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The Ka`u Calendar, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014

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Four-wheel-drive vehicles carry volunteers to Kamilo Point for the first of five Ka`u Coast Cleanups scheduled by
 Hawai`i Wildlife Fund this year.  Photo from HWF
DESIGNATING THE `UKULELE as the official instrument of the state is the topic of a hearing at the state Legislature today at 1:15 p.m. SB3107 passed its first reading, and the Senate Committee on Technology & the Arts has approved it.
      According to the bill, the first recorded sighting of a ukulele can be traced back to 1886, when Honolulu newspaper editor Augustus Marques discussed it in an article on music in Hawai`i.  The `ukulele has roots in Portugal and "was popularized by Hawaiian royalty, plantation workers, and musicians. … The legislature finds that the popularity of ukulele music continues to grow throughout our islands, the mainland and beyond.”
`Ukulele building workshop sponsored by Keoki Kahumoku at Pahala
Plantation House. Photo by Julia Neal
     The bill also reads, “The Legislature finds that the beautiful sound of the `ukulele has inspired generations of musicians and fans, and has often kindled camaraderie during impromptu jam sessions. In recognition of talented `ukulele instructors and musicians past, present and future throughout these islands and the world, the Legislature honors this truly amazing musical instrument and its history in Hawai`i.”       More on this and other bills being considered is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.

SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN brought the state Senate to the community last night with a public gathering at Pahala Plantation House. The meeting attended by ranchers, educators, a scientist, farmers, a police commissioner and members of Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, drew discussion about many Ka`u issues.
     Invasive species discussion brought up the examples of New Zealand and Australia, which attempt to keep out imported agricultural raw materials that could arrive full of invasives. Scientist Rick Warshauer, of Volcano, noted that importing cheap coffee from other countries to blend with Kona and now Ka`u coffee likely brought in the coffee berry borer that is devastating the industry. He gave examples of importing nursery plants that have brought in disease and insects that affect native species and damage farms. He said the state could look at considering whether a particular food could be grown here when considering whether to allow it to be imported unprocessed.
      California, for example, denies entrance of certain fruits and vegetables grown in Hawai`i into its markets, fearing that pests from Hawai`i would destroy its citrus crops, for example.
     Ruderman said he would study import restrictions in New Zealand, Australia and other locales to learn more about what is working to control invasives. To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HOW TO REACH LEGISLATORS with community opinion is important for Ka`u people, given the cost of going to the Capitol to testify in person, Ruderman said. He and his staff members who attended the meeting in Pahala said they the Neighbor Island Video
Sen. Russell Ruderman met with Ka`u constituents last night
at Pahala Plantation House. Photo by Julia Neal
Conferencing Pilot Project. It is similar to the one available for County Council and commission meetings from Ocean View Community Center. However, the Senate program allows citizens to testify from their own homes, offices or other locales. The pilot program is currently limited to the Senate Committee on Education and the senate Committee on Technology & the Arts. Those who participate must submit written testimony at least 24 hours before the hearing on the issue. An internet connection, webcam and email address are required. Ruderman’s staff urged Ka`u residents to use the system so the program will be approved legislature-wide.
     Written testimony can also be emailed to various Senate committees through the capitol website. See http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/senate.aspx?testimonypanel=on#panel. Also see the Hawai`I Public Access Room at http://lrbhawaii.org/par
   Ruderman said he staff will work with any Ka`u constituents on submitting testimony. He suggested faxing, mailing and calling are also important and that going to the capitol, with a specific important issue, does get the attention of the legislators. Ruderman’s staff can be reached through http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/memberpage.aspx?member=ruderman.
     See more on the community talk story with the senator in tomorrow's Ka`u News Briefs.
To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IMPROVEMENTS AT KA`U SCHOOLS are included in Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s release of more than $62.4 million for capital improvement projects at various Hawai`i Department of Education facilities across the state.
      “These funds will help to create a better learning environment for our keiki and provide teachers with the tools they need to succeed,” Abercrombie said. “In the process, the funds will create work for hundreds in Hawai`i.”
      Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the governor:
      $36,365,000 – Improving and Maintaining Facilities and Infrastructure – Planning, design, construction and equipment to improve and maintain facilities and infrastructure for various schools statewide. DOE’s estimated backlog for repair and maintenance is at $265 million. These projects include general school building improvements, electrical upgrades and playground equipment repair, along with maintenance and other school repairs and renovations.

Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School is one of many state Department of Education
 facilities scheduled for capital improvement projects. Photo from Office of the Governor
      $7,554,000 – Program Support – Planning, land, design, construction and equipment for program support at various schools statewide, including new/temporary facilities, improvements to existing facilities, ground and site improvements, and for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and gender equity.
      $7.5 million – Equity – Design and construction for equality projects to improve instructional spaces such as science labs, special education classroom renovations and classrooms on a statewide basis for classroom/learning environment parity. Equity projects also include energy improvements relating to heat abatement in classrooms.
      $5.8 million – Capacity – Plans, land, design, construction and equipment for capacity projects at various schools statewide nearing their enrollment capacity or that are short of classroom space.
      $5.2 million – Staff Costs and Project Positions – Fiscal Year 2014 costs related to wages and fringe benefits for 60 project-funded permanent staff.
To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THANKS TO THE HARD WORK of 42 individuals, Hawai`i Wildlife Fund volunteers were able to remove 1,526 pounds of marine debris from the south end of Kamilo Point during their February cleanup. In total, they removed 27 bags of miscellaneous non-net debris weighing 1,101 pounds and approximately 425 pounds of smaller derelict fishing nets from along a three-quarter-mile stretch of shoreline.
      Eleven of these bags were saved from the landfill, as they will be recycled by Method cleaning products and re-used for art projects by local artist Don Elwing and Georgia artist Pam Longobardi.
      Coordinator Megan Lamson estimated that they collected at least 18,517 pieces. Of those, 92 percent were plastics, with the remainder being rubber, clothing, glass, metal and wood. Interesting finds include several possible Japanese tsunami debris items: a large, 10-foot boat fragment, a small refrigerator door and a toilet seat.
      Four more Hawai`i Wildlife Fund Ka`u Coast Cleanups are scheduled this year: Saturday, May 24; Sunday, July 13; Saturday, Sept. 20; and Saturday, Nov. 15.  For more information and to sign up, email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.
To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
Stargazing is a Ka`u Coffee Festival
event. See www.kaucoffeefest.com.
Photo by Andrew Richard Hara
KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL volunteers meet at 5:30 p.m. today at Pahala Community Center. Interested parties are welcome to join in the planning for the annual series of events from March 2 - 11.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS COOPERATIVE meets this evening at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.

A BAHA`I FAITH DEVOTIONAL takes place tonight and every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at 96-1164 Holei St. at the corner of Ohia in Pahala. The two story home is across from the Pahala senior housing. "The Bahai Faith is a world religion whose sole purpose is to promote unity of mankind in the world," said host Alan Moores who can be reached at artbyalan2011@gmail.com.

THE JAPANESE TRADITION OF GIRLS DAY will be celebrated tomorrow, Feb. 26 at Pahala Community Center from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Call Nona at 928-3102.

HAT AND FEATHER LEI MAKING will be demonstrated by Kilohana and Lehua Domingo tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon at Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. will meet Thursday, feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center.

PANCAKE SUPPER is this Friday, Feb. 28, 6 p.m. at St. Jude's Church in Ocean View. 939-7000









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