Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016

Volcano School of Arts & Sciences is looking for community volunteers to help students with its food gardens.
Call food services manager Amalie Dorn at 808-896-1912 or email her at adorn@volcanoschool.net.
Photo from Volcano School of Arts & Sciences
FARM TO SCHOOL MONTH ends today with numerous government agencies and community groups supporting the effort to connect farmers with cafeterias in public educational institutions. With Hawai`i importing about 85 percent of its food, the Farm to School Initiative is one way the State of Hawai`i, schools and community attempt to work toward becoming food sustainable.
         The state school system services 256 public schools. Its School Food Services Branch feeds approximately 100,000 students and staff each day. The Farm to School Initiative also seeks to address the supply and demand issues surrounding the purchasing of local food for school cafeterias.
Grow food, learn science in the Plant Systems class at Ka`u High School, the
lettuce grown by students. Photo from Volcano School of Arts & Sciences
     One initiative at Ka`u High School brings production of food into a science class called Plant Systems, taught by Sonja Caldwell. In addition to understanding the biology of plants, the students grow such edibles as lettuce. At Volcano School of the Arts & Sciences, Amalie Dorn is the food services manager and sources food from farmers in the Volcano community. She said the school is looking for community volunteers to help students with the food garden. Call 808-896-1912 or email adorn@volcanoschool.net. Ka`u Learning Academy students grow food under the leadership of teacher Audra Zook. At Na`alehu School, school gardens were in place for many years but the coordinator was lost for this school year.
Volcano School sources from local
farmers. Photo from Volcano
School of Arts & Sciences
         Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui signed the Farm to School proclamation with representatives of the Ulupono Initiative, The Kohala Center, state Department of Education and state Department of Agriculture, all convening at the State Capitol in Honolulu.
     Farm to School Month in Hawai'i coincides with National Farm to School Month, designated by Congress in 2010 to showcase growing importance of farm to school programs as a means to improve child nutrition, encourage diverse careers in agriculture, support local economies, and educate children about the origins of food.
     Tsutsui said it is important to “raise awareness about the movement and school gardening programs, which empowers children and their families to make informed food choices while strengthening the local economy and connecting keiki to the aina.” Tsutsui spearheads the Farm to School Initiative, in collaboration with the state Department of Education and state Department of Agriculture.
     Scott Enright, chair of the Department of Agriculture, said, “The Hawai`i Farm to School program provides an important connection between local farms and Hawai`i’s keiki. This program not only helps to strengthen the local agricultural community, but also creates an opportunity to educate our youth about agriculture, nutrition and food sustainability.”
     Statewide school superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said, “The Department is excited in finding new ways to increase the amount of local produce on the menus of our schools. While the schools as a whole currently purchase a higher percentage of local food than the average home, we would like to deliver more fresh fruits, vegetables and meats to our students’ plates.”
Tomato plantings at Volcano School of
Arts & Sciences
    In April, the Farm to School Initiative gathered information from farmers and ranchers as well as hosted a gathering to share information on how to become a qualified vendor with the State. Those events, including an invitation for bids, culminate with the Farm to School Initiative Pilot Project, which is expected to begin in 2017.
     Chief Operating Officer of The Kohala Center, Anna-Lisa Okoye, said the non-profit “has been involved in Farm to School for about a decade and we’re so thrilled that this pilot project is at this place of being ready to launch because of the potential of Farm to School to not only impact our agricultural community, but also the positive impact it can have on our school children from a nutritious standpoint and education standpoint as well. We’re so excited for this next step that we’re going to get into the schools and make some changes on how schools cook and source food and teach kids about nutrition.”
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PROTECTING LONGLINE FISHING CREWS FROM EXPLOITATION is the goal of a bill Sen. Mazie K. Hirono plans to introduce into the new U.S. Congress. In addition to helping these foreign fishermen, she said in a statement this morning, the bill aims at preserving Hawai`i’s longline fishing industry. 
The Associated Press illustrated conditions on longline
fishing boats with story and photography.
Photo from AP
    She said she is also working with non-legislative fixes to the problems that include fishermen needing temporary work visas, with wage protections, safe workplaces and contract enforcement, similar to those provided to other foreigners employed here. 
     The visas that Hirono proposes would allow fishermen to go ashore in Honolulu and travel to and from Honolulu International Airport, solving the problem of the fishermen being picked up by boats in foreign harbors to carry them here. Fishermen need U. S. permission to fly to this state to work for the longline fishing fleet based in Hawai`i, she said. 
      An Associated Press investigation recently reported that among many examples of poor working conditions, is the fact that some foreign fishermen were confined to vessels for years. A federal loophole allows them to work on the longline fishing boats, exempting the business owners from common labor law and migrant worker protections.
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Ka`u Learning Academy held its Fall Fundraiser in October with a Mystery Theater and dinner at the campus.
Photo form Ka`u Learning Academy
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY'S fall fundraiser was held in late October featuring a mystery theatre directed by teacher Catherine Williams. The tuition free, public charter school is planning to expand to additional grades. It currently teaches grades three, four, five, six and seven. It is located in the former Discovery Harbour Clubhouse. According to its website, sponsors include Chamberlin Family Foundation, American Savings Bank, Olson Trust and CU Hawai`i Federal Credit Union. Founding Executive Director is Kathryn Tydlacka, who has a Masters Degree in Education Administration and an undergraduate degree in Elementary and Secondary Education. See more at www.kauclearning.com

HALLOWEEN DRAWS CHILDREN this evening to walking through neighborhoods and the Hawai`i Police Department promises extra patrols and DUI checks throughout Ka`u. HPD asks that drivers let off children only from the street side of vehicles and be particularly cautious of pedestrians tonight.

OBSERVE AND PARTICIPATE  IN COUNTY COUNCIL MEETINGS Tuesday, Nov. 1 and Wednesday, Nov. 2 through videoconferencing at Na`alehu State Office Building on Hwy 11. See http://www.hawaiicounty.gov for agendas and live-streamed and archived meetings.
VOTER REGISTRATION AND EARLY VOTING are available through this Friday at Pahala Community Center, the only Ka`u polling place before General Election Day next Tuesday, Nov. 8. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 
     Citizens can also register late and vote early at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; West Hawai`i Civic Center Community Room, Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Waimea Community Center, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
     On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voting will take place at Cooper Center in Volcano, Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School Cafeteria, Na`alehu Elementary School Cafeteria, Ocean View Community Center and Miloli`i Halau, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. See the sample ballots published in this Ka`u News Brief.
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