Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014

Central Pacific Hurricane Center's latest forecast shows Hurricane Iselle tracking directly toward Ka`u and arriving late tomorrow.
HURRICANE ISELLE IS HEADED DIRECTLY FOR KA`U, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center’s latest forecast. A hurricane warning is in effect for Ka`u and the rest of Hawai`i Island. The storm was 625 miles away from Hilo at 11 a.m. With maximum sustained winds of 90 miles per hour, the storm is gaining rather than losing strength as earlier forecast. Heavy surf, high winds and five to eight inches of rain are forecast, with a flash flood watch in effect from 4 a.m. tomorrow to 6 a.m. Saturday. A flash flood watch means conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. The National Weather Service reminds residents that it does not have to be raining heavily where they are for flash flooding to occur.
The central Pacific is busy, with three hurricanes being tracked.
      Thunderstorms with lightning could also be in store in areas where vog is present, UH-Manoa Atmospheric Science Professor Dr. Steven Businger told Hawai`i News Now this morning. Businger found that prior to tropical storm Flossie’s passage over Hawai`i Island last year, there was no lightning in the storm. One hour later, vigorous lightning occurred as Flossie approached the island. “As volcanic emissions were wrapped into this moist environment, sulfate aerosols promoted the formation of a greater number of smaller than normal cloud droplets, which favored charge separation in the upper cloud region and the occurrence of lightning,” Businger said in his published report. 
      Also, Mayor Billy Kenoi urged residents not to count on the Volcano Defense, a theory that Hawai`i Island’s high volcanoes help protect it from hurricanes. “Stay focused, stay prepared, stay with family and friends, stay off the streets as much as possible,” he said on Hawai`i News Now. “Accurate information, preparedness, the community working together, that's what will get us through the challenges that we have to face.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH & PAHALA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, a designated emergency shelter, closes at 2 p.m. today in advance of storms Iselle and Julio. All afterschool activities for students and staff are cancelled, as well as any scheduled public meetings.
      All public schools in Ka`u will be closed tomorrow.
      School closures throughout the state are being made according to the storms’ paths and in preparation of designated emergency shelter sites.
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IN ANTICIPATION OF HURRICANE ISELLE, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park officials are closing all backcountry areas and some roads as of 6 p.m. today. Closures will remain in effect until the storm has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer.
      Kilauea Visitor Center will remain open during its normal hours, 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurston Lava Tube, Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp will also remain open.
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Patty Barry, standing, asked County Council candidates
about tax incentives for new businesses.
Photo by Ron Johnson
KA`U RESIDENTS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY to ask County Council District Six candidates questions at Monday’s forum hosted by Ocean View Community Center.
      Patti Barry asked what residents can do to support tax incentives to attract new businesses to Ocean View. Jim Wilson said, “You as individuals can put pressure on elected officials.” He gave Henderson, NV as an example of a city that “was built on tax incentives.” Richard Abbett and Maile Medeiros David both expressed support for such a program.
      Lee McIntosh asked, “Do you support restricting or banning fireworks?” Wilson said, “Fireworks are important, but because of fires and injuries, yes, I would support banning them.” David said setting off fireworks is a cultural practice that kids look forward to. “I have to consider that every Fourth of July, fireworks are part of Hawai`i,” she said. She said a proposed ban would require public hearings to get input from residents. Abbett said that although he can’t stand fireworks, “If you don’t have the ability to celebrate your freedom using the symbol of your freedom, you’re not very free.” 
      Dave Bateman, who is running for state House in Ocean View’s of Representative district, asked about the candidates’ views on agriculture in Ka`u. David said it’s very important and that “we have so much potential.” She said she would support creation of an ag park in Ka`u to give people opportunities to become farmers. She also said students should receive ag training at school. Abbett said Ka`u is the last large-scale place for ag in Hawai`i and that his vision of small-scale ag here would require a commitment over “decades and generations.”
