Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016

State Rep. Clift Tsuji, a friend to Kaʻū Coffee farmers and other local agriculturalists, died unexpectedly yesterday.
Photo from Big island Video News

         A PUBLIC HEARING TONIGHT ON PRESERVING ENDANGERED SPECIES near Volcano, through a Safe Harbor agreement between Kamehameha Schools, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, will be held at Volcano School of the Arts and Sciences at 6 p.m.
ʻAlalā or Hawaiian Crow is one of the species to be
protected by the Safe Harbor agreement.
Photo from San Diego Zoo program at Volcano
      The agreement involves 32,280 acres owned by Kamehameha Schools near Volcano Village, bordering Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Kapapala Forest Reserve, Kipuka Ainahou Nēnē Sanctuary and Pu`u Maka`ala Natural Area Reserve.
      Volcano School is located at 19-4024 Haunani Road. The hearing concerns approval from the DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife, for a 50-year Incidental Take License, part of the Safe Harbor agreement.     
      The safe harbor agreement is voluntary, intended to promote recovery of endangered species. It covers eight animal and 25 plant species. Included are the endangered Hawaiʻi Creeper (Loxops mana), Hawaiʻi ʻĀkepa (Loxops coccineus), ʻAkiapōlāʻau (Hemignathus wilsoni), ʻIʻiwi (Vestiaria coccinea), ʻIo or Hawaiian Hawk (Buteo solitarius), Nēnē or Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis), ʻAlalā or Hawaiian Crow (Corvus hawaiiensis), and ʻŌpeʻapeʻa or Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus). Comments can be sent to katherine.cullison@hawaii.gov by Dec. 22. Copies of the safe harbor agreement will be available at the public hearing and http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/Environmental_Notice/Archives/2010s/2016-10-23.pdf.
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STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MEMBER CLIFT TSUJI DIED YESTERDAY. Tsuji, 75, chaired the House Agriculture Committee. While he represented Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, and Waiakea, he supported numerous aspects of Kaʻū agriculture. Tsuji was a keynote speaker at the Kaʻū Farm Bureau annual meeting in 2012. In the same year, he proposed funding for dogs to be trained to sniff out invasive species coming to Hawaiʻi in air and ocean shipments.
Clift Tsuji (left) visits a new Hawaiʻi Island dairy.
Photo from state House of Representatives blog
     Tsuji came to Kaʻū numerous times. Over the years, he supported coffee industry initiatives to fight the coffee berry borer. In September of 2015, Tsuji attended a meeting on Kaʻū Coffee farmer land security, listening to a proposal for the state to buy their land that was being sold to a real estate investment company, the state proposing to lease it back to farmers at low rates. He said he would support farmer land security.
    In 2014 Tsuji supported state legislation to prevent the counties from banning the growing of GMOs – Genetically Modified Organisms. In 2015, Tsuji opposed legislation that would allow the planting of industrial hemp in Hawaiʻi. He also opposed pesticide buffer zones around schools. He was named Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Legislator of the Year.
    In her message yesterday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard called Tusji a “dedicated public servant,” and said he “helped champion legislation to fight invasive species and strengthen our biosecurity.” U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono wrote, “his drive to build a
Rep. Clift Tsuji
better future was evident by his actions. Clift brought a wealth of experience and over 30 years of business acumen to the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives. His voice on behalf of agriculture across the state will be missed.” 
     Gov. David Ige said Tsuji “was a quiet man with a big heart and had the courage to stand for his convictions.” State Sen. Kaiali`i Kahele wrote that Tsuji “proudly wore our nation’s uniform in the 442nd Infantry and was recognized as the Hawai‘i Farm Bureau’s Legislator of the Year in 2015.” Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui called Tsuji a staunch advocate for Hawaiʻi’s agriculture community.”
      Tsuji served with the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959 to 1965. He was a speaker at the Kīlauea Military Camp Memorial Day services in 2011.
     Tsuji was born in Papaikou. He graduated from Hilo High School and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa where he earned a degree in communications. He studied banking and economics at the University of Washington. For 34 years, he worked as a banker at Central Pacific Bank. A Democrat, he served in the state House of Representatives for more than a dozen years. After his reelection in the August primary with a wide margin, Tsuji planned once again to chair the House Agriculture Committee. The governor will appoint his replacement. Services are pending.

