Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016

Spaghetti dinner fundraisers for Ka`u Hospital are tradition in Ka`u. Another one is set for Feb. 23. See more below. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL’S Environmental Management Committee put a bill that would ban styrofoam food containers on the back burner yesterday. Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that the committee voted 6-1 to have the Environmental Management Commission review the measure before considering it.
Punalu`u Bake Shop owner Derek Kurisu, at right, testified
against a bill that would ban styrofoam containers.
Photo by Julia Neal
      According to Cook Lauer, testifiers supporting the bill included students and scientists concerned about styrofoam’s harmful effects on animals that ingest broken pieces of it.
      Megan Lamson, Hawai`i Wildlife Fund’s Hawai`i Island program director and organizer of Ka`u Coast Cleanups, testified that “plastic pollution and marine debris are a very serious and global problem, but they are people problems and can be resolved by the steadfast commitment of people.”
      Business owners who use polystyrene containers testified against the measure. Cook Lauer quoted Derek Kurisu, owner of Punalu`u Bake Shop, executive vice president of KTA Super Stores and chair of Hawai`i Food Industry: “Supermarkets and take-out restaurants are dependent on polystyrene for plate lunches and polystyrene meat trays. We tried paper or recyclable trays in our deli, but it doesn’t work like polystyrene.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

I OLA NA `AINA MOMONA NONPROFIT hosted a discussion in Honolulu yesterday regarding Ka`u coffee farmers’ land security. Attendancing were Ka`u’s state Reps. Richard Creagan and Richard Onishi, Department of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright, Bishop Estates’ Ka`u Land Manager Kama Dancil, Kohala Center Rural Cooperative Business Development Specialist Teresa Young, Trust for Public Land Project Manager Stephen Rafferty and Native Lands Project Manager Laura Kaakua, IONAM President Malian Lahey and Ka`u community members Manuel Marques, a Ka`u Coffee farmer, and John Replogle, as a private citizen. State Sen. Russell Ruderman hosted the meeting.
Ka`u Coffee growers' land security was the topic of a meeting
in Honolulu yesterday. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
      Ka`u Coffee farmers have created their industry largely on former sugar plantation lands, which have been sold several times and now belong to Resource Land Holdings, of Colorado. The coffee lands at Pear Tree and Moa`ula were set up by a former owner to be subdivided into estates. Farmers said they fear such estates would be beyond their financial means and late last year voted to ask the state to acquire and help make their farmland into an agricultural park with long-term leases. The farmers are now operating under 15-year leases with RLH that allow RLH to withdraw house sites from each coffee farm.
      According to Lahey, it was reported at yesterday’s meeting that Ka`u Coffee Growers’ Cooperative voted earlier to support acquisition of the Moa`ula coffee lands by the state. According to Lahey, while Reps. Onishi and Creagan both expressed support for the farmers to own the land, financial gains from the coffee farms probably would need to increase before large mortgages could be sustainable for a majority of farmers.
      Lahey said consensus at the meeting was that the cooperative should again express its support to state legislators for the Moa`ula coffee lands to become a state agriculture park. The legislators would introduce an acquisition bill that would likely enjoy widespread support, she said. The state would negotiate with Resource Land Holdings, owners of the properties.
      Last year, the co-op sent a letter to legislators stating, “There is some interest within the state Department of Agriculture in acquiring an approximate 500 acres of this property and possibly providing the coffee farmers with 35-year leases and options to renew at farmable rates. This would eliminate the risk of the land being subdivided and sold off in the real estate market, as well as open up the possibility of more favorable leases for our farming community.”
      Lahey said Enright cautioned yesterday that the process is only in the beginning stages and that the farmers must make it a priority to see that the bill be approved by the Legislature.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Gov. David Ige
GOV. DAVID IGE JOINED with a bipartisan group of 17 governors to announce the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future, a joint commitment to take action to promote clean energy, clean transportation choices and a modern electrical grid.
      The Accord provides participating governors representing 127 million Americans with a platform through which their states will collaborate, learn from one another and leverage partnerships in energy planning and policymaking.
      “Hawai`i is the most oil-dependent state in the nation, and we are committed to reaching 100 percent renewable energy use in the electricity sector by the year 2045,” Ige said. “This accord allows us to share information about our clean energy transformation with other states and to collaborate with them on issues that are important to all of us, like strengthening energy security, reducing carbon emissions and promoting smart growth.”
      Signatories commit that their states will continue to diversify energy generation and expand clean energy sources, modernize energy infrastructure and encourage clean transportation options. The seventeen participating governors represent states that vary considerably in their energy mix and policy portfolios. However, these governors have committed to working together to make transformational policy changes to secure a stronger energy future for their states and the nation.
      Senior advisors to participating governors will convene shortly to discuss initial steps to pursue their shared priorities and commitments contained in the Accord.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Brian Schatz
SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ DISAPPROVES of Republicans’ plans to thwart any nomination by President Obama to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died Saturday.
      “Sen. Mitch McConnell’s impulsive and reckless threat to automatically reject any Supreme Court nominee advanced by President Obama undermines our democracy and underscores that Senate Republicans refuse to responsibly govern,” Schatz said. “President Obama has the constitutional obligation to fill the Supreme Court vacancy, allowing the Court to continue to effectively function as the third branch of government.
      “After creating chaos in the legislative branch for years, the GOP is now attempting to spread their dysfunction to the highest court in the land. Republicans are now brazenly threatening to destabilize the judiciary by leaving it without a ninth justice for at least two Court terms. They should stop playing political games with the judicial nomination process and honor their constitutional responsibility to provide a prompt and fair hearing to President Obama’s nominee.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A FUNDRAISER FOR KA`U HOSPITAL is coming up 10 days from today, on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. A spaghetti dinner, silent auction, bake and craft sale, entertainment and much more will be offered. 
      Funds raised will be used to purchase several items: display case – $200; medication station to be built around the new Pyxis system, an automated medication dispensing system that supports decentralized medication management with various features for safety and efficiency – $450; signage for display on Hwy 11 indicating what services are available at the hospital – $1,200; new chairs for the clinic staff – $1,000; additional computer work station, including computer, two monitors and a printer – $1,500; new laptop computer– $1,500; kitchen range for Dietary Department – $8,000; and van or SUV for transporting patients to medical appointments – $35,000.
      Cash donations are now being accepted toward the goal of $48,850. Mail to Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation, PO Box 773, Pahala, HI 96777.
      For more information, call Ursula D’Angelo at 896-2624.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u High students can enter a contest in which winners' art
is displayed at the U.S. Capitol.
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL ARTISTS have until this Tuesday, Feb. 23 to enter the 2016 Kaha Ki`i Congressional Art Competition hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives. The competition is open to all high school students in Hawai`i’s Second Congressional District.
      The overall winner of the district’s competition will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol, along with winning artwork from other districts around the nation.
      Artworks entered in the contest may be up to 28 inches by 28 inches, including the frame, and may be up to four inches in depth. Artwork may be paintings, drawings, two-dimensional collage, prints, mixed media, computer-generated and photography.
      Interested applicants can obtain complete details regarding the competition at 1.usa.gov/1LMuKxu.

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