Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs June 17, 2013

Two nene visit a reservoir near Ka`u Coffee Mill. Photo from Louis Daniele
HAWAI`I GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION has announced its endorsement of Brian Schatz in the senator’s campaign to keep the position to which he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is challenging Schatz.

      In a statement from the Schatz Campaign, HGEA President Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto identified Schatz’ “unwavering support for Hawai`i’s workers” and his “solid commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare” as key reasons for the endorsement.
      “As she said so beautifully, Brian’s dedication to improving the quality of life for working families is reflected in his leadership and resides in his heart,” the statement said. “HGEA joins 23 other endorsing organizations because they know he is the right person to defend Social Security and Medicare, support working families, protect our environment, and fight for a better life for everyone in Hawai`i.”

John Kai Photo from Hawai`i Community College
NEW PRODUCT “SALES HAVE GONE VERY WELL,” Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ interim president John Kai told Hunter Bishop, of Stephens Media. “We’re picking up stores on the mainland.”
      The macadamia nut company, with offices in Pahala and elsewhere on Hawai`i Island, markets new non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher-certified nut products.
      “This is the direction we’re continuing on … to keep that production line going. That’s our primary focus, to grow our business and the industry.”
      Kai replaced Dennis Simonis, who held the position for more than eight years.
      See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

LEGACY LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAM, of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, is seeking applicants for grants to be funded by the State Land Conservation Fund. The grants are for acquisition of lands having value as a resource to the state. Lands can be for conservation, preservation or agriculture.
      The Legacy Land Conservation Program provides an annual source of funding for the “acquisition and conservation of watersheds; coastal area, beach and ocean access; habitat protection; cultural and historic sites; recreational and public hunting areas; parks; natural areas; agricultural production; and open spaces and scenic resources,” says a statement from DLNR.
      “Legacy Land provides grants to partners — nonprofits, counties, or state agencies — that protect important lands and resources by acquiring land or conservation easements,” DLNR chairman William J. Aila, Jr. said. “The Legacy Land Conservation Commission provides an open process for review and public input to ensure that state Legacy Land funds are put toward projects that protect agricultural lands, watersheds, natural areas, cultural sites, and recreational lands for the public’s benefit.”
      Proposed projects may include acquisition of fee title or conservation easements. County agencies and nonprofit project applicants must be able to provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs.
      On average, funded projects usually bring about 65 percent matching funds from federal, county, or private sources.
      The 2013-2014 application cycle may provide approximately $3 million in grants, awarded through a competitive process and subject to any budget restrictions.
      Funding is available through a portion of the state’s land conveyance tax set aside annually in the Land Conservation Fund for the purpose of protecting Hawai`i’s unique and valuable resource lands.
      Project applications will be reviewed by the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, which will nominate projects for funding.
      Projects are subject to approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, consultation with the state Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives, review by the Department of the Attorney General and the approval of the governor. Final awards are subject to the availability of funds.
      This year, applicants are advised of an early deadline to allow additional time for consultation with state agencies.
      The 2013-2014 grant application and instructions are available at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/llcp.
      A one-page project summary must be submitted to consulting state agencies by July 19, and full applications must be received or postmarked no later than 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16.
      For more information, call 808-586-0921 or visit hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/llcp.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a bill reducing regulations for
small-scale beekeepers. Photo from pollinator.org
THIS IS POLLINATOR WEEK. At a celebration held today at the state Capitol, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill reducing some of the regulatory requirements for small-scale beekeepers. SB482, enacted as Act 131, clarifies the maximum number of gallons of honey that can be sold by a certified honey house or food processing establishment without obtaining a permit from the state Department of Health. The measure also exempts from permit requirement sales of honey directly to retail stores that, in turn, sell the honey directly to consumers. In addition, the act provides for consumer protections by requiring honey producers to include appropriate labeling of each container of honey, take a food safety class, and make records available to DOH.
      “We must encourage beekeeping operations of all sizes to ensure that honeybee stocks thrive in both managed apiaries and the wild, especially as bee populations have declined due to disease and invasive predators,” Abercrombie said. “SB482 will make beekeeping more financially viable for beekeepers to legally extract, bottle and sell honey by minimizing unnecessary administrative and bureaucratic requirements in ways that will not affect public safety.”
      Hawai`i Board of Agriculture chairperson Russell Kokubun said, “Many small beekeepers have been unable to successfully navigate current regulatory hurdles required to operate a certified food-processing establishment on their own premises for the extraction and bottling of honey, which has resulting in many giving up beekeeping entirely. SB482 provides needed clarification to state law and greater flexibility to Hawai`i’s honeybee farmers as not only a growing facet of our local agriculture industry but also a fundamental part of the long-term sustainability of the industry and the protection of our native habitats.”
      The bill signing occurs in conjunction with Pollinator Week, which recognizes the role of honeybees in plant pollination. Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership. 
Six years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week marked a step toward addressing the issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.
      “The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort,” said Sunny Boyd, communications manager of Pollinator Partnership. “Pollinating animals … are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible.”
      For more, see pollinator.org.

Volcano House general manager Rudy Fao, at left, reported that Anette
and Joseph Hillring were the hotel's first guests.
Photo from Volcano House
VOLCANO HOUSE OFFICIALLY REOPENED THIS MONTH, with the first guests celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, according to a press release from Aqua Hospitality.
      Volcano House general manager Rudy Fao said that Anette and Joseph Hillring, of Tampa, Fla., “booked two nights and were also looking forward to hiking in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.”
      The statement from Aqua said that “Volcano House enjoys a unique location on the edge of Halema`uma`u Crater within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park – designated an International Biosphere Reserve (1980) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987). The restored Volcano House offers 33 historic guest rooms, The Rim restaurant, Uncle George’s Lounge and two gift shops. Ten newly refurbished camper cabins in nearby Namakanipaio Campground are also part of the property.
      “Historic Volcano House is Hawai`i’s oldest hotel, welcoming visitors since 1877. The hotel in use today was built in 1941 and expanded in 1961.”
      Volcano House is managed by Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC and operates under contract with the National Park Service. “Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC is an affiliate of Aqua Hospitality, a Hawai`i-based management company founded in 2001 with contemporary properties on O`ahu, Maui, Kaua`i, Moloka`i, Lana`i and Hawai`i Island,” the statement says. “Volcano House is part of Aqua’s Monogram Hotel Collection.
      “Aqua Hospitality … provides full-service management including sales, marketing, Internet distribution, individualized branding, reservations, as well as revenue management to maximize profitability.”
      For reservations, call 808-441-7750 or 1-866-536-7972.
      See hawaiivolcanohouse.com and aquahospitality.com.

Sammi Fo teaches hula `auana
every Tuesday.
SAMMI FO TEACHES HULA `AUANA tomorrow and every Tuesday at the corner of Tiki and Princess Ka`iulani in Ocean View. Students with more than one-year experience meet at 4:15 p.m.; beginning to first-year students meet at 4:15 p.m. Call 990-3292 for more information.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT holds its next meeting at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office on Thursday at 4 p.m. Contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456 for more information.



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