Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013


Old waterways are being found and restored by the Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District, with help from the state of Hawa`i'i
and local state legislators. Archival photo from Olson Trust Collection.
MAC FARMS OF HAWA`I, with most of its workers coming from Ka`u, is cooperating with the federal government to protect immigrant farm workers from overcrowding in housing and other substandard working conditions. Mac Farms, with its macadamia orchards at Kapua near the Ka`u and Kona District boundary, is expected to file a consent decree in U.S. District Court by Dec. 9 to establish more accountability in following anti-discrimination and other labor laws. During a news conference earlier this week, federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regional attorney Anna Y. Park said that farm owners must be involved in the enforcement of labor laws and cannot leave it up to labor contractors.
Mac Farms grows macadamia on the Ka`u border with Kona
at Kapua. Photo from www.macfarms.com
     Mac Farms hired laborers from Global Horizons, an international labor contractor, between 2003 and 2006. The company, along with Captain Cook Coffee Co. Ltd., Del Monte Fresh Produce, Kaua`i Coffee Co., Kelena Farms and Maui Pineapple Farms are being held accountable for Global Horizons’ treatment of the laborers, most of them from Thailand. Global was charged with overcrowding workers in substandard housing, low pay, insufficient food, deportation threat and other abuses. The EEOC included the farm owners in its complaints.
     While Mac Farms, like Del Monte, is expected to settle the case with the EEOC, Global Horizons and Maui Pineapple are taking the case to trial next year.
     Del Monte came up with its settlement this week and will pay $1.2 million, which will be distributed approximately 150 workers. The federal attorney applauded Del Monte for “being the first to come forward and show leadership in addressing discrimination issued in the agricultural industry, which as a whole, has been slow to enforce anti-discrimination laws. We hope this is a wake-up call for others in the agricultural industry to follow Del Monte Fresh Produce’s lead in recognizing signs of potential abuses by farm labor contractors and taking proactive steps to hold them accountable,” Park said. 
Mac Farms is working with the federal government to protect
farmworkers at its orchards. Photo from www.macfarms.com
    The agreement includes implementing the following: ensure that farm labor contractors provide policies and procedures prohibiting discrimination to the local and guest workforce in languages they understand; notify workers of their rights under the Civil Rights Act of 1964; tell workers how they can summit discrimination complaints; audit the procedures and designate someone to oversee compliance; train managers, supervisors and employees in the civil rights laws for workers; and make reports to the EEOC.

