Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016

A workshop Saturday focuses on edible landscaping. See more below. Photo from Volcano Art Center
A STATE INVESTMENT PROGRAM has successfully jumpstarted Hawai`i’s business startup environment. According to a new report by the Economic Research Organization at University of Hawai`i, the HI Growth Initiative is creating jobs and leveraging state dollars to encourage private investment. Hawai`i Strategic Development Corporation, an agency of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, runs the state equity investment program created to promote Hawai`i’s innovation sector and mobilize private capital for local entrepreneurs running high growth businesses.
      UHERO economists surveyed nearly 50 businesses and found that the HI Growth Initiative is leading to nearly $12 in private investment for each dollar invested by the state. The companies surveyed also reported total in-state expenditures of approximately $10.8 million and generated more than 150 Hawai`i-based jobs.
      “We need to continue to support innovation to create an environment for entrepreneurs to grow and succeed,” DBEDT Director Luis Salaveria said. “The state’s overall growth strategy focuses on investing in infrastructure, attracting capital and developing talent, which will position Hawai`i to become an innovation and knowledge-based economy.”
      From its start four years ago, Hawai`i’s innovation environment today includes six startup accelerators, six Hawai`i-based venture capital funds, gigabit-enabled co-working spaces, business incubators, research commercialization programs and events year-round aimed at developing entrepreneurs.
      Entrepreneurial programs have been launched across multiple platforms: software/tech, film/creative media, clean energy, value-added agriculture and university research. The innovation sector makes up about seven percent of total jobs in Hawai`i, according to a 2014 report from Hawai`i Business Roundtable.
      Launched by HSDC in 2011 with a $13 million grant from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, the HI Growth Initiative currently provides $20 million investment capital, which has in turn generated more than $60 million in additional funding.
      The report may be viewed at hsdc.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Evolution_HIGrowth_Initiative.pdf.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Mark Glick Photo from DBEDT
HAWAI`I ENERGY OFFICE IS AGAINST the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. and Florida-based NextEra Energy, Duane Shimogawa reported in Pacific Business News.
      Administrator Mark Glick told Shimogawa that his office, part of the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, expressed many concerns that have not been addressed. “We think they are important,” Glick said. “There needs to be symmetry of timing of benefits that would come to ratepayers, energy consumers and shareholders whose benefits would be upfront and substantial.”
      NextEra spokesman Rob Gould told Shimogawa, “Hawai`i has set aggressive energy goals that are globally unprecedented, and as recent events have shown, achieving them will not be easy. Mr. Glick himself has acknowledged in his testimony before the Public Utilities Commission that NextEra Energy is a clean energy leader with a lot to offer Hawai`i. Moreover, through our 95 commitments, we have made a good faith effort to meet all the reasonable concerns of interested parties, including those of DBEDT and other state agencies.”
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A small earthquake, shown in red, struck
Ka`u this morning. Map from USGS/HVO
AN EARTHQUAKE OCCURRED in the mountains 4.2 miles northwest of Pahala this morning. The magnitude-2.5 micro-quake shook buildings in Pahala at 9:28 a.m. It struck at depth of 24.5 miles, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO denounced Republican plans to keep the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat vacant until after a new president is elected.
      “I am appalled that Republicans have politicized the passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and the process to confirm his replacement,” Hirono said. “The fact of the matter is that the Supreme Court cannot go with a vacancy for nearly a year. A number of consequential rulings, covering topics such as marriage equality, health care reform and campaign finance were recently decided 5-4. And this year, the Court is grappling with cases that impact the future of America’s labor unions, our immigration system, women’s reproductive rights and more is not the time to leave the Court in a position to be gridlocked.
      “The Constitution is clear on what must be done. The President will nominate a qualified candidate, and the Senate must go forward and fulfill our Constitutional duty to advise and consent on the President’s nominee. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a justice cannot be nominated and confirmed in an election year. The Majority Leader has said time and time again that his goal is to restore regular order in the Senate, which in this case, would mean the swift consideration of a Supreme Court nominee. The Republican vow to block any Supreme Court nominee has once again proven that they are obstructionists and the party of ‘no.’”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Image from C-Span
IN RECOGNITION OF NATIONAL Invasive Species Awareness Week, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the House Floor today to highlight the harmful impacts of invasive species, including coffee berry borers and macadamia felted coccids that are damaging Ka`u crops. Gabbard encouraged lawmakers to co-sponsor and pass the Areawide Integrated Pest Management Act, legislation that she introduced in November 2015 to support long-term and sustainable solutions to fight invasive species. 
      “In my home state of Hawai`i, the coffee berry borer, coconut rhinoceros beetle, macadamia nut felted coccid and others have cost our local economy millions and threaten our unique ecosystem, our agriculture and waterways, as well as our food supply and public health,” Gabbard said. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to combat the more than 4,300 invasive species that are present in Hawai`i and across the country. That’s why I introduced the Areawide Integrated Pest Management Act, which would bring local stakeholders together with researchers and other key players in order to find sustainable, cost effective and comprehensive solutions that will better help all of us to manage and prevent the spread of these harmful pests and invasive species.”
      The AIPM Program Act of 2015 maximizes efficient use of resources on AIPM projects when addressing pest management; protects health and safety of humans and the environment through biocontrol applications; ensures AIPM projects are largely influenced by farmers, ranchers and pest management experts most familiar with local needs with the assistance of federal agencies, universities, and private individuals important for specific projects; and ensures ongoing positive AIPM project outcomes by requiring a comprehensive business plan showing how the project will continue once federal funding ends.
      The legislation is endorsed by the Entomological Society of America, National Farmers Union, Hawai`i Farmers Union United and the Weed Science Society of America.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Workshop participants receive a free
copy of Ho`omalu Ka`u's new booklet.
DISCOVERY HARBOUR COMMUNITY HALL hosts a Native Dryland Plants Workshop Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Ho`omalu Ka`u’s second workshop focuses on propagation techniques and tips on landscaping with native plants.
      Register for the free workshop at 929-8526 or hoomalukau@gmail.com.

POTTERY THROWING IS ON DISPLAY tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Erik Wold and Emily Herb center and throw ceramic vessels on a ceramics wheel.
      The demonstration is in conjunction with Sightlines, the gallery’s current exhibition of works by members of Volcano Village Artists Hui.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES are still available for Saturday’s Ocean Sanctuary Count of humpback whales, but registration closes soon. From 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at various locations, viewers count whale adults and calves and record their behavior. This is the second of three monthly humpback whale counts on last Saturdays through March. 

EDIBLE LANDSCAPING FOR BACKYARDS & Beyond is the topic Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Zach Mermel teaches fundamental techniques. Fees are $40, or $35, for VAC members plus $15 supply fee. Register at 967-8222.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html.

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