      Loren Heck mentioned that there are 50 acres of county land in Ocean View that could be an ag park. The candidates all were open to investigating the opportunity. “We have the labor, the next generation,” Abbett said. He said his goal is to have “a place where we can raise our children and not have them leave.”
      See more on the forum in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs.
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THE CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY, which recently held a meeting in Pahala on pesticide and GMO threats to communities worldwide, has offered to help the county fight lawsuits that aim to stop regulation of GMOs on this island.
      Earthjustice, the legal arm of the Sierra Club, Big Island organic small farmers Marilyn Howe, Rachel Laderman and Nancy Redfeather, along with Center For Food Safety, filed a motion in federal District Court in Honolulu on Friday. The plaintiffs seek to intervene in the lawsuit that seeks to overturn the law passed by the County Council banning open-air use and testing of genetically engineered crops except for those already in production on local farms.
      The ten plaintiffs seeking to lift the ban on GMOs include farmer Richard Ha, cattle rancher Jason Moniz and flower growers Gordon Inouye and Eric Tanouye. Organizations named as plaintiffs are Hawai`i Papaya Industry, Biotechnology Industry Organization, Big Island Banana Growers Association, Hawai`i Cattleman’s Council, Hawai`i Floriculture & Nursery Association and Hawai`i Industry Industry Association, with its President Ross Sibacao.
      A hearing in federal court is set for Oct. 23.
      Earthjustice on its website earthjustice.org/about/offices/mid-pacific, says that “Hawai`i is a hotspot for experiments in genetic engineering — but the Mid-Pacific regional office has led the way in bringing a cold dose of reality to genetic engineering and its impact on our food supply, health and environment. We’re pushing for better regulation of genetically engineered crops and also using the law, public advocacy and community organizing to draw attention to the links between GE foods and the increased use of dangerous pesticides.”
      “Ordinance 13-121 protects me and farmers like me,” said Redfeather, whose background includes being the director of the Hawai`i School Garden Network. “In Hawai`i, we believe that our seeds, crops and foods should remain free of contamination from genetically engineered plants,” she wrote.
      “Hawai`i County, like every county, has the right to protect its farmers and native environments from genetically engineered crops,” said the Center for Food Safety’s senior attorney George Kimbrell. “Having GE-free zones is critical for the sustainable future of U.S. agriculture and to protect Hawai`i’s unique ecosystems.”
      Those wanting to lift the ban contend that the GMO ban is against state and federal law and unjustly harms farmers who choose to grow GMO crops. They also state that it damages the industry of biotechnology, which came up with GMO papayas to save that industry when it was fought with devastating disease. Their lawsuit states that the county ban is unsupported by “findings or evidence that GE (genetically engineered) crops are in any way harmful, or in any way endanger the local environment.”
      The opposition to lifting the restrictions argues for local rights to institute such bans and contends that cross-pollinators by GMO plants could harm non-GMO farms and plants in the wild, and expose them to pesticides.
      A statement from Earthjustice says that the lawsuit to lift the ban is “driven largely by the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the world’s largest trade association for the biotech industry representing companies like Monsanto.” The statement says that the organization wants to overturn “the county’s 2013 ordinance to open the island up for the expansion of genetically engineered crop production. These herbicide resistant crops result in intensive pesticide use, which threatens public health, contaminates water and harms wildlife and neighboring crops. Most GE crops also threaten transgenic contamination of non-GE crops, which has already caused several billion dollars in damage to growers.” 
     Paul Achitoff, managing attorney for Earthjustice in Hawai`i, said, “Hawai`i is one of the most biologically diverse, as well as spectacularly beautiful, places in the world, but the chemical companies have been turning the islands into experimental laboratories, unleashing a fountain of pesticides and genetically engineered material into the air, land and waters. We stand with the people of Hawai`i Island who are trying to protect their island from being transformed into another toxic waste dump.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

EARLY, ELECTRONIC VOTING CONTINUES at Pahala Community Center through Thursday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sample ballots are available at hawaii.gov/elections. The primary takes place Saturday.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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