To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT members met yesterday and discussed smaller water management entities each coming up with voting procedures for water users and land owners. John Cross suggested that each group of users from Kapapala, through Wood Valley, Keaiwa, Mountain House, Mo`aula to Ha`o decide whether they want voting to be one vote for each water user, by the amount of water used, or the number of acres owned or used, or some other method.
     Some of the water tunnels have been surveyed and others will be surveyed before the state releases more money to repair the old plantation systems, members of the co-op said.
     The group also talked about the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands discussion on providing farm land to Hawaiians near Ha`ao Springs in Wai`ohinu. To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A PERMIT TO RUN A 3.5 -MILE WATER LINE from Old Plantation Spring to Ka`u ranchers and farmers has been approved by the state Board of Land & Natural Resources. The water source is within The Nature Conservancy’s Kaiholena Unit. The pipeline will travel through the Ka`u Forest Reserve to ranch and farm lands below, according to the application from Michelle Galimba, of Kuahiwi Contractors. The tunnel was built in the late 1920s to provide water to flumes that carried sugar to Honu`apo sugar mill. More recently the water has been used for farming and cattle ranching and the users are expected to be agriculturalists Richard Johansen, Phil and Merle Becker, Kirk Derasin and the Galimba ranching family. To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
Hawai`i County Council joined New York City in banning sales of tobacco products to those under 18 years of age. Image from
SMOKING AGE WILL BE 21, if Mayor Billy Kenoi signs the new law passed by the Hawai`i County Council this week. The law would raise the allowable minimum age for buyers of cigarettes from 18 to 21. It would take affect July 1, 2014. The law would apply to electronic smoking devices as well as cigarettes, chewing and pipe tobacco, snuff, and cigars. The vote by the council included support from Ka`u council member Brenda Ford. It was unanimous, 9-0. The bill was initiated by council member Drew Kanuha.
      Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids president Matthew Myers released a statement, saying “Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry never lets up in pushing its deadly and addictive products, so policy makers can’t let up in their efforts to reduce smoking and save lives. The Hawai1i County Council has delivered a victory for kids and health.” The statement noted that the vote on the Big Island was only one day after New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg signed a new law making the Big Apple the first major U.S. city or state to raise the tobacco sales age to 21. Two other U.S. cities, Needham and Canoton Massachusetts have also enforced the tobacco sales age at 18. See more at www.tobaccofreekids.org. To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AIRPLANE MODE is allowed during Hawaiian Airlines domestic flights for passengers’ electronic devices, including during takeoffs and landings, the carrier announced yesterday. Hawaiian also expanded use of personal electronic devices on its international flights. The over-water flights to the mainland are considered domestic.
     The new rules follow the FAA’s decision at the end of October to allow Personal Electronic Devices during all phases of flights. Such devices include smartphones, tablets, e-readers, music players, GPS receivers, electronic/digital watchers, certain medical devices, one-way receiving pagers, digital and video cameras, calculators, electric shavers and handheld computer games.
      However, laptop computers over two pounds, noise reduction headphones, DVD players and other electronic devices over two pounds must be turned off until the plane reaches 10,000 in altitude.
     A PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee of industry and government experts determined that most planes in commercial service can fly safely with radio signals from the personal devices.
     Devices not allowed during any portion of the flight include wireless keyboards and mouses, electronic cigarettes, radio transmitters like ham and CB, batteries or cord operated radios, two way radios like walkie talkies, two –way pagers, remote controlled toys and tv’s.
      Hawaiian Airlines President Mark Dunkerley said in a statement, "We applaud the FAA's new policy and are excited to allow our customers to use their devices throughout their flight when they travel with us. We're committed to improving the travel experience for our customers." For more see www.HawaiianAirlines.com/News/PED.

To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A CRECHE FESTIVAL will be held for the entire community on Saturday, Nov. 30 from noon until 8 p.m. ad Sunday, Dec. 1 from 1 p.. until 7 p.m. at Latter-day Saints Church on Mamalahoa Hwy in Na`alehu. The congregation invites the community of Ka`u to “celebrate the birth of the Christ child with more than 100 nativities from around the works in an artistic setting and with live music.” The celebration will include: “Local crèche artists; gallery of nativities; a children’s room with costumes and fun activities; and wholesome activity for the entire family,” says a statement from the Ka`u Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
     For more information, call 339-7402.
Volcano Art Center is open to new members who can attend Christmas in the
Country this evening at the gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Photo by Julia Neal

KA`U RESIDENTS CAN JOIN VOLCANO ART CENTER and attend Christmas in the Country’s opening event today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The celebration continues tomorrow with Christmas in the Country opening to the public. All activities and demos are free of charge; park entrance fees apply. For more information, call 967-7565.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND SPONSORS A KA`U COAST CLEANUP Saturday. Volunteers meet at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to Kamilo Beach. HWF is looking for people with four-wheel-drive vehicles to transport volunteers. Register with coordinator Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

HAWAI`I HONEY FESTIVAL is tomorrow at Nani Mau Gardens, with free honey tastings, demonstrations and entertainment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to cast votes for the People's Choice Honey Tasting Competition.

ST. JUDE’S CHURCH AT PARADISE CIRCLE AND KEAKA in Ocean View hosts events this weekend. Saturday is the church’s annual plant sale fundraiser from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will also be baked goods, coffee, books, gourmet mustards and slightly used items for sale.An interfaith service of thanksgiving takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. with speakers from the Christian Science church, the Tibetan Buddhist Mission, Wood Valley and Shepherds from Ka`u. All are welcome to share in this non-denominational service and bring some food to share.



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