Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Jan. 23, 2017

Shaka Tea, made from māmaki grown in Wood Valley above Pahala, made Hawai`i's
State of the State address by Gov. David Ige today. Photo from Shaka Tea
 MAMAKI GROWN ON  WOOD VALLEY RANCH MADE THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS by Gov. David Ige today. The māmaki cultivated above Pahala is the major component of Shaka Tea, a start-up by Bella Hughes and her husband Harrison Rice, which the governor gave as an example of a local success story.
Wood Valley māmaki tea, the major ingredient
of Shaka Tea, praised today by Gov.
David Ige as a successful startup company.
Photo from Shaka Tea
     Ige said that “Bella and Harrison have taken māmaki leaves, grown in Pahala on Hawai`i Island, and used them to grow an exciting new local company. The benefits of the māmaki plant, native to and found only in Hawai`i, are well known among native Hawaiians. Recent studies by the University of Hawai`i have confirmed its health properties. But to make māmaki commercially viable as a ‘ready to drink’ beverage, Bella and Harrison had to find a way to extend its shelf life so that it could be marketed beyond the islands," said the governor.
     “It took them over a year. But, working with R&D partners in Hawai`i and on the mainland, they overcame that obstacle. Today, they are not only well established in local markets, but are looking to expand to the West and East Coast, Japan, and on the Internet." The governor introduced the Shaka Tea partners during his State of the State address. After the speech, Harrison Rice told The Ka`u Calendar,  “We are humbled” by the governor’s recognition. 
Wood Valley māmaki tea farm where Koa and
his family source ingredients for their
Shaka Tea. Photo from Shaka Tea
     According to www.shakatea.com the māmaki tea grown in Wood Valley is available in various flavors. “We start our crisp, refreshing Hawaiian iced teas with handpicked Māmaki leaves cultivated in the mineral-rich, volcanic soil on the foothills of Mauna Loa. Our brews are then naturally sweetened with organic juices and flavored with fruit purees for a touch of tropical flavor... which means they're all made without any added sugar." According to the Shaka Tea company, “Peer-reviewed university studies show māmaki contains antioxidants including catechins, chlorogenic acid and rutin, as well as macro and micro minerals, including: potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.”
    The labeling of Shaka Tea celebrates communities around the state with blends called Hilo, Honoka`a and Koloa. On this island it is sold at Abundant Life Natural Foods, Choice Mart, Island Naturals in Kona and Hilo, all five KTA Super Stores and all Matsuyama Markets. See more at www.shakatea.com.
See more on the State of the State address in tomorrow's Ka`u News Briefs.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A BILL THAT WOULD KEEP UTILITY-SCALE SOLAR FARMS out of residential communities zoned Agriculture passed its first reading in the state House of Representatives today.  


The bill would modify law that allows solar installations on all Agriculture-zoned land (except land with the best soil) without a county permit. The bill is supported by Ka’u's Rep. Richard Creagan, who has opposed the industrialization of residential communities that are zoned Agriculture in spite of the fact that the subdivisions were created for homes.  

Rep. Richard Creagan is lobbying for a bill to prevent industrialization of
neighborhoods, like those in Ocean View where solar farms are planned.
Photo from the Office of Rep. Richard Creagan 
   Also supporting the bill are Reps. Beth Fukumoto, Cedric Gates, Linda Ichiyama, Sam Kong, Matthew PoPresti, and Gregg Takama.


The town of Ocean View, the most populous in the Ka`u District, is composed of seven subdivisions, all zoned Agriculture. An estimated 7,000 people live in Ocean View. There are also an estimated 14 non-conforming old subdivisions in the Puna District, which are home to thousands of people. They are termed “non-conforming” because they do not conform to modern subdivision standards and rely on catchment systems for water, and often have substandard roads.
     Most of the subdivisions were created in the 1960s and 1970s when the county and state did not require developers to cover the cost of bringing roads, water and other services to the far-flung homes in sparsely-populated vast areas classified and zoned Agriculture.

     When, i

n 2008, state legislators and officials embraced the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative to free the state from imported oil and coal for energy, they looked for ways to make it easier for photovoltaic developers to build solar installations. It was decided that removing the requirement for   a permit to use agricultural land would be a good idea. After debate as to whether land should be used for food or energy, the law was modified to allow solar farms on ag land.  The impact on neighborhoods located on ag-zoned land was not considered, nor mentioned in documents on file at the legislature for SB 2502 or SB 631 in 2011.


“This was an unintended consequence of a very well-meaning law,” explained Creagan.  “When legislators talk about ag land, they think of wide open spaces and swathes of unused land. They could not see the downside of removing the permit requirement, as none of them thought of the non-conforming subdivisions we have on the Big Island.”


“It was not until SPI Solar, an international based in Shanghai, bought up housing lots in Ocean View and were given 26 building and electrical permits to build two-acre solar installations among homes, because the state law allowed them on Ag land, that the unintended consequences became apparent," said Creagan.
     Randy Iwase, Chairman of the PUC, was quoted by the Honolulu Star Advertiser as saying that the FIT program is obsolete because the cost is too high. “Nobody is going to move on the FIT project.  We have suspended any action on the application pending a review or an investigation or resolution of the complaint filed by the Bosteds”. 


The Consumer Advocate at the time,Jeff Ono, is quoted by the Honolulu Star Advertiser as saying in a filing that he was concerned with the competitive bidding of the FIT projects in Ocean View. Ono worte, It is apparent that the solar project owners effectively 'gamed' the FIT process in order to avoid going through the more rigorous competitive bidding framework.”
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HO`OMALU KA`U, The Ka`u Heritage Center, will hold a Giant Rummage Sale fundraiser on Saturday,  Jan. 28 at Na`alehu Hongwanji from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For sale will be tools, household goods, car parts, artwork, jewelry, collectibles, clothes toys, books, utensils, glass, and more. Funds raised will be used for programs in Ka`u.  Call 929-8526, or email hoomalukau@gmail.com  to donate any items, or with questions about the fundraiser or about Ho`omalu Ka`u.

HOVE ROAD MAINTENANCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING. Tuesday, Jan. 24, 10 a.m. at St. Jude's Church 929-9910.

HOW DO HVO GEOLOGISTS TRACK LAVA FLOWS AND LAVA LAKES? A Volcano Awareness Month presentation at After Dark in the Park on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick explains the toolkit he uses and describes how scientists continuously improve their methods of tracking volcanic activity. Free; park entrance fees apply.

HO`OKANE UKULELE - Wednesday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Learn the basics of the beloved and iconic part of Hawaiian music culture. Free; park entrance fees apply.


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