Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs May 7, 2013

Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School hosted the first-ever Sports Showdown on the Big Island with students from
Kea`au's and Pahoa's UPLINK All-Stars after-school programs. Above are all students who participated, along with
some staff members. Photo by Thu-Tam Doan
THE FREE AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS program at Ka`u Middle School will be celebrated with Kea`au Middle and Pahoa Intermediate Schools. About a dozen of the 80 All-Stars from Ka`u will travel today to the Kea`au campus. All-Star coordinator for Ka`u is Thu-Tam Doan, who partners with UPLINK coordinator Liza Saplan for the daily after-school program. 
      Doan said this morning that her goal is to help empower the students to learn to rely on themselves through life skills. She talked about entrepreneurship and the students discovering needs in the community that an entrepreneurial and community-minded person can fill.
      She noted that the business students in the All-Stars program recently took third place in the Ka`u Coffee Festival Triple C Recipe Contest. She said that she is encouraging them to develop products around "what is here." She gave the example of macadamia nuts, which are abundant in Ka`u. Students are growing a garden, raising ingredients that can be combined with mac nuts, she said, to create new products.
Local products mac nuts, cane sugar and Ka`u Coffee were used by Ka`u's
All-Star program to make these award-winning cookies in the Ka`u
Coffee Festival Triple C Recipe Contest. Photo by Julia Neal
      Pahoa, Kea`au and Ka`u each receive $100,000 in funding during the school year for the All-Stars program, plus additional money for summer. The finances come from federal and private sources. 
      Statewide coordinator Dawn Dunbar said she started the Hawai`i Chapter of All-Stars four years ago and opened up on the Big Island this school year.
      All-Stars provides a reliable schedule each day for students, with an hour set aside right after school to complete homework and for tutoring. Homework is followed by two hours of enrichment or sports.
      “Each community we work with is so unique, and it is really interesting to see the different offerings, everything from sports to cooking to `ukulele with Keoki Kahumoku in Ka`u,” said Dunbar.
      Another aspect is teamwork among people with varying talents and skill levels. Thirteen students from Ka`u from general and special education classes will travel to O`ahu over Memorial Day weekend for Special Olympics. The goal, said Doan, is to unify the students onto the same team where they can see they are perfectly capable of working together and can learn to better appreciate and cooperate with one another.
      Recently, a group of general and special education students from Ka`u traveled to a softball tournament on O`ahu, also sponsored by Special Olympics.

U.S. SENATOR MAZIE HIRONO today filed four amendments to the immigration reform bill under consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measures would reunite Filipino World War II veterans with their families, make it easier for foreign tourists to visit the islands and help Hawai`i’s longline fishing industry to more easily hire foreign crew.
      Hirono said, “These changes would pump millions into Hawai`i’s economy by boosting foreign tourism, make good on our promises to those who served our nation and fix a longstanding competitive disparity between mainland and Hawai`i fishermen.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono
      The measures are summarized on the U.S. Senate website as follows: 
      Reunifying Filipino WWII Vets With Their Children (Hirono1) – Although thousands of Filipino veterans were granted citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States in World War II, their children were not granted citizenship. Senator Hirono’s amendment would help eliminate the immigration backlog for the families of Filipino World War II vets seeking citizenship. The amendment is identical to Hirono’s previously introduced bill, the bipartisan Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act of 2013.

      Allowing Hawai`i Fishing Vessels To Temporarily Rotate Foreign Crews (Hirono2) – Because of Hawai`i’s geographic isolation, Hawai`i’s longline fishing fleet faces a unique competitive disadvantage. Federal law requires U.S. fleets to rotate their nonimmigrant foreign crews at foreign ports. While mainland fleets can comply with this crew rotation requirement by rotating foreign crews at ports in Canada or Mexico, Hawai`i-based vessels must make a round-trip voyage of more than two weeks to reach the nearest foreign port. Senator Hirono’s amendment would allow U.S. vessels to temporarily rotate their nonimmigrant foreign crew in Hawai`i through C1/D crew visas, the same flexibility currently available to U.S. ships rotating crew in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

      Expanding Chinese Tourism By Making It Easier For Chinese Visitors To Visit The Islands (Hirono3) – While Chinese tourists to the United States represent a large and lucrative market, restrictive visa laws prevent them from traveling to the U.S. and spending money in our economy. Visitors from Mainland China currently can only hold tourist visas to the U.S. for one year. Senator Hirono’s bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Senator Lee, would allow residents of Mainland China to hold U.S. visitor visas for five years and would permit multiple entries to and from the U.S. during this period. This amendment is identical to a key provision of Hirono’s VISIT USA Act, a bill she previously introduced in the U.S. House to boost Chinese tourism to the United States.

