Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 3179

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, March 24, 2014

Na`alehu Elementary students Chrystal Quiros and Saphire Kahakua-Brown won third place in the Elementary Division of last year's Art of Recycling contest with Water Cycle. This year's contest is coming up in April. Photo by Susan Champeny
RICHARD HA RESPONDED THIS MORNING to Sen. Russell Ruderman’s opposition to his reappointment to the state Board of Agriculture: “We should be toning down the rhetoric, not ramping it up as Sen. Ruderman did by writing that he was revulsed by my reappointment to the Board of Ag. What we need as we move into an uncertain future of rising energy and food costs is the spirit of aloha. Let’s come together to have a meaningful and respectful discussion about our food security.
Richard Ha
      “Saying that I am an enemy of organic farming is not true. You can see on my blog ... that I see the problem of rising costs for both conventional and organic farmers. We have to help each other address those costs. I feel that we need all farmers to be able to feed Hawai`i. I’m in favor of organic farming. The problem with organic farming is the large, industrial farming on the mainland having lower costs of production than the organic farming here in Hawai`i. So that’s why conventional and organic farmers have to help each other. It is not accurate to say that I am against organic. That is not right.
      Ha said that “Sen. Ruderman said he was revulsed by my reappointment when emailing people about his opposition to my having a second term on the Board of Agriculture. That is inappropriate for a person in his position because it sends a shiver through the agricultural community, and people could be afraid to speak out.”
      Ha said, “This is not about me, but the appropriateness of his actions, given his special position of being a senator. That’s the problem. It makes people afraid that what is said in public is different than what is said in private.”
      On his blog, hahaha.hamakuasprings.com, Ha discusses organic farming. “Organic, hydroponic, conventional, big farmers, small farmers: We need to find ways to coexist,” Ha writes. He says that, because Hawai`i doesn’t have a winter season, both organic and conventional farmers here are at a disadvantage. “We use much more energy than a mainland farmer to produce our crops, because we are always having to fight insects and diseases. This is just reality. We have to rely on different methods here, many of them dependent on energy that only gets more and more expensive, and all of this increases our costs. We need to work together to lower each other’s costs, not fight about methods and labels and all that.”
      Ha writes that getting costs down “will improve the Big Island’s food security (being able to get adequate and sufficient food) and move us further toward our goal of increased food self-sufficiency (growing what we need right here at home).”

KA`U FARMERS planning to start a Ka`u chapter of the Hawai`i Farmers Union United are invited to a meeting of the Kona chapter, which covers Ka`u. It will be held this Thursday, March 27, 5:30 p.m. at Buddha’s Cup Coffee, 78-1377 Bishop Road (Old Poi Factory Rd) in Holualoa. The event is a potluck and features speaker Bob Shaffer, who will discuss benefits of compost and micro-organisms in improving the health of soil. Steve Bess will speak about a new agriculture mediation program available to the farming community. “Along with your delicious local dish, please bring your own plates, utensils and cups so we can reduce our impact on this beautiful island,” said HFUU president Steven Sakala. 
      Ka`u member Malian Lahey, who is helping to organize a local chapter, said that “Hawai`i Farmer's Union United is a national organization that supports family farmers. It is neither pro- nor anti-GMO, but supports GMO labeling. HFUU is devoted to carrying the requests and needs of small farmers to lawmakers at the state and federal level.”
      Call Sakala at 757-7945 or Lahey at 808-280-2851.
      Information about the organization is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smDxIWKgXk4&feature=em-share_video_user#aid=P-PrcjnCHZQ.

Alu Like is one organization that will continue
to receive federal funding.
MEASURES FOR NATIVE HAWAIIAN CHILDREN proposed by U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz are included in the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 that the Senate passed recently. The bill updates and improves the Child Care Development Block Grant program created in 1990, which provides states with federal funding to help low-income families afford child care while working or in job training programs. 
      “More than 9,000 children in Hawai`i are able to attend child care programs thanks to the federal Child Care and Development Fund,” said Hirono. “This bipartisan bill strengthens safety and program quality to better focus on the healthy development of our keiki. The additional measures added to the bill will ensure that Native Hawaiian child care programs such as Alu Like and Keiki o Ka `Aina will continue to receive the resources they need to best serve children and working families across our state.”
      The Senate also passed an amendment to increase funding for Native and tribal child-care organizations, including Native Hawaiian organizations. The amendment, cosponsored by Hirono, increases current Native organization funding from “not more than two percent” to “not less than two percent” of total CCDBG federal funds.
      Schatz said, “We must build more opportunities for native children to learn and excel in school and fulfill their true potential, and we need to provide tribes and native communities with the tools and support needed to design programs in ways to best serve the needs and circumstances of native children in their communities.”
      The CCDBG Act of 2014 makes several improvements to the current child-care law:
  • Requires states to coordinate with existing early education programs, special education and Native Hawaiian organizations. 
  • Requires comprehensive background checks for all child care providers receiving federal funds, including state criminal and sex-offender registries and state-based abuse and neglect registries. 
  • Shares information on quality child care options, how families can access key resources and posts the results of health and safety inspections online. 
  • Calls for child care providers to undergo training in First Aid and CPR, prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and child abuse prevention. 
  • Helps provide increased professional development, including child care college coursework or credentials. 
  • Allows CCDBG funds to be used to construct and renovate native child care facilities.

