Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, March 15, 2014

Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park are ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a fundraiser BBQ tomorrow, on the eve of the holiday. Photo by Elizabeth Fien
      $201,000 goes toward repairs to address items discovered during renovations of the roof, doors, windows and air filtration and cooling systems. Also covered are hazardous material abatement and repairs before additional renovations begin.
Improvement projects at Ka`u Hospital are receiving state funding.
Photo by Julia Neal
      $199,000 is for plumbing upgrades. Most of the hospital's pipes are more than 40 years old and require frequent repairs. In June, the hospital septic tanks were found to be corroding and posing a potential hazard to the integrity of the wastewater system. Funds are needed to finance the engineering assessment and repair the system; the remainder of the funds will be used to design the plumbing upgrade.
      A $75,000 energy audit will determine cost-efficient ways to reduce energy usage and install energy-saving equipment such as variable frequency drives, controlling devices or programs, or modifying existing systems.
      Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced release of the funds as more than $19.1 million for various capital improvement projects to upgrade and improve eight Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation facilities. “In addition to increasing safety and functionality, these projects ... will further stimulate our economy and generate more local jobs,” Abercrombie said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ralph Gaston is the new Ka`u Farm Bureau president.
COFFEE MARKETER RALPH GASTON was voted president of Ka`u Farm Bureau last night. Gaston lives at Punalu`u mauka and works with award-winning Rusty’s Hawaiian 100 Percent  Ka`u Coffee with famed Ka`u Coffee farmer Lorie Obra and partners Joan Obra and Miguel Meza. 
     The new Ka`u Farm Bureau board is comprised of four in the coffee industry, two ranchers and one small farmer. 
     Vice president is Brenda Iokepa Moses, who works in administration at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Treasurer is Lorie Obra, and secretary is Corrine Nelson, who has a farm with bananas and avocados off Lorenzo Road. Also a director is award-winning coffee farmer Willie Tabios, Kapapala rancher Lani Petrie and Kuahiwi rancher Michelle Galimba. 
      The board will serve through Aug. 31, 2014, the remainder of the Hawai`i Farm Bureau fiscal year. Statewide president of Hawai`i Farm Bureau is Chris Manfredi. Manfredi is a Ka`u Coffee marketer who has served as Ka`u Farm Bureau president since the local bureau’s inception when he was land manager of the approximately 400 acres where most of the award-winning Ka`u Coffee growers leased land after Ka`u sugar company closed in 1996.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

