Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hawai`i Forest Food Project begins operations on 17 acres of land off South Point Road Aug. 1. Photo from Hawaii Food Forest Project
HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S PESTCIDES BRANCH reminds those in Ka`u’s agricultural industry that the open comment period for the Environment Protection Agency’s proposed changes to Worker Protection Standards ends Aug. 18. The proposed changes may impact agricultural operations. 
      On February 20, the EPA announced proposed changes to the agricultural Worker Protection Standards to increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s two million agricultural workers and their families.
      Proposed changes to the Agricultural WPS include:
Ensuring proper fit of respirators is required by proposed
changes to ag Worker Protection Standards.
  • Increased frequency of mandatory trainings from once every five years to annually to inform farm workers about the protections they are afforded under the law, including restrictions on entering pesticide-treated fields and surrounding areas, decontamination supplies, access to information and use of personal protective equipment. Expanded trainings will include instructions to reduce take-home exposure from pesticides on work clothing and other safety topics. 
  • Expanded mandatory posting of no-entry signs for the most hazardous pesticides; the signs prohibit entry into pesticide-treated fields until residues decline to a safe level.
  • First time-ever minimum age requirement: Children under 16 will be prohibited from handling pesticides, with an exemption for family farms. 
  • No-entry buffer areas surrounding pesticide-treated fields will protect workers and others from exposure from pesticide overspray and fumes. 
  • Measures to improve states’ ability to enforce compliance including requiring employers to keep records of application-specific pesticide information as well as farm worker training and early-entry notification for two years. 
  • Personal Protection Equipment (respirator use) must be consistent with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration standards for ensuring respirators are providing protection, including fit test, medical evaluation and training. 
  • Make available to farm workers or their advocates (including medical personnel) information specific to the pesticide application, including the pesticide label and Safety Data Sheets. 
  • Additional changes make the rule more practical and easier to comply with for farmers. 
  • Continues the exemptions for family farms. 
      Comments must be submitted to regulations.gov identified by docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0184. Information about submitting comments is available at epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/workers/proposed/index.html.
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HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL TOMORROW CONSIDERS a resolution urging Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration to start over the process of finding an alternative to burying trash in Hilo landfill. Kohala council member Margaret Wille introduced the resolution after Kenoi narrowed a list of potential companies to three that specialize in waste-to-energy as an alternative. Covanta Energy Corp., Green Conversion Systems, Inc. and Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. specialize in burning waste to create electricity. 
      Points brought up in the Wille's resolution include:
  • “The request for proposals should award points to strategies that maximize environmental benefits and promote community-based green jobs versus investing in expensive equipment; 
  • Other states are moving away from facilities that are dependent upon large municipal waste streams in preference to smaller, local operations; 
  • Most waste-to-energy facilities are dependent upon petroleum sources and cause significant air, water and soil contamination and pollution; and; 
  • It is important to consider recycling, compost production and increasing public participation and responsibility when formulating a comprehensive solid waste program for the County of Hawai`i.”
      The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.
      Agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.
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Sharman O`Shea
HAWAI`I FOOD FOREST PROJECT begins operations Aug. 1, according to Na`alehu resident Sharman O`Shea. Organizers have made arrangements to use 17 acres of land off South Point Road for the sustainability project. “We are excited to move onto the land the first of August and start this grand adventure!” O’Shea said.
      The project provides “outside-of-the-box” opportunities and ongoing mentoring for Hawai`i’s young people “by providing a place where they can create a new sustainable economy and self-sufficiency by expressing their unique creativity through innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneur endeavors, community building, interconnectedness and living in harmony with the land and all beings,” according to its website at hawaiifoodforest.com.
      The project focuses on forest gardening, which O’Shea said provides a low-maintenance, sustainable, plant-based organic food production and permaculture system based on tropical ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and vegetables which have yields directly useful to human consumption. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat that has been known to thrive for centuries. This includes creating a living design system, water harvesting, fish ponds, eco-friendly habitats and housing, off-the-grid technologies, energy efficiency, food security, animal systems and positive waste management.
      “Once the project is fully functional the system will be self-sustaining, generating livelihoods and giving back to the community as well as becoming a training and learning center for other similar projects worldwide,” O’Shea said.
      Donations to the nonprofit are accepted at gofundme.com/40mjfc.
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Kaliko Trapp-Beamer is one of the teachers at next month's
Hawaiian Music songwriting retreat.
Photo from NPS
CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD QUESTIONED PENTAGON officials on Wednesday about a $5 billion request for Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund, recently proposed by Pres. Barack Obama in his commencement speech to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
      Gabbard pointed to the generality of the request and said that the “assumption that we must do something, particularly in Iraq, is where many (members of Congress) are concerned about writing this kind of blank check to fund that ‘something’ if that ‘something’ is not the right course of action to take.”
      In response to proposed U.S. involvement in Syria and Iraq, Gabbard, herself an Iraq war vet, has repeatedly called for the administration to define a clear objective before committing U.S. resources or troops in a foreign conflict, said a statement from her office.
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HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK IS OFFERING a two-day Hawaiian music songwriting retreat for beginners on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17. Hawaiian music, language and haku mele (Hawaiian song) experts Kenneth Makuakane and Kaliko Trapp-Beamer will lead the workshops.
      Both workshops run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will be held at the park’s Education Center. Advance registration is required. To register, call 985-6166. Leave your name, email address, and best contact number no later than Aug. 8. Space is limited. The park will contact callers by email to confirm reservations.
      The retreat will be held in the park at the summit of Kilauea. “Budding songwriters will find inspiration in this wahi kapu (sacred place), among the towering koa and `ohi`a lehua trees, over fields of ropy pahoehoe lava and in the eruptive glow from Halema`uma`u Crater,” according to a statement from the park.
      “Also inspirational are the retreat’s accomplished teachers.” Makuakane is a multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award winner, along with his group, The Pandanus Club. He’s a prolific songwriter (1,500-plus songs), producer of more than 100 albums and collaborator who has worked with virtually all of the stars of Hawaiian music over the years.
      Trapp-Beamer was raised as the hanai son of Hawaiian cultural expert Aunty Nona Beamer, learning Hawaiian chant, storytelling, traditional protocol, family songs, and stories. He currently teaches Hawaiian language courses at the University of Hawai`i in Hilo and helps coordinate the Beamer Family Aloha Music Camp. He is president of the Mohala Hou Foundation dedicated to “preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture through education and the arts.”
      The two-day Hawaiian songwriting retreat is sponsored by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association. Park entrance fees apply.

INPUT ON THE FUTURE OF HEALTH CARE is urged from the public as Ka`u Hospital hosts an annual public meeting of East Hawai`i Regional Board of Directors for Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. Saturday at 2 p.m. Island residents are invited to attend; topics discussed will be specific to Ka`u and its surrounding community.
     Covered in a presentation will be an overview of services offered at Ka`u Hospital and its rural health clinic. The floor will be opened for comments and suggestions on providing healthcare for residents of East Hawai`i.
      For more information, call Terry Larson, Administration Secretary, at 932-3103.


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