Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Saturday, June 18, 2016

Summer is nesting season for green and Hawksbill sea turtles. The Ka`u Coast is one of Hawai`i's primary
nesting grounds. See more below. Photo from NPS 
CAN HAWAI`I COUNTIES REGULATE GMO’S? That’s the question a federal appeals court is considering, reported Anthony Quintano, of Civil Beat. He attended a hearing on Wednesday in Honolulu where three California-based judges heard arguments on cases from Hawai`i, Maui and Kaua`i Counties. All three passed laws limiting genetically modified crops.
Andrew Kimbrell Photo from Center for Food Safety
      Hawai`i County Council passed Bill 113 in November 2013 that prohibits introduction of new GMO crops and requires GMO papaya growers to register their crops.
      Hawai`i Papaya Industry Association appealed, calling for a summary judgment and permanent injunction against enforcement of the law.
      During this week’s hearing, Earthjustice Attorney Paul Achitoff said that state law governing agriculture is not comprehensive and doesn’t prevent counties from passing their own laws. Quintano reported Achitoff saying the state didn’t object when Hawai`i County passed a law eight years ago prohibiting genetically engineered coffee and taro.
      Attorney Margery Bronster, representing GMO producer Monsanto, countered that the state has an “incredibly centralized government” that includes school, hospital and community college systems.
      “The argument seems to be if the Legislature did not say the counties couldn’t do it, they can,” Bronster said. “That simply disregards the manner in which our state government is set up. Counties are only allowed to do what is specifically delegated to the counties.”
      “It was historic, not just for Hawai`i and its future,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, said to Quintano of Wednesday’s hearings. “This is also a historic moment for states across the country who want the right to know about what pesticides are being used and want the right to say yes or no to GMOs.” He told Quintano that the center counted 137 state and county laws that could potentially be affected by the rulings.
      When a decision will be reached is unknown.
      See civilbeat.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

A pre-hearing conference on the Thirty Meter Telescope
took place yesterday. Image from TMT
ALL PARTIES WHO APPLIED will participate in a contested case hearing on the Thirty Meter Telescope’s land use permit, Tom Callis reported in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald.
      At a pre-hearing conference yesterday, Judge Riki May Amano accepted additional parties, including 12 Native Hawaiians opposed to the project. They join six others and University of Hawai`i at Hilo, the permit applicant.
      “I have a lot of aloha for everyone here,” Callis reported Amano saying. Project opponents had previously called for Amano to be replaced because of conflicts of interest, but Department of Land & Natural Resources kept her on as hearing officer.
      All parties are required to attend the hearing that Amano said could last three to four weeks. Pre-hearing motions are scheduled for Aug. 5.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

SENATE DEMOCRATS UNVEILED an amendment to provide an additional $41 million to Department of Justice programs that prevent discrimination and hate crimes.
      Introduced in response to the targeted attacks against the LGBT and Latino communities in Orlando, the amendment would ensure the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and Office of Community Relations Service have the necessary resources to reduce conflict and prevent, investigate and prosecute hate crimes throughout the country.
Sen. Mazie Hirono called for legistion to prevent
discrimination and hate crimes.
Photo from Office of Sen. Hirono
      “Last weekend’s tragedy in Orlando should be a sobering moment for our country. It’s time to move beyond thoughts, prayer and reflection. It’s time for action,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said. “This massacre was not just an act of terror; it was a hate crime that took the lives of 49 innocent people far too soon. Our amendment provides emergency funding to prevent and mitigate future hate crimes that target vulnerable communities across the country. I … call on the Senate to adopt this amendment without delay.”
      The amendment would help the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division hire additional staff to enforce federal civil rights and hate crime laws. Additional funding would help the Office of Community Relations Service work with communities to reduce conflict after hate-related violence, bullying, and discrimination. Hirono and Senate Democrats have also pushed for Congress to pass legislation to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and explosives and fully fund the FBI to prevent domestic terror attacks.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

SUMMER IS HERE, AND WITH IT comes sea turtle nesting season in Ka`u. As a result, beachgoers may witness increased sea turtle activity, including mating in nearshore waters as well as more basking on beaches. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries and Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources reminds everyone — locals and visitors alike — to respect the sea turtles at all times of the year.
      The two species that nest in the islands are the green sea turtle (honu in Hawaiian) and the hawksbill sea turtle (`ea). The majority of Hawai`i’s honu migrate to French Frigate Shoals — located in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands — to reproduce. However, an increasing number of honu are now nesting on beaches of the main Hawaiian Islands.
Honu is one of two species of sea turtles that nest in Hawai`i.
Photo from DLNR
      Primary `ea nesting beaches occur along the south Ka`u Coast, south Maui and eastern Moloka`i. Both species are protected under state and federal laws.
      If a honu or `ea is seen on the beach or in the water, remember:
      View sea turtles from a distance of 10 feet. Give turtles space, and don’t feed, chase or touch them. Hawaiian honu bask on the beach. This is normal behavior. Don’t try to push them back into the water.
      “It’s OK to help!” Fishermen should check gear often, use barbless circle hooks and adhere to state gillnet rules. If safe for both the fisher and the turtle, release accidentally caught turtles by reeling in the turtle carefully, holding by its shell or flippers, cutting line as close to the hook as possible and releasing with no (or little) gear or line attached. Barbed hooks may cause more damage by trying to remove them rather than leaving them in place.
      “No white light at night.” Use wildlife friendly lighting near the coast (yellow/amber and shielded lights). Don’t use flash photography, and keep lights and beach fires to a minimum from May to December, when turtles are nesting and hatchlings are emerging.
      Avoid beach driving. Off-road vehicles crush nests, create tire ruts that trap hatchlings and degrade habitats. Driving on the beach is also illegal in most areas.
      Prevent debris and rubbish from entering the ocean. Participate in beach and reef cleanup activities.
      Report all hawksbill sea turtle sightings, any nesting activity (turtle tracks or nest digging), and injured or dead turtles to NOAA’s Sea Turtle Stranding Hotline at 286-4359 in Hilo or 327-6226 in South Kona.
      Report illegal or suspicious activity that may result in turtle injury or death to Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement at 808-587-0077 or 643-DLNR.
      An animal that appears to be sleeping on the beach may be a basking turtle and should be allowed to rest undisturbed. However, if an animal in distress — with visible signs of injury, bleeding or entanglement in debris — or one that has not moved for more than two days, it may need assistance. Call the hotline numbers listed above to report an animal in distress.
      For more tips to prevent or reduce the potential for interactions, search online for Fishing Around Sea Turtles.
      For more, see http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

The People & Lands of Kahuku are topics of a hike tomorrow.
NPS Photo by Julia Espaniola
LEARN ABOUT THE PEOPLE & LANDS of Kahuku tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit. This free, guided, 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hike over rugged terrain focuses on the area’s human history.
      See nps.gov/havo.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers Father’s Day Buffet tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Entrees are prime rib, shrimp Alfredo with spinach and mushrooms and Asian-infused Hawaiian ono. Adults $28; children $14.50; 967-8356. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests.
      Park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_June_2016.pdf.

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