Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, May 19, 2014

The 37th Annual Fourth of July Rodeo has been announced by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association. It will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6, at Na`alehu Rodeo Grounds. Photo by Peter Anderson
COFFEE RUST, WHICH WAS A TOPIC at the recent Ka`u Coffee College, made news nationally over the weekend, with reports that the federal government is providing funding to battle the disease in Central America. Raj Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, is expected to announce today a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M University’s World Coffee Research Center to try to eliminate the fungus.
Coffee rust first infects the topside of leaves and makes its way to the underside.
Photo from wikipedia
      According to the American Phytopathological Society, coffee rust is the most economically important coffee disease in the world, and in monetary value, coffee is the most important agricultural product in international trade. “Even a small reduction in coffee yields or a modest increase in production costs caused by the rust has a huge impact on the coffee producers, the support services and even the banking systems in those countries whose economies are absolutely dependent on coffee export,” says its website at apsnet.org.
      APS says the first observable symptoms of coffee rust are small, pale yellow spots on the upper surfaces of the leaves. As these spots enlarge, masses of orange spores appear on the leaves’ undersides.
      The fungus spreads by airborne spores and can kill coffee trees. It has been devastating to poor farmers who cannot afford fungicides to control the disease. According to NBC News, the main concern is that if small farmers lose their livelihood, hunger and poverty in the region could contribute to violence and drug trafficking.
      NBC News says production could be reduced by 15 to 40 percent in Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Ric Rhinehart, of the Specialty Coffee Association of America, said that consumers eventually could pay “extraordinarily high prices for those coffees, if you can find them at all.”
      According to APS, coffee rust is now found in nearly all the coffee-producing areas of the world, “with the exception of Hawai`i.” However, the disease could come in on plant materials imported illegally without inspection. The spores could also come in on bags of coffee that are imported. One way to prevent rust from coming here is by refraining from bringing coffee plants or beans from overseas – even a few beans in an airplane passenger’s pocket – recommended scientists attending Ka`u Coffee College.
      The effort is part of the Obama administration’s Feed the Future program, which aims to rid the world of extreme poverty through agricultural development and improved nutrition.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard wants to keep federal airline fee increases
out of Hawai`i. Image from the Office of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD IS ASKING KA`U RESIDENTS to speak up in support of an exemption to a proposed increase in airline fees. “Sometimes it is hard for my colleagues to grasp that while they can hop in a car or a train to commute within their state, we travel through the clouds,” Gabbard said. “That’s why our voices must be heard, and why I’m working with my colleagues to get this exemption passed. But I need your help now to ensure our voices are heard.” 
      “With no inter-island railway, no highways and no ferry service, flying is how we get to doctors’ appointments and go to work. It is how we go to school and visit our family and friends. We have no other option to do these things but to fly.
      “Yet both Congress and the President have proposed an increase in airline fees by $3.10 – and for those of us who rely on flying for basic essential services, this is an undue burden on already expensive travel.
      Gabbard and Sen. Mazie Hirono have introduced legislation and called on Congress to exempt Alaska and Hawai`i from the fee hike.
      To express support for the exemption, see signforgood.com/airlinefees/?code=Tulsi-hi.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rodeo queen candidates are, from left, Caliyah Silva-Kamei, Zeishalynn Pua
and Lehiwa Moses.
KA`U ROPING AND RIDING ASSOCIATION is holding its 37th annual Fourth of July Rodeo at the Na`alehu arena on July 5 and 6. Running for rodeo queen this year are Caliyah Silva-Kamei, Zeishalynn Pua and Lehiwa Moses. Residents can support them by buying rodeo tickets for $6.
      Events scheduled at the rodeo include Open Dally, Team 90’s, Double Mugging, Ranch Mugging and Wahine Mugging.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

CHARLES CLAY, who grew up in Volcano, has signed a three-year, free agent contract to play football with the Green Bay Packers. Clay spent his first 13 years in Volcano, played high school football at Hilo High and college football at Southern Methodist University in Texas and UH-Manoa.
      Clay flew to Wisconsin to compete for the position of safety during Green Bay’s rookie mini-camp. He graduated from UH with a degree in environmental science.
      See his recruiting video at youtube.com/watch?v=iDo5F3TAYVo.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

