Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

Little fire ants may have come to Ka`u, and the state Department of Agriculture is trying to bait them with help from The Nature Conservancy. Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
LITTLE FIRE ANTS may have been discovered in Ka`u, according representatives of the Department of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy. John Replogle, of TNC, and Michelle Montgomery, of DOA’s Hawai`i Ant Lab, were putting peanut butter on sticks this morning on Bay Clinic property in Na`alehu in an attempt to find any possible little fire ants in the area for identification. One person on land near Bay Clinic reported her dog being stung, which drew concern, said Replogle. 
      He said that fire ants can be distributed to new locations through many methods. These include hitching on potted plants and agricultural products, in mulch, construction materials, dirt, cinder and gravel and on vehicles.
     In Ka`u, little fire ants could stunt coffee trees, spoil coffee cherry, cause premature fruiting and become a hindrance to coffee and macadamia pickers. Little fire ants like to live in stands of banana trees, ti plants and palms, particularly if there is consistent moisture.
Little fire ants are much smaller than the tropical fire ant, which is also more red
in color. Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
     Little fire ants were first found in Hawaiian Paradise Park in 1999, and the state Department of Agriculture set up a quarantine to prevent shipment of infested potted plants from the Big Island to the rest of the state. The ants, however, made it to Kaua`i. By 2009, they reached Maui. By 2010, they landed in Kona. In 2012 they were discovered on a coffee farm in Honaunau. Little fire ants have been located from sea level to an altitude of 2,000 feet.
     Fire ants, with the scientific name Wasmannia auropunctata, are only a pin head in size, about one-sixteenth of an inch long and colored pale orange. They are slow moving. In the U.S., they are common in southern Florida. Internationally, they live in many places, including South America, West Indies, Mexico, West Africa, the Galapagos, New Caledonia and Solomon Islands.
      While little fire ants are not aggressive and sting only when disturbed, the sting produces large, painful, raised red welts, followed by more pain and intense itching. Fire ants sting humans, pets, livestock and wildlife. Multiple stings in the eye can cause damage.
      The tropical fire ant is a distinct species from the little fire ant and more than twice as large and brighter red in color.
     Anyone finding little fire ants can call 315-5656.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TAX BREAKS FOR CLAIMING agricultural use of property will be reviewed more strictly by the county, but those coming forward and admitting that no ag is taking place will receive amnesty, according to Hawai`i County Finance director Nancy Crawford. Sometimes landowners place a couple of head of cattle, sheep, horses or goats to claim the discount without actually being involved in any ag enterprise. The claim of ag use is also sometimes an effort to keep taxes down while the land is being planned for subdivision and development. 
      For more information, contact the Real Property Tax Office at 961-8201, or see hawaiipropertytax.com.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Randy Perreira
HAWAI`I PUBLIC SCHOOLTEACHERS AND THE AFL-CIO have forged a partnership which was announced this week. 
      “We will continue to build on the success of this new affiliation by working in unity with the members of the HSTA to ensure the ongoing improvement of education in Hawai`i for all students,” Hawai`i AFL-CIO president Randy Perreira said.
      HSTA president Wil Okabe said, “A partnership with the AFL-CIO will allow our 13,500 members an opportunity to work with other union members in the community to promote a shared goal of transforming education in the state of Hawai`i.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MAYOR BILLY KENOI SIGNED INTO LAW BILL 135 to raise the legal age of sale of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21 in Hawai‘i County. A ceremonial signing of the bill was held yesterday at West Hawai`i Civic Center. 
      The Coalition For A Tobacco-Free Hawai`i West Hawai‘i and East Hawai‘i Coalitions and staff from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids worked closely with West Hawai`i Councilmember Dru Mamo Kanuha and his staff to pass this bill. Hawai‘i County Council unanimously passed the bill on Nov. 20.
      “I signed this bill for the benefit of our community, and most importantly, our kids,” Kenoi said. “Mahalo to Councilman Kanuha for hearing their voices and having the courage to follow through. With all of the known harmful effects of tobacco use, this measure is in the best interest of public health and safety.”
      More than 40 students from Kealakehe High and Konawaena High attended the initial committee hearing on Oct. 15 and the final reading on Nov. 20, wearing T-shirts stating “One Good Reason” with an arrow pointing up toward their faces. Waiakea High students submitted nearly 300 pieces of written testimony. 
Representatives from the Coalition for Tobacco-Free Hawai`i and Kealakehe High School
students who advocated for the measure join Mayor Billy Kenoi and Counciman Dru
Mamo Kanua for a ceremonial signing of Bill 135.
      “My commitment is to help our young people live longer and healthier lives than the generation who came before them, and to improve the overall health of our island,” Kanuha said.
      “We are deeply grateful to Council member Kanuha and his staff for creating a bill that was easy for the other council members to support,” said Sally Ancheta, East Hawai‘i Coalition coordinator for CTFH. “We thank Mayor Kenoi for taking the initiative to protect our youth and supporting the many voices that came to testify.”
      The ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2014 and will exempt people who reach the age of 18 before that date. Any person who distributes tobacco or electronic cigarette products to an underage customer will be subject to a fine of up to $2,000.
      Nearly 1,200 Hawai`i residents die each year from diseases that can be attributed to smoking, according to CTFH. Of those, more than 90 percent of them became daily tobacco users before the age of 18.
      For more information about the 21 reasons campaign, see twentyonereasons.org.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

St. Marianne Cope
ST. MARIANNE COPE’S REMAINS WILL RETURN to Hawai`i next year, according to a press release from the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities in Syracuse, New York, where the saint’s remains have been housed during her canonization process. 
      “Through great deliberation and prayer, the sisters have determined that the remains of St. Marianne Cope will return to Hawai`i,” said Sister Lorraine Wesolowski.
      The Diocese of Honolulu is in the process of renovating Our Lady of Peace Cathedral and will be building a special reliquary chapel to house the relics of both St. Marianne and St. Damien, who dedicated years of ministry in helping people afflicted with Hansen’s disease in Kalaupapa on Moloka`i.
      The relocation was prompted by the congregation’s need move due to their current facility being found to be structurally unsound and too costly to repair. A new shrine and museum will be built at a different location in Syracuse, and a relic of St. Marianne will remain there in her original reliquary.
      The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is a congregation of more than 460 sisters who serve in 12 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Africa and Peru.
      See sosf.org
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS PRESENTS a Christmas Concert tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center featuring Ka`u `Ohana Band, Ka`u Community Chorus, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana, David Matson and Ben Houghton. Call 854-1540.

PAHALA PLANTATION HOUSE HOSTS a Christmas Concert by Ka`u School of the Arts Sunday at 3 p.m. with performances by Ka`u Community Chorus, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana, David Matson and Ben Houghton. Call 854-1540.

VOLCANO ART CENTER HOLDS ITS holiday celebration for keiki Sunday at the Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Activities beginning at 3:30 p.m. include a forest music walk with Dina Kageler and friends, yule log hunt, kanikapila `ukulele group, marshmallow roast, games, ornament decorating and lighting of the Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Call 967-8222 for more information.

THE 14TH ANNUAL INVITATIONAL WREATH EXHIBIT continues at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Gallery artists, working in a wide variety of media, materials, and techniques, present their concepts of “wreath,” from the whimsical to the traditional. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 for more information.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.



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