Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, May 23, 2014

Randy Cabral, of Royal Hawaiian Orchards, noted the weakening of trees by the 2012 fires. Photo from KITV
A TINY WASP MAY HELP SAVE MACADAMIA PLANTATIONS IN KA`U. State Department of Agriculture entomologist Dr. Moshen Ramadan located Encyrtidae Metaphycus, which kills the pest that is killing mac nut trees. He found it in Australia, the native home to macadamia. According to a report by KITV News this week, the wasp, as tiny as a grain of sand, is reproducing in a lab in Hawai`i and may be released in field trials to combat the macadamia felted coccid as early as next year. Aerial spraying and other chemical applications are not working well, said Ramadan. The wasp inserts its larvae into the coccid, and the larvae eat the pest.
Macadamia felted coccids cover the nuts and eat leaves, bark
and wood, eventually killing the trees. Photo from KITV
      Macadamia trees around Pahala are particularly susceptible to the felted coccid, having been weakened by drought and fire that burned through orchards in 2012. The flood of 2000 also damaged the orchards, making the trees more susceptible to pests. Dead and dying trees can be seen in the orchards.
      Hawai`i Farm Bureau President Chris Manfredi told KITV News that the pest has “begun to spread and multiply exponentially.” He described it as “a small, little bug, but it just destroys the trees. It eats the leaves. It eats the bark,” said Manfredi.
      State House of Representatives member Richard Creagan, of Ka`u, said that the Farm Bureau and Hawai`i Farmers Union United are two groups lobbying for more funding to help with the problem and that hundreds of thousands of dollars were recently approved by the Legislature. State officials are expected to tour Ka`u in June to meet with farmers and see the trees for themselves.
New hope: wasp larvae eat the macadamia felted coccid.
Photo from KITV
      KITV reported that in 2013, the felted coccid and dry weather caused $3.7 million in damage to Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ macadamia crop. The KITV story quoted the company’s Bonnie Schoneberg: “It’s not only affecting the nut, but it’s affecting pretty much every stage of growth on the tree. You see it on the trunk of the tree. You see it on the leaves, all the branches, and they even coat the nuts as well."
      Randy Cabral, of Royal Hawaiian Orchards, told KITV, “This is not the first disaster to hit us. So, I hope it’s the last, but I doubt that.”
      See the KITV story at kitv.com/news/hawaiis-macademia-nut-farms-battle-tiny-pest/26089864.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U COFFEE FARMERS received advice last night on managing their taxes to help them benefit from tax laws that deal with the radical ups and downs of income in agriculture. Michael Holl, an IRS-certified tax expert, mentioned income averaging. For example, farmers could have two years of losses, followed by a season of booming profits. To save from paying whopping taxes for the booming year, under tax law for agriculture, they can average their income over the last three years without redoing previous taxes and pay taxes on the average of the three. The taxes must be paid on time to gain the benefit.
      Holl noted this morning that several of the farmers mentioned last night that they did not know about this tax advantage for farmers. He recommended that farmers band together to hire tax preparers who are experts in current agricultural tax law. He said that tax preparers who are generalists may not be taking the latest classes on tax law related to farming. He also advises farmers on making agreements with the IRS on back taxes owed to the government and has advice on labor as it relates to taxes. He was brought to Pahala Community Center last night by Risk Management Hawai`i, the U.S Department of Agriculture and University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
      Holl can be reached in Honolulu at 808-529-1040 or at michael@eahwawaii.com. He said he will be back on the Big Island later this year with more workshops.
      More tips on income averaging for farmers can be found at an IRS website, irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Farm-Income-Averaging-Agriculture-Tax-Tips.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD HAS VOTED against what she calls “a fundamentally altered version of the USA FREEDOM Act.” The original bill, which Gabbard co-sponsored, ended all bulk collection of personal data and only allowed the government to request personal data using “specific” terms. In its final form, the legislation allows the government to continue to obtain bulk personal data without having to target individuals specifically. 
       “The USA FREEDOM Act I voted against is a far cry from the legislation I co-sponsored, and does not rein in the bulk collection of our personal information – in fact, it does the opposite, ” said Gabbard. “While proponents claim the bill does end some bulk collection, the fact is that it still allows the government to obtain innocent Americans’ personal data, to include phone and email data. Instead of targeting specific individuals, the bill would allow the government to collect data with very broad search terms like an entire area code, an email with a key word, or a whole state or region of the country. That kind of data collection is not ‘specific’ at all; it is the opposite of specific, leaving the door open for continued overreach and abuse. Ultimately, our objective is to keep our country and people safe. This is not a choice between civil liberties and national security. We still have yet to hear of a single example of how national security has been strengthened by allowing bulk data collection.
       “We have a responsibility to do better as we strike the balance between national security and upholding the values that make our country strong.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

WITH THE APPROACH OF THE LONG MEMORIAL DAY weekend and the continuation of graduation parties, Hawai`i Island police will be on alert to help prevent tragedy on roads.
      Officers will conduct DUI checkpoints and roving patrols beginning today and continuing through Memorial Day, Monday, May 26. The effort is part of a national and statewide campaign called Drunk Driving: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
      Driving under the influence of alcohol presents a potential danger to every motorist, passenger and pedestrian the driver encounters. Already this year, police have made nearly 500 DUI arrests, and there have been more than 600 major traffic collisions.
      Police ask residents to do their part to keep roads safe by remembering to have a designated sober and licensed driver before starting to drink. They advise, “If you don’t find one, don’t take a chance — take a taxi.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets today at 5 p.m. at Hawaiian Ranchos office. Usually held on the last Friday of each month, OVCDC changed this month’s date to accommodate schedules of those wanting to attend.

Iwao Yonemitsu and Toku Nakano are two veterans of
World War II's 442nd Combat Team who live in Ka`u.
Photo by Julia Neal

MEMORIAL DAY CELEBRATION AT Kilauea Military Camp is entitled A Day of Remembrance with a special ceremony slated for 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, May 26, on the KMC front lawn.
      LCDR Shawn Deweese, commanding officer of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter KISKA in Hilo, is keynote speaker. Sgt. Rita Miller, of the 291st Combat Communications, Hilo, is guest speaker.
      If it rains, the ceremony will be moved to the Koa Room, inside the lobby.
      Park entrance fees will be waived from 2p.m. to 3 p.m. for those notifying gatekeepers that they will attend the ceremony.
      A special Memorial Day buffet after the ceremony features Hawaiian kalua pork sandwich, local-style fried chicken, chili con carne and more.
      For more information, call 967-8371. The public is invited.

KA`U RESIDENTS CAN CELEBRATE THE MEMORIAL DAY weekend by helping Hawai`i Wildlife Fund with its Ka`u Coast Cleanup tomorrow. Volunteers are asked to RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com if they need a ride
. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are required to get to the cleanup location. Volunteers meet at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park and caravan/carpool to cleanup site from there.

AN EXHIBIT OF CYANOTYPE PRINTS by Joe Laceby opens at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow, with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
      VAC Gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park entrance fees apply.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers its Palm Trail Hike Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The moderately difficult hike has one of the unit’s most panoramic vistas.
      See more at nps.gov/havo.


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