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Federal money funded during Republican and Democratic presidencies and
Congresses helped increase conservation of large swaths of Kaʻū land, such
as Kahuku Unit of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park.
  NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane
HAWAIʻI UNDER TRUMP: U.S. Sen. “Dan Inouye is dead, Barack Obama is on his way out and Donald Trump will be our next president.” That’s how Civil Beat reporter Nick Grube introduced his story yesterday on potential political clout for Hawaiʻi under a Donald Trump presidency.
    “Add to that a Republican-controlled House and Senate and things sure don’t look good for Hawaiʻi’s left-leaning congressional delegation,” Grube writes.
     He quotes Colin Moore, a University of Hawaiʻi political science professor and director of the school’s Public Policy Center, who said: “I don’t think Hawaiʻi can expect any favors from the federal government anytime soon. We have a liberal, junior delegation that will be in Congress with a Republican president and a Republican Congress. They’re not going to have a lot of influence.
     “Hawaiʻi’s congressional clout has been fading ever since Inouye’s death in December 2012. Inouye was the most senior member of the U.S. Senate when he died, and was chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, which dishes out federal dollars,” Grube reminds the readers.
The new Kaʻū District Gym & Shelter received federal construction
funding for its role as a regional disaster shelter. Photo by Julia Neal
     In remote Kaʻū however, under both Republican and Democratic presidencies and U.S. Congresses, millions of dollars from the federal government increased the size of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park by a third and helped purchase coastal lands to place in the stewardship of the County of Hawaiʻi and community groups. Sen. Mazie Hirono continues to reach across the aisle, successfully advocating for preservation of lands around the Great Crack and Pohue Bay.
      Offshore to the north, the signature of Pres. George W. Bush established Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Under Barack Obama, its size increased, making it the world’s second largest protected area.
    The new Kaʻū District Gym & Shelter received federal funding. Highways and roads throughout Kaʻū are improved with federal money.
    The jobs of many scientists at the National Park, the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the weather station on Mauna Loa are
dependent on federal funding. The weather station, NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory, located at 3,392 meters above sea level (11,129 feet), was one of the first places on the planet to register climate changes that led to identifying global warming. However, President-elect Trump has questioned whether climate change and global warming are real.
Federally funded Mauna Loa Observatory, in Ka`u, recorded the
evidence of climate change and global warming.
Photo from NOAA
     The Civil Beat writer declares that “it’s a new world under President-elect Trump, who doesn’t have many connections to the island outside of having his name stamped on a 38-story luxury hotel and condominium building in Waikīkī.”
    Grube points out that “Obama’s presidency brought additional standing to the Aloha State, however, if only because he’s from here and has a better understanding of Hawaiʻi’s issues than many politicians in Washington. Under his administration, the U.S. Department of Interior laid out a pathway for government-to-government relations with Native Hawaiians and quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Honolulu also hosted the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, which brought global attention to the islands as Obama laid out his vision for a U.S. pivot to Asia.”
     Grube notes that Trump “claimed to believe, until recently, that Obama had lied about being born in Hawaiʻi."
     Grube does write that Trump appears to be softening on some campaign promises like “deporting millions of undocumented workers, dismantling Obamacare, revamping America’s infrastructure and building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and making our southern neighbor pay for it.”
Coastal lands from Honuʻapo to Punaluʻu are in public stewardship with the
help of federal government funding. Photo by Julia Neal
    He concludes, however, that “there seems to be little common ground between Trump and deep-blue, multicultural Hawaiʻi, where Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won 61 percent of the vote compared to Trump’s 29 percent.”
     One area of possible federal funding stability that Grube thinks likely is the military: “One thing Hawaiʻi has going for it is its geographical importance to the U.S. military. That means federal dollars should continue to flow, especially if Trump follows through on his promises to boost military spending.” See more at www.civilbeat.org.

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VOTE TODAY THROUGH FRIDAY FOR THE DIRECTORY COVER IMAGE for the 2017 business and resource guide, published by the Kaʻū Chamber of Commerce. The annual Beauty of Kaʻū Art Show is open to the public at  through this Friday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Naʻalehu Hongwanji Breezeway.
     A popular vote will determine the cover of The Directory. All entries are eligible to win the popular vote (the cover) including youth and keiki art, with the exception of previous cover winners for The Directory. Prizes will be given for: photography, sculpture, woodworking, quilting, jewelry, lei, graphics, painting and weaving.
    During the show, works of art for sale are priced on a list available from art show volunteers. The results of judging and the selection for The Directory cover will be announced this Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. at Naʻalehu Hongwanji, with artists invited to a reception and awards ceremony. The Directory is published in January.
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JUMP ROPE CHALLENGE, today, Wednesday, Nov. 16,  from 2:15 to  3:15 p.m. at Kahuku County Park. Children ages 6 – 12 are invited to take part. 929-9113

Shai Lopez-Castaneda helped with the food
drive in 2013. Trojans girls basketball
 team hosts it again this weekend.
Photo by Julia Neal
HALAU O AKAUNU PRESENTS HULA tonight, Wednesday, Nov. 16 from 6:30 – 8 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Ancient traditionscome to life through chant and dance of Hālau o Akaunu. Hailing from Hilo, Hawai‘i, and under the instruction of Mānaiakalani Kalua, Akaunu strives to perpetuate the ‘aiha‘a style of hula borne of this volcanic landscape. Free; park entrance fees apply.

 CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY begins this Friday, Nov. 18 – Jan 1, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., at  Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The holiday event kicks off with a members-only reception, 5:30 p.m., opening day. Featured at Christmas in the Country is the 17th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit, with prizes awarded for the best wreaths. To participate, contact Emily Weiss at 967-8222 or gallery@volcanoartcenter.org. Free; park entrance fees apply.

A FOOD DRIVE AND TROJAN BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT begins at 5:15 p.m. this Friday, Nov. 18. To enter the first official high school competition played at the new Kaʻū District Gym, bring canned food instead of money. At least one can of food required to enter. After three games on Friday, Trojan wahine play again on Saturday starting at 9 a.m. The tournament is expected to last all day against Keaʻau, Pahoa and Kealakehe high schools. Big Island Interscholastic competition begins at the gym in December.
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