Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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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.


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