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

Nape Above Silver, by Bradley Westervelt, won third place in the enthusiast division at last year's Hawai`i Photo Expo. The deadline to enter this year's expo is Thursday, March 20. Photo from Hawai`i Photo Expo
STOLEN AND FALSELY LABELED coffee that comes from Ka`u damages the industry, said County of Hawai`i Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth. He told the public attending the Ka`u Farm Bureau annual meeting last Friday that “every coffee that gets sold but not as Ka`u coffee takes away” from the Ka`u economy and the building of the coffee’s reputation. Regarding ag programs and policing to defend and grow Ka`u coffee, Roth said, “We are unique. We need to be funded. We have only one product left that we compete with internationally at the top level. We have the top-tasting coffee in the world. We used to have sugar and pineapple,” he recalled.
Mitch Roth
      When only five people in the state House say they are affected by agriculture, “Ask them, ‘Do your kids drink milk? How many eat salad? How many people drink coffee?’” 
      “Why do state schools not use lettuce or other food grown here?” Roth asked. 
      Roth said the state needs to provide more funding to fight coffee counterfeiting, since some Ka`u coffee is being sold under other names and some other coffees may be sold as Ka`u, illegally. Coffee counterfeiting is a felony, Roth said. The county prosecutor would like to have an investigator for ag theft. The police department wants to help more, he said. The state Department of Agriculture is underfunded to police coffee, he noted.
     He said such improvements need voices of support. At the state Legislature, “If everybody in this room sent in support, the bill would move,” said Roth.
     Community policing can also help, he noted, telling the story of rambutan farmers reporting stolen rambutan at a farmers market. “How did the farmers know? Because the rambutan was being sold at a price lower than cost of production,” said Roth. 
     He reminded farmers that the law requires those selling produce to document where it comes from.
     He also talked about the overall need for more police officers. On O`ahu, there are 2,000 police officers for a territory the same size as Ka`u. On any one shift, Ka`u has two police officers.
     Coffee farmer Trinidad Marques said, “It is the root of the problem that causes all the theft.” Roth talked about the need for more youth and family support programs to bring people out of poverty and abuse.

KA`U POLICE CAPTAIN Capt. Shimabukuro told Ka`u Farm Bureau members that he grew up on farm. “I would hate to see you work so hard and have crops stolen,” he said.
      He encouraged the farmers to report crimes, saying “We need witnesses.” 
      Brenda Iokepa-Moses, the new vice president of Ka`u Farm Bureau, said that communication between police and the community is not good. She said that documenting farm theft, knowing the identity of thieves and reporting, even with video, have put her at risk. She said the thieves “laugh at me.” She encouraged the police force to talk to suspects and let them know they are being watched and that one day they will be caught with the evidence that will put them away.
      Rancher Lani Petrie asked for a workshop “so we who work the land can learn how to gather evidence.” Shimabukuro said he would work on it.
Crews cleared lava rock and debris created by a landslide on Chain of Craters Road.
NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane
County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth said police officers are a lot better in this arena than they were a few years ago.
      Statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau president Chris Manfredi asked, “How do you prevent fear of people reporting and fear of retribution?” Shimabukuro said, “We have to work together.”
      Famed coffee grower Willie Tabios, of Rising Sun Coffee, said he has been a victim. Ka`u Royal Coffee farmer Gloria Camba said she has been a victim. She said she heard that stolen Ka`u Coffee was sold in Ocean View.
      Miles Mayne, the new owner of McCall’s Flower Farm and now coffee farm in Wood Valley, asked, “Who is buying from these people?”
      John Replogle, of The Nature Conservancy, said that camera technology has improved with night vision cameras that are used by hunters. He said they are affordable and can send images to the owner and perhaps even to police.

A LANDSLIDE CLOSED A SECTION of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park below Kealakomo on Sunday. Road crews used a backhoe and dump truck to clear large boulders and slabs of lava. Heavy equipment operator Herbert Botelho removed approximately 100 cubic yards of lava rock and debris from the roadway, and the road reopened at 3 p.m. Monday.
      No one was hurt in the incident.

An owners' representative reports that the Nani Kahuku `Aina project is on hold. 
THE NANI KAHUKU AINA DEVELOPMENT on 16,000 acres along the coast west of South Point is on hold but not withdrawn, according to a statement from the owners’ representative Michael Reyes. He responded to an email request from The Ka`u Calendar on whether there is any news on conservation efforts to preserve the Ka`u Coast land. 
      “There really isn’t anything material to report ever since the Draft EIS was filed with the county a couple of years ago,” Reyes wrote. “While we have not taken any affirmative steps to move this forward, we have not officially withdrawn the application, either. There are also no pending discussions with any federal or local government agency regarding the disposition of the property at this time. So basically, we are in a holding pattern and are treating the asset as a longer-term investment.” 
      Reyes was referred to the newspaper by Tom Schnell, AICP, senior associate with PBR Hawai`i, the planning firm in Honolulu that handled the Environmental Impact Statement for Nani Kahuku `Aina. 
      Apparently, some of the ownership has changed since the EIS was written. The plan was for hotels, golf courses and condominiums along the shoreline.

PROPOSED SUBDIVISION DETAILS would be confirmed by the county Planning director or representative if a bill passes the County Council requiring visitation to each proposed subdivision site. Bill 182 would require “a site visit of property (ies) affected by a proposed subdivision action to verify accuracy of information shown on the preliminary plat map or any omissions required by the Subdivision Code, and the site conditions that could result in deleterious effects to general welfare and health of the community,” states the agenda for the Leeward Planning Commission meeting on Thursday, April 3 at 9 a.m. at the Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. The measure is proposed by the County Council.
Halau Leionalani's participation in last year's Lana`i cultural festival is airing
on Channel 54 this month.
HULA HALAU O LEIONALANI FROM KA`U is featured in a film about a cultural festival on Lana`i, which will air starting today on Channel 54. The film Lana`i will likely also be seen on Kaua`i, Lana`i and Maui, said the film’s producer and editor Wendell Kaehuaea. Since the festival, Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder and her husband Kawehi have moved to Pahala, where their family has purchased a home.
      Air dates and times are Tuesday, March 18, 3 p.m.; Friday, March 21, 1 p.m.; Saturday, March 22, 8 p.m.; Monday, March 24, 9 p.m.; Friday, March 28, 10 p.m.; and Saturday, March 29, 10:30 p.m.
      The halau meets on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Old Pahala Clubhouse on Maile Street.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

VOLCANO ART CENTER IS OFFERING free Spring Break Art classes for keiki in grades 2 – 5 this week at its Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Sessions take place from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. today through Thursday. The program is made possible through a grant from the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.
      For more information, call 967-8222.

Items are being accepted tomorrow and Thursday for a rummage sale benefiting
Discovery Harbour Volunteer Fire Department. Photo from DHCA
DISCOVERY HARBOUR COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION is accepting items for a rummage sale to support its volunteer fire department tomorrow and Thursday, March 19 and 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
      The rummage sale takes place Friday and Saturday, March 21 and 22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The sale also features hot dog lunches for $5 on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
      Proceeds go toward the purchase of supplies not provided by the county. 

HAWAI`I ANT LAB PERSONNEL PROVIDE information about little fire ants and discuss methods of control during a community meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.

HAWAIIAN MUSICIAN BEN KA`ILI offers a free concert tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Park entrance fees apply.

THURSDAY IS THE DEADLINE TO ENTER the 2014 Hawai`i Photo Expo, the state's premier photo contest, with categories for beginners, enthusiasts and masters. For more information, see hawaiiphotoexpo.com.

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


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