      Making Hong Kong Eligible For The Visa Waiver Program (Hirono4) – Senator Hirono’s bipartisan amendment, cosponsored by Senators Hatch and Lee, would designate Hong Kong as eligible to be considered for participation in the visa waiver program for visitors to the United States. The VWP allows citizens of participating foreign countries or states to travel to the U.S. without a visa for stays of 90 days or less, provided they meet appropriate requirements. Currently, 36 countries and Taiwan – a province of China – are VWP participants. Hong Kong must still meet all statutory requirements that every country must meet for inclusion in the VWP. The amendment is identical to a bill previously introduced by Hirono in April 2013.

This morning's SO2 readings show high levels in Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park. Image from Department of Health
UNHEALTHY AIR CONDITIONS at Kilauea Visitor Center, Volcano Art Center and Volcano House Hotel kept some visitors distanced during periodic vog alerts yesterday and today. This morning, air became unhealthy for sensitive groups at 6 a.m., improved to moderate and good for a half hour and declined to unhealthy air at 9 a.m. 
      The SO2 reading at 10:30 a.m. in the visitor center area was a red alert 1.40 parts per million. The state Department of Health Guidance on Short-term Sulfur Dioxide exposure says that during a red alert, “Everyone may begin to experience health effects. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Avoid outdoor activities and remain indoors. If you experience breathing difficulties, such as chest tightness or wheezing, stop activities, use a rescue inhaler and find a place to sit down and rest. Potential health effects not expected, however actions to reduce exposure to vog may be useful.”
      At Jaggar Museum, the most unhealthy air was during a red alert between 6 a.m. and 7:15 a.m. At 10:30 a.m, the air was unhealthy for sensitive groups. Volcano Art Gallery staff said they had the doors closed this morning to keep the clean air in and the bad air out.
      Yesterday, none of the operations shut down, but alerts were coming and going, sometimes reaching the red, unhealthy level. See vog conditions at http://www.hiso2index.info/. Click on Jaggar or Visitor’s Center to see today’s levels and alerts.

Identifying where products are from is one way to add value to them.
Photo from Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai`i
A FREE 58-PAGE GUIDE ENTITLED Adding Value to Locally Grown Crops in Hawai`i: A Guide for Small Farm Enterprise Innovation is now available to Ka`u farmers. The guide helps growers add value to all aspects of their farm enterprise and offers resources for further developing their strategies. 
      Craig Elevitch and Ken Love authored the guide with input from agricultural professionals statewide. Elevitch is an agroforestry educator whose most recent book Specialty Crops for Pacific Islands (2011) provides insights into sustainable cultivation and processing techniques for local and export markets with an emphasis on production methods, post-harvest processing, and marketing.
      Love, widely known as an advocate for the innovative small farm, is co-owner of Love Family Farms in Kona, which produces a range of value-added products including jams, jellies, dried fruits, and coffee.
Ken Love
Craig Elevitch
      “Adding value is an essential component of small farm sustainability,” said Love, who has extensive experience working with farm enterprises. “There are many different ways to add value in growing, processing, and marketing products. This guide is about finding ways of adding value to your operation that are best suited for you and that are ultimately profitable.” 
      The publication was produced with funds from the state Department of Agriculture, the Agribusiness Incubator Program of the University of Hawai`i, and the county Department of Research and Development. It is available as a free download, and a limited number of free hard copies will be available throughout Hawai`i.
      Distribution locations and a link to download the free guide are listed at www.valueadded.info.

KA`U TROJANS VOLLEYBALL boys just missed going to the state high school finals on O`ahu this weekend. They lost their playoff game at home yesterday to Campbell High School, 25-20, 21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 8-15. Ka`u upset number one seed Hawai`i Preparatory Academy on Friday night but fell to the Pahoa Daggers in the finals on Saturday at Kamehameha High School Gym.


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