Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, April 21, 2014


Soil expert Bob Shaffer, who spoke at the Hawai`i Farmers Union United meeting in Pahala Saturday, said he hopes to help teach
 soil health in Ka`u, as he has in other locations around the island. Photo from Kohala Center
Jim Wilson
JIM WILSON HAS PULLED PAPERS to run for County Council and said this morning he is collecting signatures for District 6, a position currently held by Brenda Ford, who is unable to run again because of term limitations. Wilson moved to Hilo in 1967 to become advertising director for Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, rose to the position of publisher in 1973 and remained in that position until 2001. Wilson said he is running because “I think the Council needs common sense and a business approach to the issues.”
      Wilson has served as a board member for decades for Volcano Art Center. He serves as President of Pacific Tsunami Museum Board of Directors. He is a member of Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce and serves on the promotions committee for Hilo Hospice. He is a member of Big Island Press Club. He and his wife Audrey have been residents of Volcano Village for 20 years and operate a B&B called AJ’s Volcano Cottage.
      Wilson can be contacted at 987-5984 or xjwilson@hawaiiantel.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Jim Shaffer talked about soil health at the
Ka`u Farmers Union United meeting
Photo by Julia Neal
SOIL HEALTH EXPERT BOB SHAFFER told Ka`u farmers over the weekend that tillage management to keep the ground from becoming hard and compacted is one of the important practices for successful farming. He said that no amount of composting or cover crops and good minerals management can overcome the fact that soil needs structure with space, air and water. Calling himself “a mechanic for the soil,” Shaffer noted that efforts to nourish living soil can work for seven years, but that production tends to wane without tillage management. Hard compact soil in orchard and truck crops can cause a collapse of the farm, he said. He said that all root crops need earthworms. They are particularly important in orchards, he said.
    Shaffer said that soil “has to have a lot of life, with bacteria, fungi, nematodes and protozoa.”
      He differentiated free-living microorganisms from those that kill plants and said that all of the beneficial “microorganisms also need to be healthy.” Shaffer explained that tiny organisms help to break down organic matter, which releases nutrients into the soil, which are eaten by bacteria. Free-living nematodes eat bacteria and pass the waste full of nitrogen right onto the roots of the plants. Growth-promoting enzymes for the plants are also produced. Microbes also break down toxins. “It is a symbiosis between plant and microbe,” he said.
      The plants recognize the value of the microbes, and about half of the sugars made by the plants are exuded by their roots to help feed them. The relationship leads to disease prevention and some resistance to pests, he said.
      Shaffer, who has a farm in Kona, said that he has been working for farms from macadamia orchards in Queensland, Australia to truck farms in California with organic matter management with compost and cover crops to mineral and tillage management. He also works with compost manufacturing in Dixie, CA, with 250 tons of food waste a day brought from San Francisco. The compost is sold to farmers.
      Shaffer recommended reading soilcare.org.
      Farmers who attended the meeting included coffee grower Wally Young, who said he got into farming and became “caught by farming” after losing his longtime job in the sugar industry.
      John Ah San, a Pahala resident who also grows coffee, said he is a lifetime farmer and will never retire.
      Ann Fontes said she owns a small family farm with coffee and farm animals, just makai and east of Pahala.
      Whitney Coffman owns a farm where he grows macadamia and coffee in Wood Valley.
      Trini Marques recalled she and her husband’s work as two of the first Ka`u Coffee farmers after losing their jobs and the sugar company.
      Greg Smith recently moved the Earth Matters Farm to Ka Lae. He has worked with the Hester farm in selling its produce at farmers markets at Keauhou and Ho`oulu. He said he is starting a Community Supported Agriculture box program for families to have locally grown produce, all of it organic, weekly or twice a month from Ka Lae or Ocean View locations. The Smiths will host an open house for the public tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Earth Matters Farm on the west side of the intersection of South Point and Kama`oa Road. Turn right onto the unpaved Kama`oa Service Road.
      Rep. Richard Creagan said his farm was never been in sugar. About half the land is in native `ohi`a, and the rest is in orchard and some vegetables.
      Malian Lahey, who owns a farm in Wood Valley, said she has just started growing coffee and has vegetables and flowers. The next meeting of the Ka`u Farmers Union United will be Saturday, May 17. For more information, call Lahey at 503-575-9098.

