Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, May 29, 2014


The topic at this month's Sunday in the Park at Honu`apo was la`au lapa`au, with Momi Subiano. On June 8, the topic is the history of Honu`apo.
Photo from Megan Lamson
A CHARTER AMENDMENT TO REQUIRE the county administration and county council to be more responsible for impacts of their decisions on health and welfare of people, agriculture and the environment is a goal of Ka`u's County Council member Brenda Ford. She said she would like "precautionary language" to be included the county charter. The topic is currently under debate by the council. The effort is to require the council and departments of the County of Hawai`i, when making decisions, to consider all the possible risks and outcomes. She said that the Supreme Court and lower courts have been telling the county and council that they have “the affirmative duty to protect public health, safety and welfare.”
Ka`u's Council Member Brenda Ford
      Ford said yesterday that she is apparently the lone ranger with her proposed charter amendment before the County Council. Some council members have said the amendment is in the wrong chapter of the charter. She said she will change the chapter but expects an 8-1 vote against the measure with some council members saying that such language is unneeded because it is already in the state constitution.
       In other news, she said the location for new sewage treatment plants for Na`alehu and Pahala are still undecided.

REGARDING THE KA`U GYM & SHELTER, which is under construction, Ford said she is still pressing for the county and state to name it after beloved former Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School principal Laurence Capellas, who started many sports and educational programs in Ka`u.
REGARDING SOLAR ENERGY, Ford said she supports solar for the new Pahala gym and shelter. She said that throughout Ka`u and beyond, she wants to cut the county cost of electricity by installing solar in every reasonable facility operated by the county. “We have got to install solar and drop the electric bill for the county to as low as we can, and get the solar systems paid off, so they will be almost zero cost to the county,” Ford said. “We might only be able to save a half million dollars, (a year) but would be worth it.”
       She also suggested encouraging the state to provide low interest loans to put solar on owner-occupied houses, rental units and businesses. “Renters won’t put the solar up, but the landowners could do it, but currently get nothing back for it. They are not incentivized in any way,” Ford said.
COQUI FROG BATTLES are being assisted by Ka`u - which is part of council  District 6  - through a fund created by County Council member Brenda Ford. She said she contributed several thousand dollars from her contingency to fight the spread of coqui, which are coming back in Ka`u with the recent rains. Anyone who leads an eradication team can call her office and sign up to get free citric acid.
      Several other council members contributed, and the fund covers Districts 6, 7 and 8. She said she hopes the incoming council will also contribute to the fund to fight coffee berry borers. Ford can be contacted at 323-4277.

      REGARDING POHUE BAY, County Council member Brenda Ford said she is concerned about access to Pohue Bay and said that she is receiving calls that members of the public trying to go there are being charged to go through a locked gate. To reach Pohue Bay, travelers must cross private property, or hike miles along the shore.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

NINOLE BRIDGE ON HWY 11 NEAR PUNALU`U is in preliminary stages of being replaced. The state Legislature provided $1.3 million for design and acquisition of property associated with the project. Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, reports that the project along the state highwy will be part of an upcoming agreement stating project management and cost-sharing responsibilities with the Federal Highway Administration. Caroline Sluyter, department spokeswoman, told Callis the agreement is expected to be finalized in next month.
      Callis also said it is too early to offer a timeline or cost estimate for the project.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I IS COMMITTING $4.5 MILLION to Startup Capital Ventures II, a Hawai`i- and California-based fund that will provide investment capital to help Hawai`i technology companies grow. The investment marks a significant milestone for the HI Growth Initiative, the state’s core initiative to drive economic growth by investing in Hawai`i’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
      “The goal of the HI Growth Initiative is to build a continuum of financing for all phases of business development, from startup, to expansion, to growth,” said Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, who spearheads the initiative. “The successful closing of the Startup Capital Ventures II fund establishes this continuum.”
      In his 2013 State of the State Address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced the HI Growth Initiative as a state investment program focused on building an innovation ecosystem that supports entrepreneurial high growth businesses and creates high wage jobs for our people. On July 9, 2013, Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui, as acting governor, signed Act 274 (House Bill 858), appropriating funds to Hawai`i Strategic Development Corporation for the HI Growth Initiative.
      The HI Growth Initiative, administered by HSDC, has already invested in Honolulu-based venture accelerator Blue Startups, which provides pre-seed capital to startups, and Maui-based investment fund mbloom Fund I, which provides expansion capital. These funds, together with the University of Hawai`i research commercialization fund, UPSIDE Fund II, create a pipeline of companies for prospective investments by Startup Capital Ventures.
       “Startup Capital Ventures’ presence in Hawai`i opens the door for other mainland investors to consider investments here, as they have an on-the-ground partner to help watch over their investments,” said state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism Director Richard Lim. “Whereas Hawai`i companies were once at a geographic disadvantage, Startup Capital Ventures is closing this gap and making investments here attractive for other investors.”
      HSDC President Karl Fooks said the investment in the Startup Capital Ventures comprises both state and federal funds through the HI Growth Initiative and U.S. Department of the Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, respectively.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA `OHANA O HONU`APO CONTINUES ITS Sunday in the Park events at Honu`apo Park. 
      Earlier this month, ethnobotanist Momi Subiano, from Honomalino, shared her mana`o about Hawaiian healing plants (la`au lapa`au). About 27 people joined Subiano to learn about medicinal uses of common Polynesian introductions and weed species that grow here in Ka`u. She encouraged participants to incorporate Hawaiian healing plants into their lifestyle and landscapes, and mentioned that growing plants is the best way to learn more about this practice. “Momi is very passionate about protecting indigenous knowledge, and she was happy to share some of her wisdom with the group,” said Board President Momi Subiano.
      Plants discussed included rosemary, lavender, `olena (turmeric), awapuhi (ginger), awa (kava), kukui, mamaki, milo, noni, luakahi (plantain), tobacco, mullein, hono hono grass (wandering jew), uhaloa, pua kala (Hawaiian poppy), ko`oko`olau, a`ali`i, `ilima, coconut, popolo, pili, `uala (sweet potato) and many more. At the end of the event, Subiano passed out seeds of huewai (water gourd) and sprouts of various herbs and stressed the importance of saving and sharing seeds.
      The next Sunday in the Park event is on June 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This free family event includes a presentation and talk story session with Darlene Vierra at 1 p.m. and an interpretive hike around the coastal property with John Replogle at 2 p.m. These kupuna share their knowledge on the history of the Honu`apo area and the times of old in Ka`u. Participants in the hike should bring hiking shoes and re-usable water bottles. Free Ka`u coffee goes to the first 50 people.
      For more info about this event or joining the nonprofit, see Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo’s facebook page or contact Lamson at kaohanaohonuapo@gmail.com.

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT offers an opportunity for Ka`u residents to help Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park by cutting invasive Himalayan ginger tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Loppers and gloves are provided. Participants are encouraged to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and close-toed shoes. Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center.


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