Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, July 21, 2014

Thirty-six volunteers joined Hawai`i Wildlife Fund crew to clean the Ka`u Coast last weekend. Photo from HWF
HAWAI`I COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION facilities in Ka`u and islandwide will benefit from $375,000 obtained to control little fire ant infestations. 
      The State Department of Agriculture is providing $200,000, and the Hawai`i Invasive Species Council has awarded a grant of $175,000 that will allow Parks and Recreation to establish an LFA control program at county parks and facilities.
      Funding will be used to hire up to three full-time employees who will work exclusively fighting LFA infestations islandwide, purchase bait and equipment and finance transportation needs.
Hawai`i County has received funds to battle the little fire ant.
Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
      Once an infested park or facility has been identified, the LFA team will apply bait on a six-week cycle, rotate the bait type based on recommendations from Hawai`i Ant Lab and then continually monitor the treated area to ensure a reduction in ant infestations.
      Similar treatments conducted at Richardson Ocean Park in Hilo have reduced LFA populations in the affected areas by up to 40 percent, according to data collected during a recently completed pilot project involving the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Hawai`i Ant Lab.
      Ranked among the world’s worst invasive species due to the environmental harm they cause and ability to inflict painful stings that can blind animals, LFAs have established colonies in numerous areas following their discovery on Hawai`i Island in 1999.
      For more information, contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 961-8311 or jarmstrong@co.hawaii.hi.us.
      The Nature Conservancy also offers assistance to Ka`u residents with LFA infestations. Contact John Replogle at 939-7171.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Children from households with income at or below levels in the chart qualify
for free or reduced-price meals at school.
Chart from Hawai`i Department of Education
HAWAI`I STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION has announced its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Copies of the policy are available at public schools in Na`alehu and Pahala. Children from households with income at or below levels in the chart at left are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
      Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households should fill out one application and return it to the school where the child is enrolled or complete an online application via ezmealapp.com. Applications for the current school year (2014-2015) are now being accepted. The application information will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials.
      For DOE officials to determine eligibility, households receiving SNAP or TANF must list the child's name, date of birth, grade, school code and their SNAP or TANF case number and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving SNAP or TANF must list: 1) the names of everyone in the household; 2) the amount of income received by each person, how often the income is received and the source of the income; 3) the name and Social Security number of either parent/guardian who is the primary wage earner or the adult household member who signs the form or the word “none” if neither adult household member has a Social Security number; and 4) the signature of an adult household member.
      Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.
      Under provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, the DOE will review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal may make a request for a hearing on the decision in writing to: Glenna Owens, SFA Director, 1106 Koko Head Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816. 
Phone number is 808-733-8414 or toll-free 1-800-441-4845.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Microplastics made up much of the debris collected at HWF's most recent
Ka`u Coast cleanup. Photo by Sean King
HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND and 36 volunteers from around Hawai`i Island and as far away as Illinois, Pennsylvania and Japan removed 500 pounds of derelict fishing nets and 597 pounds of miscellaneous marine debris during the recent Ka`u Coast Cleanup. In total, 35 bags of debris, including several five-gallon bucketsful of microplastics, were removed and sorted for recycling.
      The derelict fishing nets will be stored at Wai`ohinu Park until there is enough to fill another 40-foot container via NOAA’s Nets-to-Energy Partnership, with support from Matson Navigation, Schnitzer Steel and Covanta Energy Group. More information is available at marinedebris.noaa.gov.
      NOAA Marine Debris Datasheets revealed that the group collected an estimated 63,404 pieces of marine debris, of which 96.5 percent were plastic in origin.
      Finds included a hand-painted buoy, two plastic dinosaur toys (brontosaurus and tyrannosauras rex), two full-sized tires and a partially used package of birth control pills.
      Hawai`i Wildlife Fund encourages Ka`u residents to join its Plastic-Free July campaign. Useful tips and ideas available to help give up plastic for the month of July are available at #plasticfreejuly and plasticfreejuly.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Lego toy pieces have become marine debris that drifts onto the coast of Cornwall, England
and other worldwide beaches. Photo from BBC News Magazine
KA`U COAST ISN’T THE ONLY PLACE to find interesting plastic marine debris. The beaches of Cornwall, England are famous for Lego toy pieces that wash ashore after a shipping container fell into the sea in 1997 when the ship carrying it was hit by a massive wave. 
      U.S. oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who has tracked the debris since 1997, told BBC News Magazine writer Mario Cacciottolo that pieces from the container could have drifted 62,000 miles, and since its 24,000 miles around the equator, they could be on any beach on earth. “Theoretically, the pieces of Lego could keep going around the ocean for centuries,” Cacciottolo concluded.
      See bbc.com/news/magazine-28367198.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

HONOLULU STAR-ADVERTISER HAS ENDORSED BRIAN SCHATZ to continue serving in the U.S. Senate, according to co-chairs for the Schatz for Hawai`i campaign.

The co-chairs list reasons mentioned by the Star-Advertiser as his collaboration on legislation promoting college affordability, universal preschool, securing funding critical to the East-West Center, the rail project and defense and other planks from the Democratic platform. “Schatz brings experience, idealism and vision to the job of shaping a future that his own children’s generation will inherit” and “represents a fresh perspective this state needs in its leadership.”

      “The Star-Advertiser recognizes that as chair of two subcommittees critical to our economy, Schatz is uniquely positioned to help Hawai`i,” the co-chairs state. 

“The Subcommittee on Tourism, Innovation, and Competitiveness has drawn Hawai`i industry leaders to two hearings so far. And for a state with a longstanding pledge to boost clean energy, chairing the Subcommittee on Water and Power is a fortuitous position, too,” said the Star-Advertiser.
      See brianschatz.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Volcano Art Center hosts a presentation about native Hawaiian bees.
HAWAI`I WILDFIRE MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION hosts a free community wildfire preparedness workshop today at 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Those who attend will learn about Hawai`i’s wildfire issues, how they can mitigate those issues through proper home landscaping techniques and home structure modifications, how to develop a clear and achievable family emergency plan and what actions to take during a wildfire and proper evacuation procedures.
      More workshops are scheduled for Friday, July 25 at Cooper Center in Volcano Village and Monday, July 28 at Pahala Elementary School. Each workshop starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m.
      For more information, email pablo@hawaiiwildfire.org, call 808-885-0900, or see hawaiiwildfire.org.

VOLCANO ART CENTER HOSTS a unique presentation about native Hawaiian bees Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at its Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.
      These largely overlooked bees are vital pollinators of native Hawaiian plants, and they have been vanishing with hardly any notice. The Hylaeus Project experiments with some creative ways of getting the word out about this imperiled and fantastic species.
      For this event, entomologist and drummer Lisa Schonberg presents audio and images gathered as part of the project.
      Suggested donation to is $5.


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