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Ka`u News Briefs, Friday,Feb. 24, 2018

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Pacific Biodiesel's plant in Kea`u. The company has been planting test plots on the Big Island and looking for land to
grow sunflower and safflower for food and utility oils. It blessed a sunflower farm on Maui today and Ka`u's Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard and Ka`u's Senator Mazie Hirono attended. Photo from Pacific Biodiesel & Think Tech Hawai`i
PACIFIC BIODIESEL, which operates a biofuel manufacturing plant at Shipman Industrial Park in Kea`au, is getting into the sunflower growing business to make more biofuel and food products. Sunflower and safflower test plots have been grown on the Big Island and a new effort to plant sunflower on 115 acres of former sugar land in central Maui was blessed on Friday. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono both attended and gave remarks on the importance of developing more sustainable energy sources throughout  Hawai`i.
Pacific Biodiesel founder Bob King with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the blessing of a
new sunflower farm to grow oils for food and fuel on Friday.
Photo from Tulsi Gabbard
     In 2015 Kelly King, vice president of Pacific Biodiesel, told Pacific Business News that the company wants to grow sunflower crops on tens of thousands of acres as feedstock to make biofuel. Under consideration have been lands owned by Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and private properties on the Big Island.
    Funding and research for the expansion into sunflower and possible safflower oils have come with help from University of Hawai`i and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the Hawai`i Military Biofuels Crop Program an the Hawai`i Natural Energy Institute.
     Pacific Biodiesel has a manufacturing location in Shipman Industrial Park in Kea`au where used cooking oil and grease trap waste are the current feedstock for making transportation and utility fuel.  The company has  assisted with Hawai`i and other counties adopting biofuel to run their vehicles.
     King said the Kea`au plant is like a distillery and "exceeds all technology." She said it manufactures what is probably the highest quality biodiesel in the world. She said the number of employees totals at about 35 at Shipman and nearly 80 statewide. She said Pacific Biodiesel is proud to provide a variety of jobs and has hired students from  Hawai`i Community College which is teaching technology processing.
     Pacific Biodiesel sells its fuel to electric companies, the trucking industry, and for boating, back up generation, farming equipment and passenger cars. Kelly said that it is important to realize that electric cars often use imported oil, which is burned to make the electricity for the power company that provides the electricity when  the electric car is plugged in. The electric car is clean when the electricity that it uses comes from solar or other alternative energies like biodiesel, she explained. 
     Kelly said that she looks forward to not only the biofuel value of sunflower and saflower but also their edible value and the opportunity for the oils to first be used for food, and secondarily to be upcycled into fuel for transportation and for the electric companies. At the Maui Farm, she said, she expects to produce about 100 gallons of fuel per acre per harvest, with three harvests a year.
     See more at www.biodiesel.com

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THE U.S. CORAL REEF TASK FORCE  met in Washington D.C. this week and Hawai`i Gov. David Ige attended on his way to the National Governors Association Winter Meeting this weekend. The United States Coral Reef Task Force was established in 1998 by Presidential Executive Order to lead U.S. efforts to preserve and protect coral reef ecosystems. The USCRTF includes leaders of 12 Federal agencies, seven U.S. States including Hawai`i, Territories, Commonwealths, and three Freely Associated States.
Gov. David Ige attending the Coral Reef Task Force Meeting in
Washington, D.C. on Thursday. Photo from the Governor
     The USCRTF helps build partnerships, strategies, and support for on-the-ground action to conserve coral reefs. During the meeting, Dr. Luis Solorzano, of The Nature Conservancy made a presentation on ' Coral Restoration - why we should be hopeful? The organization also released its new Handbook on Coral Reef Impacts: Avoidance, Minimization, Compensatory Mitigation and Restoration. 
   Within the Hawai`i state government, the Department of Land & Natural Resources works closely with the Coral Reef Task Force, with Robert Nishimoto taking the lead. See more, including Hawai`i's Local Action Strategies for preserving coral reefs at www.coralreef.gov.

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THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE IN KA`U is a big part of the discussion between community members, policy makers and staff at Ka`u Hospital tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. The community is invited to attend and give input to the East Hawai`i Regional Board of the Hawai`i Hospital System Corp., which manages Ka`u Hospital and its clinic, as well as the Hilo and Kona Hospitals. 

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Na`alehu School children went out for track and competed and
won at Konawa`ena this month. Photo by Bob Martin
NA`ALHEU STUDENTS competed well at an islandwide Track and Field event this month at Konawaena High School. Head Coach Linda Le and assistant coach Bob Martin report that Neiwad Boaz took 2nd place in the girls 11-12 shot put. Anthony Clark won 3rd Place in the boys 11-12 1200m. Layton Ka-ne-Kala took 1st Place in boys 6-8 Standing Long Jump and Ariel Cohen won 1st Place in girls 11-12 1200m.

COUNT THE HUMPBACK WHALES ON SATURDAY along the Ka`u Coast. Register at  hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov or 725-5923.


Love the Arts: Singin’ in the Rainforest, Sat, Feb 25, 5 – 9 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. The annual fundraiser features one-of-a-kind umbrellas painted by Hawai‘i Island artists. Fine wine, a luxurious gourmet buffet, spirited Hawaiian music and live and silent auctions. 967-8222
.


Soil and Composting class at Ka`u Farm School on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Earth Matters Farm on the corner of South Point Road and Kama`oa Roa`oa Road, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Special guests include Rep. Richard Creagan, Chair of the Agriculture Committee of the state House of Representatives and Melanie Willich, Director of the Young Farmers Program at Kohala Center. Free, sponsored by Kohala Center and Hawai`i Farmers Union United. Donations accepted. RSVP to kaufarmschool@gmail.com or call 808-721-6977.

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www.kaucalendar.com



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