“CAN AN EVENT LIKE THE SR530 LANDSLIDE near Oso, Washington happen in Hawai`i?” is the question asked in the current issue of USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory’s Volcano Watch
      The answer is, “It already has,” in Ka`u. On April 2, 1868, the strongest earthquake documented in the Hawaiian Islands struck the Island of Hawai`i and dislodged part of a valley wall in the Wood Valley. “In minutes, the landslide covered an area four times the size of the SR530 slide, destroying 10 structures and killing 31 Hawaiian farmers.”
      Ka`u residents who observed the mud landslide from a distance thought it was a lava flow, the article reports. “That was understandable, since Wood Valley is on the southeast flank of the active Mauna Loa volcano and since the mudslide appeared to be red in color and was preceded by many earthquakes. But witnesses at the scene found that the ‘lava flow’ was cold mud, with streams of water draining down each side. The red color came from the abundant volcanic ash soil in the area. With more time and scrutiny, it became clear that this was a landslide.
      Landslides are hazards in areas where slopes are steep, the issue explains. “The degree of the hazard depends on the type of rocks that make up the slope. Large landslides, like other natural hazards, tend to recur in the same locations where they have occurred in the past.
Ron Self and other farmers in Wood Valley benefit from
deep soil created by the slide.
      “Ground vibration caused by the earthquake clearly triggered the 1868 landslide. But earthquakes occur frequently in this area without landslides. What was different in 1868? The Ka`u area experienced heavy rainfall just prior to the earthquake. Perhaps the rainfall saturated the ash layers in the valley walls, weakening or liquefying the ash to the point of failure during strong ground shaking.”
      Ron Self, a farmer in Wood Valley, concurs, saying he believes that the slide may have been precipitated by weeks of heavy rains as well as the earthquakes.
      One area in Wood Valley is called mud flats, where slide soil is deep and holds water.
      “The geology of the Ka`u area is also unique, with one or more thick ash layers interspersed between Mauna Loa lava flows,” the article says. “The ash layers are relatively impermeable, compared with the permeable lava flows. This means that the ash tends to be a barrier to water percolating down through the ground, resulting in water being concentrated in the lava flows. Before the sugar industry, Ka`u had many natural springs, with water gushing out of the lava flows and over ash layers that were exposed in cliffs. Now, an extensive set of tunnels cut into the ash layers extract water more efficiently.
      “Modern mapping and studies suggest that the 1868 landslide itself was composed of lava-flow blocks and ashy gravels. The debris was probably the result of lava blocks and ash sliding from the hillside. When saturated with water (rain) and shaken by a strong earthquake, the thick layer of volcanic ash liquefied and flowed like water, removing support for the overlying lava layers.
      “Liquefaction is a dangerous consequence of strong earthquake shaking and, in the case of the 1868 Ka`u landslide, can result in life-threatening landslides. Liquefaction during earthquakes can also be a problem on gentler slopes.”
      See hvo.wr.usgs/gov/volcanowatch.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

PROPER PESTICIDE USE AND SAFETY is the topic this evening from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Participants learn how to be compliant and how to implement federal worker protection standard requirements, thereby minimizing their risk of pesticide inspections and citations.

Mark Yamanaka performs Wednesday at Kilauea Visitor Center.
Photo from NPS
KILAUEA DRAMA & ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK holds auditions for its summer musical Ruddigore today and tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Parts in the July production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s musical include lead roles for five men and four women, mortals, ghosts, officers, ancestors, villagers and professional bridesmaids. 
      For more information, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

SAM LOW PRESENTS HIS FILM The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The film features Satawalese navigator Mau Piailug, the sailing vessel Hokule`a and her crew. Low answers questions and signs his book, Hawaiki Rising – Hokule`a, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance, which, along with the DVD, will be on sale at the bookstore. Free; park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support After Dark in the Park programs.

MARK YAMANAKA PERFORMS WEDNESDAY at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The four-time Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning singer and songwriter shares original songs from his debut CD, Lei Pua Kenikeni. Free; park entrance fees apply.


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