State Ag chief Scott Enright spoke at yesterday's
Ka`u Farm Bureau meeting.
STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE CHAIR SCOTT ENRIGHT addressed Ka`u Farm Bureau and the public last night, asking for those interested in agriculture to become more involved in the political system to garner support. He said the state Department of Agriculture budget is only “point four-four percent,” less than one percent of the state budget. He noted, however, that Ka`u is represented in government and in agricultural organizations, with rancher Michelle Galimba, a Farm Bureau board member, about to begin a second four-year term on the state Board of Agriculture. He also noted that Chris Manfredi is the new president of the statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau and urged Ka`u residents to address Manfredi or Galimba with concerns and ideas about agriculture. 
     Sara Witt asked Enright about the policy of the state Department of Agriculture toward the `Aina Koa Pono biofuels and refinery project that was planned for Ka`u and turned down twice by the state Public Utilities Commission. Enright said that “none of the biofuels projects have gotten any traction.” He said, however, that the specific AKP project is something that the Department of Agriculture would probably not weigh in on.
     Regarding invasive species, Enright said that the Department of Agriculture is sorely lacking in funding to fight the pests that can destroy crops in Hawai`i. He said a study said it would take $50 million a year to make a big impact on the invasive species that have come into Hawai`i. However, he noted that the Ag Department is “in there for the long term” to fight the coffee berry borer that has already damaged Kona and Ka`u farms.
Enright vowed to fight the coffee berry borer.
     Malian Lahey, who owns a farm in Wood Valley, advocated for permission from government for coffee farmers to grow their own Beauveria fungus strains to fight the coffee berry borer. Currently, federal regulations prevent the sale of the homegrown fungus. Manfredi said the Farm Bureau will look into the possibility of growing the fungus, manufacturing it and selling it to raise money to fight the berry borer.
     Manfredi also said that the Farm Bureau will look into certification of organic produce.
     Rick Warshauer asked whether Enright thought he could attract a bigger budget for the Department of Agriculture. Enright said that ag is “warm and fuzzy,” but not too many people press for more funding. However, he described Gov. Neil Abercrombie as supporting ag more than any governor he has known.” Nevertheless, he described his department as having a “beggar’s budget.”
     Rep. Richard Creagan said there aren’t many members of the state House of Representatives who are into ag. “They just don’t get it. … Most of the juice over there is O`ahu-centric.”
      Enright said that most people don’t understand ag. “They don’t know our narrative.” He said he wants to do a public campaign to educate the public on all that is grown in Hawai`i.
      See more in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Patricia McManaman
PATRICIA MCMANAMAN IS RETURNING AS DIRECTOR of the state Department of Human Services following a short leave of absence. “I’m happy to see Pat back in a position to build on the solid foundation she has built in the department,” Abercrombie said. 
      McManaman has served under the Abercrombie Administration since its inception in December 2010. A statement from the governor said McManaman “led the department during a difficult time due to the economic recession, when programs and funding were scaled down. Her leadership and innovation helped drive through these difficult times, and her passion and commitment moved the department forward as it improved services and expanded programs.”
      Prior to her directorship position, McManaman practiced law in Hawai`i for more than 30 years, holding a variety of public interest legal positions.
      She also served as a per diem judge in District Court and Family Court of the First Circuit for 17 years.
      McManaman has received a variety of awards and recognition for her leadership in social and public health issues.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DIGITAL SUBMISSIONS FOR HAWAI`I PHOTO EXPO 2014 are due Thursday, March 20. The juried exhibition and largest photography contest in the state offers an opportunity for students and novices as well as established professionals to showcase their best images. It takes place at Wailoa Center in Hilo from June 9 to June 25. 
      See hawaiiphotoexpo.com for fees, prizes, rules and entry forms.

Participants in tomorrow's Palm Trail Hike will enjoy one of the best
panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Photo from NPS
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK presents its Palm Trail Hike tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop trail traverses scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone with one of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Participants discover how various plant and animal introductions altered this diverse ecosystem. See nps.gov/havo.

TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR A FUNDRAISING DINNER to help keiki pay registration fees for Na`alehu and Pahala Summer Fun programs. The dinner takes place Friday, March 21 at Na`alehu Community Center and features teri-beef, rice, corn and bread for $7. Pick-up is from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
     The county planned to disband the programs in both locations until Nona Makuakane, of Pahala Community Center, suggested fundraising awards to help families pay for high registration fees. She enlisted Kathy Hashimoto and Leonora Hu, of Na`alehu Summer Fun, and Leina`ala Enos, of Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center, to see how they could solve the problem.
     Interested parents or anyone who would like to help with the fundraiser by making a donation, selling tickets or helping prepare or serve are urged to call Pahala Community Center at 928-3102. Parents who help with the fundraiser will be guaranteed an award for their child to attend Summer Fun. The amount awarded will depend on the total received from the fundraisers.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK celebrate their first annual St. Patrick’s Day Eve BBQ Fundraiser at the Hilo Coffee Mill in Mountain View tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
      The event will feature a BBQ ribs and chicken lunch, live music and other surprise entertainment. Door prizes include an overnight stay at the historic Volcano House, Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Circle of Fire & Waterfall tour for two, Body Glove Cruise for two, Umauma Zipline adventure for two, jewelry, art and much more.
      Tickets are $45 for BBQ and entertainment, or $50 for the above and one beer or wine.
      For tickets, call 985-7373, see fhvnp.org or purchase at the door.

HAWAII WILDLIFE FUND AND NATURAL AREA RESERVES teams invite volunteers to their annual Manuka Natural Area Reserve shoreline hiking cleanup in South Kona two weeks from today on Saturday, March 29. The region includes anchialine pools, rugged beaches and a couple of embayments. 
      “Every year, we are able to cover more ground and move further north along this rocky, remote shoreline,” said HWF coordinator Megan Lamson.
      Space is limited. RSVP to Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

SEE THE MARCH ISSUE of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper online at kaucalendar.com.


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