department of Agriculture staff to assist in registration of industrial hemp licensees.
      Testimony can be submitted on these and other bills at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

George Szigeti
HAWAI`I TOURISM AUTHORITY is informing travelers about the state of emergency declared by Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi on Feb. 8 regarding the dengue fever outbreak.
      “Travelers should not be alarmed by the County of Hawai`i’s state of emergency declaration for Hawai`i Island or allow this decision to alter their travel plans to any of the Hawaiian Islands,” HTA President and CEO George Szigeti said. “This declaration is a good strategic move by the County of Hawai`i, as it will provide government officials with additional funding and resources to eliminate dengue fever from Hawai`i Island.
      “As of today, 252 people on Hawai`i Island have become ill by dengue fever over the past five months, of which 24 have been visitors. The rate of confirmed cases has been declining since January and, currently, only one case is considered infectious. Moreover, most of the dengue fever cases on Hawai`i Island have been confined to the rural southwestern region. No locally acquired cases of dengue fever have been found on any other island of Hawai`i.
      “It’s important to note that no health organization has advised against traveling to the Hawaiian Islands at any time since the outbreak of dengue fever began on Hawai`i Island. Travelers should also take note that Hawai`i Gov. David Ige has chosen not to issue a statewide emergency proclamation since none of the conditions for doing so have been realized.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono
U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO PRAISED President Obama’s inclusion of a number of Hawai`i priorities in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget, released yesterday.
      “The economic and social progress that our country has made since President Obama took office in 2009 is a testament to the Administration’s work and the resilience of the American people,” Hirono said. “The President’s final budget continues to fund priorities that support middle class families and small businesses, and charts a path forward to face challenges that lie ahead,” Hirono said. “The budget demonstrates that Hawai`i continues to play a key role in keeping our country safe, supporting research and development, and protecting our environment and natural resources. I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to see these programs fully funded.”
      For education, the budget includes $33.97 million for Native Hawaiian Education Act programs; $350 million for Preschool Development Grants; $28.8 million for Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions in Higher Education; $8.3 million to fund the Asian-American and Native American-Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions program; $30 million for Compact Impact funding, which Hawai`i used in 2015 to provide educational and educational-related services for Compact of Free Association migrants; $800 million for Title III English Language Acquisition Formula Grants, which states use to fund English Language Learners programs; protecting and strengthening the Pell Grant program, consistent with Hirono’s proposals to allow students to use Pell Grants on a year-round basis and index Pell Grant awards to inflation in the future to help families keep up with rising college costs.
      Obama budgeted more than $32 million for Hawai`i’s Island Forests at Risk landscape proposal, including $12 million for Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. An additional $5 million is provided for Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail land acquisition under the National Trails Systems Collaborative Landscape.
      Support in the fight against Rapid `Ohi`a Death includes studies by U.S. Geological Survey to predict areas that may be at risk of further invasion. USGS will also develop genetic assays to quantify fungal infection in wood, soil, potential insect vectors and other relevant environmental samples and to rapidly confirm presence of the fungus in the field.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz
U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, commended the Obama Administration’s proposal of $1.8 billion to fight the Zika virus. 
      “I’m pleased that the administration is aggressively responding to the Zika outbreaks and is working to protect Americans from this devastating virus,” Schatz said. “We should quickly approve these funds, which will give our communities, states, and health professionals at home and around the world the resources needed to address Zika.”
      The president’s proposal will go toward expanding mosquito control, speeding up research and testing of vaccines and new diagnostics, and funding education and outreach to health care providers and women who are or may become pregnant, among other activities.
      Last week, Schatz joined 45 Senate Democrats and sent a letter to President Obama urging a coordinated interagency response plan to address the spread of the Zika virus both at home and abroad. The letter called for the president to take a number of new actions, including taking the Zika virus into consideration in his Fiscal Year 2017 budget request.
      Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, has been spreading throughout the Americas and has been linked with neurological ailments which can cause paralysis and devastating birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control have issued its highest alert level for Zika, while the World Health Organization has declared it a global health emergency.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Tutu & Me teaching assistants Janessa Jara and Tiana Pascubillo
and lead teacher Tori Kaeo are raising funds
for the program this month.
TUTU & ME TRAVELING PRESCHOOL is raising funds by selling Punalu`u Cinnamon Bread. Tickets are on sale now through Monday, Feb. 22 for $7 per loaf, and quantities are limited. Delivery date is Friday, March 4 in front of Na`alehu Ace Hardware from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
      To purchase tickets, call 929-8571 or stop by Na`alehu Community Center on Mondays and Wednesdays or Pahala Community Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IMUA KA`U COMMUNITY Outreach Team presents the Train the Trainer Series with Hannah Preston Pita, the CEO of Big Island Substance Abuse Council, starting in February and continuing through August. The first workshop will be Friday, Feb. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center and will focus on the subject of mental health. Donations will be accepted for class attendance, and coffee and snacks provided. 
      To register, email Pamella.Deniz@bisac.com with IMUA KA`U in the subject line. For questions, call Elizabeth Murph at 961-7051.

VALENTINE’S WEEKEND HUKILAU begins Friday and continues through Sunday at Whittington Beach Park. Handijam presents this blanket and toy drive featuring Buddy Cage, of New Riders of the Purple Sage. $15 suggested donation; veterans free. 
      Call 917-561-4800.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 12th annual fundraiser is takes place Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Tickets are $55 for VAC members; $65 for nonmembers.
      See volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.

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