Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs April 26, 2013

Tonight's Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant highlights the talents of candidates Kawailani Houvener, Tiare-Lee Shibuya,
Rachel Ornelas and Seneca Lee Oleyte. Photo by Nalani Parlin
SHUTTING DOWN VIDEOCONFERENCING of County Council and other county meetings to the remote Ocean View Community Association site is the aim of several County Council members, according to a notice from Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford.
      Ford stated that she objects to cutting funds for the program that allows Ka`u residents to see Council meetings live and to testify live from District 6. She asked the community to testify to keep it open.
Ocean View Community Center hosted a candidate forum
attended by Council member Brenda Ford during last
year's elections.
      Ford said that access to government is more important than some other proposed expenditures by the County Council members, including sending six of them to the National Association of Counties meeting this coming fiscal year in Washington, D.C. Ford said that usually one Council member representing Hawai`i Island flies to D.C. for the meeting. Adding on the expense of five more County Council members to go to the meeting will cost an additional $20,000, and Ford objects to that expenditure.
      Ocean View Community Center “has very graciously allowed the Council to rent the OVCC offices downstairs four days per month for this public outreach program at a reasonable rate,” notes Ford, saying, “Here’s the real problem: two and possibly three of the council members object to keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open at the Ocean View Community Center during the next Fiscal Year 2013-2014 to save money ($19,400: rent plus staff expenses). Of course, those Council members already have a videoconferencing site in their districts.
       “The reason those Council members want to close the Ka`u site is that very few people come to hear the committee meetings and the Council meetings at OVCC. Even fewer people actually testify before the Council. Most attendees prefer to sit and listen off to the side of the room when they do attend.”
      Ford said that two Council members “demanded that I provide a count of how many Ka`u residents are attending and testifying via videoconference.
      “The purpose for this demand,” Ford stated, “is to ‘prove’ that Ka`u does not want or need a videoconferencing site, and the County Council could save $19,400 by not having this public outreach videoconferencing location in Ka`u. I disagree. Government should be taken to the people in a convenient manner that meets their needs.”
Council member Brenda Ford asks residents to help keep
videoconferencing of county government meetings
available at Ocean View Community Center.
      Ford said that former Ka`u Council member Brittany Smart “worked very hard to find alocation and obtain equipment to open a videoconference site in Ka`u for the benefit of the public in Ka`u. While we are still trying to work some bugs out of the technology, this is the only place in Ka`u from which the residents may testify. We are improving our notification by email to Ka`u.”
      She said that while budget negotiations continue, there is no money in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 for a Ka`u videoconferencing site. “I intend to amend the Council’s budget to add sufficient funds to continue the OVCC videoconferencing site in Ka`u at least until June 30, 2014, which is the end of the next fiscal year. I will continue to try to find a permanent county location for a videoconference site at a lower cost.”
       Ford called for the public to assist in keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open. “We need to get the word out to the community about the videoconferencing site and ask them to come and testify on any issue on the agenda at each meeting. I will send committee and Council agendas to everyone on my email list in Ka`u, which you may forward to friends and neighbors.
       “We need the community to testify on Monday, May 13 beginning at approximately 9 a.m. on the budget amendments, especially on those items that impact Ka`u. I would like people to testify about keeping the Ka`u videoconferencing site open for the public to listen and testify, and the Ka`u public needs to use the site.”
      She asked that questions be directed to her office at 323-4277 or 961-8027.

A study of algae is in this
month's Marine Biology.
ALGAE ON THE SEAFLOOR is important to food webs and fish populations in Hawaiian waters, according to a recent study.
      The study, which took place in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, showed that bottom-dwelling algae served as the base of the food web, culminating in large predatory fishes at the top. Sharks and other large fish consume smaller fishes, which in turn have eaten algae growing on the seafloor.
      The findings, published earlier this month in the journal Marine Biology, “have immediate implications for management of healthy coral reef resources and the restoration of unhealthy reefs,” the authors said in a statement. “Since ecosystems were found to be heavily dependent on benthic algae, any impacts to other such reefs and their algae – like damage from bottom trawling, coral bleaching or other threats – could trickle up the food web.”
       “Benthic algae were found to support a majority of the fish production in this coral reef ecosystem,” said Anna Hilting, lead author and oceanographer with NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science. “Even some coastal tunas, such as the kawakawa, were partially dependent on primary productivity occurring on the reef bottom.”
      Randall Kosaki, NOAA deputy superintendent of Papahanaumokuakea and a co-author of the report, said the study demonstrates the importance of keeping reefs healthy.
       “Anything affecting native algal species, such as sedimentation, dredging or the spread of non-native invasive algae, will ultimately impact the abundance of prized food fish such as snapper or jacks,” Kosaki said. “Taking care of the reef itself will help to ensure healthy fish populations.”
      The study, Evidence for Benthic Primary Production Support of an Apex Predator-Dominated Coral Reef Food Web, is available at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00227-013-2220-x.

A BILL THAT PROVIDES an exemption from building code requirements and expands existing building permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings or structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside the urban district has passed the state Legislature and been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
      SB586 is supported by Local Food Coalition, a group of farmers, ranchers, livestock producers, investors and other organizations that collectively manage more than one million acres of land and produce the majority of food in the state.
      Members of LFC include Hawai`i Farm Bureau, Hawai`i Cattlemen’s Council, 4 Ag Hawai`i, Ulupono Initiative, Hawai`i Aquaculture & Aquaponics Association and The Kohala Center.

MISS KA`U COFFEE IS CROWNED this evening at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant is the first of several events scheduled during the 2013 Ka`u Coffee Festival.
      Miss Ka`u Coffee and her court will be at the Triple C Recipe Contest on Sunday and preside over the ho`olaule`a next Saturday, May 4.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA is opening several training areas for bow hunting from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday. Training Areas 1- 4 will be open for bow hunting of mammals, only. Training Areas 17, 19 and 20, which are fenced conservation areas, will also be open for bow hunting of mammals to support ongoing protection efforts for threatened and endangered species, according to statement from PTA.
      For more information, call PTA Hunter’s Hotline at 969-3474 or see garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the Hunting tab.

JUNIOR CLASS RODEO, sponsored by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association, takes place tomorrow at Na`alehu Rodeo Arena behind Na`alehu Park. Tickets are $7, and keiki ages 12 and under get in free. Slack roping starts at 8 a.m., with the show starting at noon.

Elizabeth Miller discusses her work exhibited in
The Nature of Nature tomorrow. Photo from VAC
DEMONSTRATIONS AND HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES are scheduled tomorrow at Volcano Garden Arts in Volcano Village from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for the art program at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences. 

JOHN MATSUSHITA AND LIZ MILLER provide insight into their works currently on display in The Nature of Nature exhibit tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The program is free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 or see volcanoartcenter.org for more information.


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