Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Feb. 28, 2014

Volcano Art Center Gallery hosts an exhibit of John Mydock's wood-turning art beginning tomorrow. Photo from VAC
FOLLOWING A HAWAI`I FISHING ASSOCIATION petition filed last year, the state of Alaska has filed one to remove North Pacific humpback whales that feed off Alaska’s Arctic Coast and breed in Hawaiian waters from protections granted under the federal Endangered Species Act. Petitioners say the whales are thriving and no longer need the protection, reports Zaz Hollander in Anchorage Daily News. Hollander describes the Alaskan waters where the whales feed as “a prospective oil-rich region.”
      Hollander reports Alaska officials saying that, given the recovery of humpbacks, the law represents an unnecessary regulatory burden on industries like oil and gas and fishing.
Humpback whales feed in Alaska before migrating to Hawai`i and elsewhere to breed.
Photo from afsc.noaa.gov
      “We’re just trying to say the threat of extinction for this subpopulation is gone,” said Doug Vincent-Lang, director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation.
      Alaska’s petition declares the whales a distinct population, which could lead to removal of protection for that population while others remain on the Endangered Species List.
      Since being listed as endangered in 1970, the whale population in the North Pacific has rebounded from an estimated 1,400 in 1996 to an estimated 20,000 today.
      If delisted, other protections, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which protects humpbacks from harassment and hunting, would remain in place.
      Opponents of reduced federal protection say the North Pacific’s whales still face too many threats, including fatal boat collisions, fishing gear entanglement and changing ocean chemistry.
      According to Hollander, Rebecca Noblin, Alaska director for the Center for Biological Diversity, said the numbers of whales appear to be growing, which is a sign of success from the Endangered Species Act. “But we think that National Marine Fisheries Service should really take a careful look at the threats to these species before they jump to delisting,” Noblin said.
      See adn.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RATHER THAN GROWING SEED CROPS, “We want food grown,” Mayor Billy Kenoi said regarding his decision in December to sign into law the bill banning new crops containing genetically modified organisms in Hawai`i County. In a West Hawai`i Today story, Erin Miller says Kenoi told attendees at a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon that he opposes having “big agribusiness” grow seed crops here, as they are on Kaua`i.  
      More important, he said, was calming down the discussion and respecting the island’s farmers and ranchers, who can continue to grow the GMO products they already are growing.
      “If I had vetoed that legislation, we’d still be shouting and yelling about GMO today,” Kenoi said. “We needed to quiet the yelling and shouting. We need to talk about how we support our farmers and ranchers.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Coffee berry borers lay eggs in cherries and destroy contents.
Image from Big Island Video News
LEGISLATION THAT WOULD BATTLE the coffee berry borer has cleared a major hurdle as it was unanimously passed out of the House Committee on Finance. HB 1514 would appropriate $3 million to create and fund a research program in the Department of Agriculture and provide funds for education and outreach to farmers through the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at University of Hawai`i. The bill now moves to the House floor, where it is expected to pass third reading and cross over to the Senate. 
      “Funding to combat the coffee berry borer infestation is clearly critical,” said Hawai`i Island Rep. Nicole Lowen, “but we need to do more than throw money at the issue. If this bill passes, we will finally be getting direct assistance through a Department of Agriculture subsidy program and dedicated full-time employees through CTAHR to reach out to farmers and educate them on what to do.”
       Scott Enright, acting chair of Hawai`i Board of Agriculture, said, “Coordinated efforts between the industry and agricultural agencies are the only way that we will turn the tide against this devastating pest.”
      In recent years the coffee berry borer beetle has become a major threat to Hawai`i’s coffee industry, which is responsible for $30 million in revenue annually. While past efforts have provided much-needed funds to help mitigate the infestation, this bill goes a step further. In the past, the responsibility for implementing a mitigation program has fallen to the CBB task force members, who have been granted funds from the state through the lengthy procurement process.
      “The coffee berry borer task force has done their best, but, as a group of volunteers, they lack the time and expertise to implement a program on the scale needed to get the infestation under control. With the help of DOA and CTAHR, we can get a lot more done. With this bill, I think we have finally hit on a possible long-term solution,” Lowen said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u Chamber of Commerce raises scholarship
funds through The Directory.
SCHOLARSHIPS FROM THE KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE are open to students and adults through funding from the recently released Ka`u Directory 2014. The Ken Wicks Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Scholarship is available not only to high school seniors, but also to adults seeking to re-enter the educational system.
      Applicants must write an essay about Ka`u and their future plans.
      Preference will be given to those who intend to remain in or return to Ka`u and live here. Scholarship money can be used for all college and vocational training and will range from $250 to $1,000. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2014. For more information and to download the application, see kauchamber.org/?page_id=4 or call Lee McIntosh at 929-9872.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE TRAINING prerequisites will be explained at a meeting sponsored by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. and the University of Hawai`i-Hilo & Hawai`i Community College Nursing and Allied Health Division. The LPN Program Pre-requisites Informational Meeting will be on Tuesday, Mar. 18 at 1 p.m. at Ka`u Resource and Distance Learning Center, 96-3126 Puahala Street in Pahala. Those interested in applying for the training must be at least 18 years of age. Call 928-0101 to reserve a spot at the meeting.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A FAST TRACK CAREER and student workforce support program will be sponsored by Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. in partnership with Hawai`i Community College and DLIR Workforce Development Division. They will host an informational meeting about Individualized Career Achievement Network, called ICAN, which is designed to help students improve in reading, writing, math and computer skills in preparation for a new career in the areas of agriculture, energy and healthcare. This meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 18, at 9 a.m. at Ka`u Resource and Distance Learning Center, 96-3126 Puahala Street in Pahala. Call 928-0101 to register.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MYDOCK: VISIONARY WOOD LATHE ART opens tomorrow at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, with a reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Award-winning wood lathe artist John Mydock displays his newest body of work, which represents his creative passion for turning and embellishing Hawaiian tropical hardwoods, through Sunday, March 30.
      Mydock moved to Hawai`i Island in 1998 from Florida, where he had been known primarily as an airbrush artist on motorcycles and antique automobiles. Seven years ago, Mydock began turning wooden vessels on a lathe. Since then, he has developed two signature styles of embellishing his vessels — pearlizing and pyrography. With pearlizing, Mydock has reinvented his automotive techniques of airbrushing transparent candy color, gold-leafing and pinstriping to create a glass-like finish on wooden vessels. With pyrography, or wood-burning, Mydock embeds many images within each individual piece. 
      Mydock said, “My artistic intent for this show is to offer respect for the `aina, for the majesty of our volcanoes and the many forms that Creation takes on our islands. My morphing pyrography depicts reef and ocean creatures, birds, petroglyphs, flowers and fauna. My pearlized pieces are representative of the many moods of the volcano and the ocean.”
      Mydock also demonstrates his pyrography techniques from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 on the gallery porch. Volcano Art Center Gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and has represented the artists of Hawai`i since 1974. Park entrance fees apply.
      For more information, call at 967-7565 or volcanoartcenter.org.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets today at 5 p.m. at Hawaiian Ranchos office.

PANCAKE SUPPER is today at 6 p.m. at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Call 939-7000 for more information.


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