Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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The Ka`u Calendar, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014

Anyone seeing this Kamehameha butterfly is asked to log onto kamehamehabutterfly.com and upload reports and photos. This is a male.
Photo by Nathan Yuen  from kamehamehabutterfly.com

GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM LABELING IS FAVORED by the majority of those interviewed in a recent poll conducted by Ward Research Inc. for Hawai`i News Now and the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Derrick DePledge reported the polling this morning in the Advertiser, quoting Rep. Jessica Wooley, who chairs the state House of Representatives Agriculture Committee. She supports labeling and stated “I think it’s easy to see the importance of transparency, especially in the marketplace. It's easy. It's not a difficult choice. It's something we should have done a long time ago," the Advertiser reported her saying.
     DePledge reported that “the poll found that only a quarter of voters consider themselves very familiar with GMOs. Yet those with the most knowledge about GMOs tend to be the most concerned about the issue.” The story pointed out that west Ka`u state Sen. Josh Green, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, “has moved two bills that would require GMO labeling by January. But the legislation now sits before the Senate Ways and Means and the Commerce and Consumer Protection committees and — for one of the bills — the Senate Agriculture Committee, where there is resistance among senators.”
    DePledge wrote that “Hawai`i has been a flash point in the anti-GMO movement because several large biotechnology companies, including Monsanto, have experimental seed crops in the islands. Kaua`i County passed a law last year that regulates GMO and pesticide use which is being challenged by biotech companies in federal court. Hawai`i County approved a law that prohibits new GMO crops.”
     He also pointed out that “Lauren Zirbel, executive director of the Hawai`i Food Industry Association, has warned state lawmakers that a GMO labeling requirement would likely drive up Hawai`i's already high food prices. Mainland and foreign manufacturers, if forced to label, may also choose not to ship products to Hawai`i given the state's relatively small consumer market.”
See more at www.staradvertiser.com
     The Hawai`i County Council was expected to take up a proposed resolution today to give the counties home rule in regulating GMOs.
To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
Mayor Billy Kenoi
Photo by Julia Neal

AN ETHICS PROPOSAL BY MAYOR BILLY KENOI is another item on the County Council agenda today, this one at the Finance Committee meeting. Kenoi’s proposal would prevent county contracts from going to companies owned by those who work for the county or serve on its boards and commissions, and their spouses and dependent children. The restriction would kick in for contracts with a set value, the minimum value yet to be determined. Ka`u Rep. Brenda Ford voted for such ethics restrictions in the past. Hilo council man Dennis Onishi voted against a similar bill in the past.
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BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS TO A NEW $4.7 MILLION INFORMATION SYSTEM installed by the State of Hawai`i administration could come as early as next year, according to Sonny Bhagowala, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s chief technology advisor. Bhagowala was quoted in Civil Beat this morning in a story by Sophie Cocke, who pointed out that “The state’s technology office is in the process of rolling out a half-million dollar system that allows the governor’s office to better manage thousands of communications from constituents and track bills that are moving through the Legislature.”
Sonny Bhagowala
Photo from hawaii.gov
      She said the state Office of Information Management & Technology has paid Lockheed Martin $474,544 over the last year and a half for an Intranet Quorum system and training. “Even though the public is paying for the system, which is expected to be expanded to other state departments in the coming months, it’s strictly for internal government use,” Cocke wrote, quoting Bhagowala. She stated, however, that Bhagowala “who described himself as a ‘big open government advocate,’ said that in general the public should have much easier access to government records.” She said he noted the intense amount of work needed to overhaul the state's information technology system. Civil Beat pointed to the promise of the technology office’s website, which states the “need for greater government transparency and accountability.” See more at www.civilbeat.comTo comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE PULELEHUA PROJECT IS SEEKING help from Ka`u residents in tracking Kamehameha butterflies, vanessa tameamea. Although the butterfly is historically known from all the main Hawaiian Islands, it is no longer found in some areas where it used to be common, and it appears to be declining. Anyone who sees a Kamehameha butterfly, caterpillar, egg or chrysalis can submit photos and observations to kamehamehabutterfly.com. The data will be used to map the current distribution of Kamehameha butterflies and help determine how and why its population has declined.
      The website has information about how to find and identify the different life stages and host plants of the Kamehameha butterfly.
Moist forests like those in the highlands of Ka`u where mamaki tea plants grow wild
 are a perfect home for Kamehameha butterfly. Photo from kamehamehabutterfly.org
    The Kamehameha butterfly is related to painted ladies and admirals, a group of butterflies that is found all over the world. However, the Kamehameha butterfly, found only in Hawai`i, evolved here after a species of butterfly somehow dispersed across the ocean and colonized the islands, according to the website. Over millions of years of isolation, it diverged from its ancestors enough to be considered a different species. It is one of only two native species of butterflies in Hawai`i; the other is Blackburn’s blue butterfly, Udara blackburni.
      Hawai`i has several species of orange and black butterflies that might be mistaken for the Kamehameha butterfly. Before submitting photos, participants can visit the “common lookalikes” page on the website to confirm that an observation is really a Kamehameha butterfly.
      The Kamehameha butterfly, like all native wildlife, is protected, and it is illegal to collect specimens without a permit, even on private land. Participants should use photographs to document observations of the butterfly and its immature stages (egg, caterpillar, and chrysalis).
      Adult butterflies are the most conspicuous life stage to the casual observers, but they are fast flyers and notoriously difficult to photograph. The website suggests looking for them in places where their host plants are common.
      The Kamehameha butterfly is highly specific to the plant family Urticaceae (nettle relatives), and its caterpillars are found only on the Hawaiian species in this family. The most common host plant is mamaki. Others are olona, opuhe and `akolea. These plants are typically found in areas with native vegetation and moderate to heavy rainfall, often in shady areas or gulches. Most of them are shrubs or small trees, with broad, papery leaves and prominent veins.
To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE MEDITATIVE DRAWING PRACTICE of Zentagle will be taught this Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nia`ulani Campus of Volcano Art Center on Old Volcano Road. “Zentangle is a method for creating beautiful images using structured patterns. It’s easy to do and enjoyed by a wide range of ages and skill levels.” It supports relaxation, focus, inspiration and a sense of well-being, says a statement from Volcano Art Center. Cost is $35, $30 for members, and $10 supply fee. Call 967-8222.

TOWN HALL MEETING with state SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN will be open to the public next Monday, Feb. 24 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House on the corner of Maile and Pikake Streets. Light refreshments will be served. Call 808-586-6890 or email senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2014 ONLINE. For a page-turning version, see www.kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf. For a pdf version, see www.kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.pdf.


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