Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 9, 2014

Hana Hou is gearing up for its annual Keiki Christmas Party tomorrow at 5 p.m. Santa will be there with gifts for keiki and food for all. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U FARM BUREAU held its last meeting of the year last night at Pahala Community Center with Pres. Ralph Gaston reporting on the local chapter’s efforts to control the coffee berry borer. He said that coordinating and helping to obtain funding to fight the borer is testament to what the organization can do for local agriculture.
      Gaston said his vision is for Ka`u County, as the chapter is called, to evolve from its roots with mostly Ka`u Coffee farmers to include a broader base of agriculturalists from throughout the district. Ka`u is one of 11 Hawai`i Farm Bureau “counties” in the state.
Ka`u Farm Bureau works to control the coffee berry borer.
Photo by Peggy Greb/USDA Ag Research Service
      Its former president Chris Manfredi, of Na`alehu, is now President of the statewide organization, and Randy Cabral, of Royal Hawaiian Orchards, with offices in Pahala and Hilo, is Vice President for the statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation.
      Manfredi described the Farm Bureau as the largest agriculture lobbying organization in the state and in the country, noting that nationally, the American Farm Bureau Federation has more members than the National Rifle Association. Manfredi said he has represented the statewide organization in Washington, D.C. and at national conventions. He said that all members are invited to attend the next national convention in San Diego. He reported that keynote speakers in the past have included the star of the television reality show Duck Dynasty and a general from the U.S. military, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal. Keynote speaker next year will be Jay Leno.
      Manfredi said the Farm Bureau “helps to strengthen your voices” at the state Capitol and in Congress. He called the Farm Bureau “a grassroots collaborative structure” and said that policies and legislative agendas are determined in a democratic fashion with members of many differing views getting together to come up with the official Farm Bureau points of view.
      He said that more members in the Farm Bureau give it more power and that dues, at $95 a year, for Ka`u, can be offset by many Farm Bureau programs, including discounts in shipping and purchasing.
      He said the Hawai`i Farm Bureau magazine, on hiatus for a couple of years, will be brought back as a quarterly. He said it will not only be about farming but also about food, with 10,000 copies printed and distributed by mailing to members and at Whole Foods grocery stores. He asked for suggestions from Ka`u and said he is looking for “heroes in agriculture” stories.
Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation President Chris Manfredi said
the organization's magazine will be revived.
      He also announced a revamped website at HFBF.org and encouraged everyone to check it out.
      Concerning the 2015 state Legislature, Manfredi said the Farm Bureau helps to pass about ten measures per year, and this year there are 15 proposed.
      He noted that the Farm Bureau lobbies for funding for the local Soil & Water Conservation Districts and that Brenda Iokepa Moses is the Ka`u chair of the organization that helps plan farms and good agricultural practices.
      Manfredi stressed that ag needs more funding, the state Department of Agriculture receiving only one half of one percent of the state budget. “We think that’s wrong,” said Manfredi. “People want to get behind ag.”
      He said more help is needed to fight the macadamia felted coccid pest, warning that it could wipe out the entire mac nut industry in Ka`u.
      He also talked about new food safety laws that have such a high cost of compliance that home roasting and other small food prep businesses could be threatened.
      Manfredi mentioned state funding for irrigation system upgrades using old sugar plantation water tunnels and said the surveys are completed. He said the state administration and Legislature need to keep hearing from the public to keep the process going. He said the plan is for the state Department of Land & Natural Resources to lease the water system to the Agricultural Develoment Corp, which would lease to the individual ag water entities. These cooperatives and other entities are being established between Kapapala and Wai`ohinu. Manfredi said the process is “moving at a glacial pace… . When it does happen we will have millions to repair the water system and a lot more capacity than what is coming out of them now.”
      See more on the Farm Bureau meeting in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar. 

Chefs in Japan have selected Aikane Plantation's Ka`u Coffee
as one of the top 100 food products in Japan.
Photo from cuisine-kingdom.com
KA`U'S AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE COMPANY has been selected as one of the top 100 food products in Japan. Each year, products are selected by top chefs in Japan and listed at cuisine-kingdom.com. Categories are Fresh Food, Processed Food, Seasoning, Beverage & Alcohol and Kitchen Tools & Tableware. 
      “This is quite an honor considering how many products throughout the world are brought into Japan,” said Aikane Plantation owner Phil Becker.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

“CLEANER ENERGY, MORE AFFORDABLE ENERGY, and to get there as quickly as possible” are goals of NextEra Energy, Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Transmission told Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The Florida-based company announced plans to purchase Hawaiian Electric Industries for $4.3 billion last week.
      “What gets my attention is the prolific, diverse, world-class renewable resources of all types (on the Big Island),” Gleason told Callis. “If there is an island in the state that gets to 100 percent renewables first, it ought to be the Big Island.”
      Gleason said NextEra Energy is considering wind, biomass, solar and geothermal but has yet to decide which sources to pursue. He is confident renewable energy will contribute to lower energy costs.
      The cost of about 17 cents per kilowatt to produce electricity on the Big Island is mainly attributed to oil, according to Gleason. “The price to beat for renewables is 17 cents,” he said. “As long as you can integrate costs effectively, you can save customers money.”
      Gleason told Callis, “Our view is the way technology is today that some level of fossil fuels could give the degree of (firm power) that’s going to be required. Maybe not forever. That’s why we support HELCO’s plan that they filed that includes some fossil fuel use in the system.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE REPORTS that lava continues to flow in the Pahoa area, slowly covering another 225 yards in the last 24 hours as of 8:30 a.m. today. The flow front is currently in a relatively flat area and approaching steeper paths of descent, which could cause the flow to gain speed as it heads toward Hwy 130, 2.2 miles away.
      A community meeting to update residents takes place Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Pahoa High School Cafeteria with representatives from Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Oral Abihai demonstrates `ukulele making tomorrow.
Photo from NPS
ORAL ABIHAI SHARES HIS PASSION for making `ukulele from discarded or naturally fallen pieces of wood tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

HANA HOU RESTAURANT’S KEIKI Christmas party is tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Na`alehu. The event features gifts for keiki, food for everyone and a visit from Santa.

THE DEADLINE TO REGISTER FOR the Christmas coloring contest at Pahala Community Center is Thursday. Keiki in preschool through sixth grade are invited to participate. For more information, call Nona at 928-3102.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee Meeting Thursday at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. For more information, email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net.

VOLCANO MIDDLE SCHOOL THEATER NIGHT is Thursday at 6 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Fifth- and sixth-graders present free performances. Call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com for more information.

KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN Steering Committee continues its discussion of the first comprehensive draft of the plan Saturday at 10 a.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The public is invited.
      According to planner Ron Whitmore, when the Steering Committee thinks the CDP is ready for full community review, then the broader community and stakeholders will have a thorough opportunity for review and recommendations. Only after the Steering Committee is satisfied that the CDP truly reflects community preferences will it recommend that the CDP be adopted by the County Council.
      Residents can read the draft at kaucdp.info and at local libraries and community centers.
      For more information, email ron.whitmore@hawaiicounty.gov. or call 961-8137.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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