Rep. Richard Creagan
Rep. Richard Onishi
KA`U REPRESENTATIVES VOTED IN FAVOR of the 2014-15 supplemental state budget passed by the state House. 
      “This budget recognizes the importance of agricultural sustainability and the need to provide greater support to our farmers and ranchers,” said Ka`u Rep. Richard Onishi during the vote. “It includes over $9.2 million dollars to bring valuable water throughout the state via irrigation projects and $3.5 million dollars for important watershed projects for Upcountry Maui and Hawai`i Island’s Hamakua districts.
      “The budget supports our livestock industries and provides $3 million dollars for a Zero Waste Conversion Project, which will focus on the development of livestock feed and biofuel. It also recognizes that aquaculture plays an important role in our food sustainability, and allocates $300,000 for a Fish Feed Feasibility study. The budget also includes funding for the national Ag Corps program and for a Farm to School Coordinator.”
      Ka`u Rep. Richard Creagan said, “I am pleased that this includes $482,000 for new equipment for our state laboratories, almost $3 million for programs that service individuals with disabilities, and $2.8 million for Hilo Medical Center’s Primary Care Training Program which, while based in Hilo, will provide medical training for physicians throughout the Big Island, including Kona Hospital and Ka`u Family Health Center.”

Student volunteers help with the Keeping It Green Hawai`i program.
Photo by Rene Mansho
RECYCLE HAWAI`I AND EARTH-FRIENDLY SCHOOLS HAWAI`I invite Ka`u schools, organizations, businesses and government agencies here to work toward earning Keeping It Green Hawai`i awards. The KIGH program highlights projects and activities that promote recycling, resource awareness and sustainable practices in Hawai`i. The program recognizes positive green projects that are being implemented in the community, thereby encouraging others to create projects that care for our environment and take action to address local and global issues. 
      To be considered for a Keeping It Green Hawai`i award, nominees must meet at least three criteria established by Recycle Hawai`i. Criteria range from practicing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle; protecting natural resources and native species; alternative energy and green building practices, to respect for native Hawaiin gathering rights and cultural practices.
      “Since initiating the Keeping It Green Hawai`i program in 2007, 50 businesses, organizations and schools have shared their ways and means of promoting green practices and sustainability,” said Recycle Hawai`i executive director Paul J. Buklarewicz. “The growing awareness and participation in KIGH by so many who express their conscious actions highlights their strongly held conviction in environmental stewardship of our fragile island communities.”
      Awardees for 2013 KIGH, which were announced in March, are The Green House Center for Sustainability and Going Green Recycling Community Clean-Up Program on O`ahu, plus Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) and Hualalai Academy on Hawai`i Island.
      For more information, see recyclehawaii.org or call 808-969-2012.

Over Under, by K-2 students at Volcano School of Arts &
Sciences, won Elementary Division first place last year.
Photo by Marsha Hee
TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE for teachers to register their students in Recycle Hawai`i’s ninth annual Art of Recycling School Competition, which takes place next month. The program aims to increase environmental awareness and encourage recycling and sustainable practices in our community. This popular event is open to students in grades K-12 who create original artwork from recycled or reusable materials for jury and exhibit. 
      An ARSC entry and waiver form must accompany each selected art piece to the appropriate district site. Entries from Na`alehu, Pahala and Volcano go to Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo on Thursday, April 3, between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Ocean View entries go to Kona International Market in Kailua-Kona on Thursday, April 10 between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
      Artwork focuses on themes of reduce, reuse, recycle; island sustainability; preserving/protecting Hawai`i’s natural environment; or zero waste. Entries are judged on originality, theme, personal expression, execution of materials and artistic merit. Outstanding entries in Elementary, Middle, and High school levels receive prize certificates. Outstanding class/schools receive cash prizes. Reception/awards ceremony and art exhibit are open to the public.
      For more information and entry forms see recyclehawaii.org. For questions, call 985-8725 or email hiartrecycle@gmail.com.
      This program, sponsored by Recycle Hawai`i, is funded in part by Hawai`i County Department of Environmental Management (hawaiizerowaste.org) and the Swain Barber Foundation.

USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY geologist Frank Trusdell talks about the eruptive history and current status of Mauna Loa tomorrow. The After Dark in the Park program at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes’ National Park begins at 7 p.m. $2 donations support park programs. Park entrance fees apply. 

PARTICIPANTS LEARN TO WEAVE A STAR from leaves of the pandanus tree when members of `Aha Puhala o Puna share the art of lauhala weaving as part of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s ongoing `Ike Hana No`eau: Experience the Skillful Work workshops. The free program takes place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center. Park entrance fees apply.

ALOHA BLUEGRASS BAND AND KEOKI KAHUMOKU present a free concert at Pahala Plantation House Wednesday at 7 p.m. Donations are welcome.
      Information about the performers is available at alohabluegrassband.com.


Viewing all articles
Browse latest Browse all 3179

Latest Images

Trending Articles

Latest Images