Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dennis Kamakahi performs his Wahine `Ilikea for the hula of Erin Cole, of Ocean View, last November. Photo by Julia Neal

DENNIS KAMAKAHI LOVED KA`U. He planned to retire here, create a music studio and continue teaching local youth and people from afar his skills in slack key, `ukulele, harmonica, singing and songwriting. However, he lost a battle with lung cancer at age 61 yesterday. 
      Kamakahi is the composer of more than 500 songs and master of slack key guitar, music composition and harmonica. He spent a week each November in Pahala, where he taught local youth on scholarships and adults from around the world and provided the community with a free concert with his friends George and Keoki Kahumoku, Sonny Lim, John and Hope Keawe and many more. Kamakahi inspired many Ka`u young musicians to write songs, to tell stories and to approach life with humor and love.
Dennis Kamakahi, a Christian minister, famed composer and teacher to many Ka`u
youth, died on April 28. He had planned to retire and move to Ka`u.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Kamakahi was not only a musician but also a Christian minister, providing his fans with both a spiritual and Hawaiian musical journey.
      He said, each year when he was here, that his long-term plan was to move to Na`alehu where his wife grew up, and that he aimed to set up a recording studio there.
      Many of Kamakahi’s songs are standards of Hawaiian music. He composed Wahine `Ilikea, Pua Hone and Koke`e. He earned Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and brought home three Grammy awards. Formerly one of the Sons of Hawai`i, Kamakahi earned a Hawai`i Music Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award and induction into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. Kamakahi was the first modern Hawaiian music composer with his six-string slack key guitar, albums, sheet music and personal photographs welcomed into the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s permanent collection.
      His music is featured in films, including Lilo & Stitch 2 and the Oscar-nominated soundtrack from The Descendants.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A BILL TO BATTLE THE COFFEE BERRY BORER comes to a final vote this week at the state Legislature. House Bill 1514 originally called for $3 million in subsidies to help coffee growers purchase Beauveria bassania, a naturally occurring fungus that kills the pests. After making its way to the Senate and then to conference committee, the final bill seeks $500,000 for these purposes. 
      “Because it was not as good a year, financially, as we had hoped, and because we were asking for appropriations, it certainly made it more challenging,” Hawai`i Island Rep. Nicole Lowen told Colin M. Stewart, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. “I was really pleased that this bill made it through conference.” Lowen introduced the bill.
State Rep. Nicole Lowen
      According to the bill, research has shown that subsidizing the cost of pesticides is an effective and necessary incentive to encourage farmers to adopt recommended pest management strategies.
      “I worked really closely with farmers and the Department of Agriculture in coming up with this bill to work together to find a solution,” Lowen told Callis. “There’s always sort of this dynamic of the neighbor islands pleading to O`ahu to take our problems seriously, and it’s been an uphill battle conveying this issue.”
      The program would allow the Department of Agriculture to disburse funds on an annual basis to coffee growers for up to 75 percent of the costs of the pesticide before July 1, 2016, and for up to 50 percent of their costs after June 30, 2016 and before July 1, 2019.
      The idea, Lowen said, is to encourage coffee growers to take up use of the pesticide as part of their coffee berry borer control program, reported Callis.
      Control of the pest relies largely on all growers in a given area following control measures, including use of pesticides, which can be especially expensive for small family farms, Lowen said.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

82 percent of Hawai`i students graduate.
Jaeneise Cuison graduated from Ka`u High
in 2011. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I’S OVERALL HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION rate is 82 percent, according to a report by GradNation. This compares to the slightly lower national average of 80 percent. The organization’s goal is to raise the national graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. 
      The report highlights key developments in the effort to boost high school graduation rates during the past decade. It also outlines what it will take to get to 90 percent and identifies critical areas to help the nation reach its goal, including closing the opportunity gap between low-income students and their middle-to-high-income peers, solving “the big city challenge,” which pertains to low-income students, improving outcomes for students with disabilities and boosting graduation rates for young men of color in key states.
      See gradnation.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE HAS RELEASED more than $52.4 million for various capital improvement projects to improve state public housing facilities and address aging technology to increase the state’s work and energy efficiency.
      “These funds will help bring positive change to the lives of those in public housing and provide much-needed job opportunities,” Abercrombie said. “This administration has now released more than $3 billion for capital improvement projects that are helping to stimulate our economy. Hawai`i’s labor force is at an all-time high, and the state’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level since August 2008.”
      Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the governor:
  • $45,000,000 for Lump Sum Public Housing Development, Improvements and Renovations, statewide – Design, equipment and construction funds to develop, upgrade or renovate public housing facilities, including ground and site improvements, infrastructure, equipment, appurtenances and all related or associated project costs for public housing across the state. Hawai`i Public Housing Authority administers a public housing portfolio of 85 properties, consisting of 6,195 public housing units. 
  • $2,000,000 – Modernization of Eligibility Determination System, statewide – Design funds for plans to modernize the eligibility determination system for public assistance programs under the Benefits, Employment and Support Services Division, which will be integrated with Medicaid’s new eligibility system. 
  • $2,000,000 – Modernization of Case Management System, statewide – Design funds for plans to modernize the case management system for the Social Services Division. The new system will be partially integrated with Medicaid’s new Kauwale On-Line Eligibility Assistance System.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE TO ENTER the Ka`u Coffee Festival’s Triple C Recipe Contest that takes place this Sunday at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Participants can earn up to $500 in prizes for the best recipes in adult and student categories. The registration form can be printed out from these Ka`u News Briefs or from kaucoffeefestival.com
      For more information, call Ka`u Coffee Mill at 928-0550.

HA`AO SPRINGS & MOUNTAIN HOUSE Agricultural Water Cooperative meets Thursday at 4 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Information about the organization is available at haaosprings.org.

KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS BEGIN FRIDAY with a Pa`ina Open House at Pahala Plantation House.
      The Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship fundraiser includes music, hula, refreshments and house tours. Candidates for Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Peaberry are introduced. Performers include Bolo presenting his new CD, Keoki Kahumoku and his `Ukulele Kids and Halau Hula O Leionalani. New Ka`u products, including Ka`u Coffee Mill’s Ka`u Coffee Singles and Alan Moores’ Iki Art, are introduced. Co-sponsored by Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, the event takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

DINNER & GUITAR NIGHT IS FRIDAY at 7:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Dinner is available at Crater Rim Café, followed by Hawaiian slack key and Italian finger-style guitar playing at KMC Theater. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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