After successful fundraising dinners, Ka`u Summer Fun Programs are a go
again this year. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U SUMMER FUN FUNDRAISING DINNERS held in Pahala and Na`alehu the past two months were successful in providing scholarship funds that will help keiki meet registration fees for the Hawai`i County Department of Parks and Recreation program. Organizers thanked all who assisted with the fundraisers.
      “Support from parents, community members and organizations helped to make the fundraisers a success,” said Nona Makuakane, who leads the Pahala Summer Fun program. “Thank you to Leina`ala Enos of Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center, who was instrumental in helping us getting the dinners organized; `O Ka`u Kakou and Edmund Olson for their monetary donations; Punalu`u Bake Shop, Frank Foods and Gloria Camba for their generous donations; and Gay Polido and Lauren Hart for volunteering.”
      Partial waiver scholarships are available for all families who register keiki for Summer Fun. Early registration takes place from May 5 to May 8 and continues until enrollment is met. Maximum enrollment at each site is 40 participants. The sites are Pahala Community Center, Na`alehu Community Center and Kahuku Park.
      The program is six weeks long, running from June 9 to July 18 for youth who have completed Kindergarten to sixth grade. Program time is from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Summer Fun provides a fun, safe and diverse recreational activity program which includes weekly excursions.
      For more information or to register, call the respective site in your community: Pahala Community Center, 928-3102; Na`alehu Community Center, 939-2510; and Kahuku Park, 929-9113.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Nona Beamer Photo from VAC
VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS A SCREENING of the film Nona Beamer: A Legacy of Aloha this evening at 6:30 p.m. at the Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village.
      Beamer played a key role in the revival of hula and the Hawaiian culture. She was a musician, hula dancer, composer and teacher at a time when Hawaiian culture was still being suppressed in Hawai`i. She was a major force behind the Cultural Renaissance of the 1970s that helped restore dignity and pride to Hawaiian children.
      Suggested donation is $5 to support VAC.

DR. JOHN DVORAK EXPLAINS the San Andreas Fault: what it is, where it is and how it works at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Dvorak studied volcanoes and earthquakes for U.S. Geological Survey, taught at University of Hawai`i and has written numerous cover articles for scientific publications. Free; park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support After Dark programs.

PROGRAMS THAT CELEBRATE MERRIE MONARCH begin Wednesday at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. All programs are part of Hawai`i Volcanoes’ ongoing `Ike Hana No`eau: Experience the Skillful Work workshops and take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
      Edna and Sam Baldado share the cultural uses of kalo, or taro. See how each plant is identified by its leaf, steam, corm, color, and shape. Discover the hundreds of varieties of kalo in Hawai`i and how kalo was used for food, medicine, glue, dyes and much more.
      Helene Hayselden demonstrates the art of making a feather kahili, a symbol of royalty. Watch or join in and make your kahili to take home.
      Singer, songwriter, praise and worship leader Rupert Tripp, Jr. performs.
      Ka`ohu Monfort shares her knowledge and love of the island’s native plants for la`au lapau. Learn how her passion for plants and the Hawaiian culture are used to heal and nourish. See and touch a variety of medicinal plants, including kuku`i, `olena, ha`uowi, noni, ki, and guava.
      See future Ka`u News Briefs for programs on Thursday and Friday. All programs are free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BOYS VOLLEYBALL TEAM is ranked number three in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation after falling to the Honoka`a Dragons on Saturday. Scores were 25-12, 19-25, 25-23, 18-25 and 10-15. The next game for the Trojans will be on Friday, April 29 at Kealakehe gym versus Hawai`i Preparatory Academy at 4 pm.


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