Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014

Ka`u residents can vote for their favorite decorated cottages all month at Kilauea Military Camp. Photo by Dave Berry
LAND SECURITY FOR KA`U COFFEE FARMERS is a concern of Mayor Billy Kenoi. Land where much Ka`u Coffee is grown is a portion of 5,800 acres of Ka`u land that is up for sale by Lehman Brothers. Kenoi told The Ka`u Calendar that he met with Kennedy Wilson real estate broker Joel La Pinta, who is handling the sale, and told him that the parcels should be sold separately rather than as a package, with “real values” being placed on each parcel.
Mayor Billy Kenoi is concerned about the possible sell of Ka`u Coffee lands
where farmers' leases have expired.
      Selling parcels separately may make it more possible to save the Ka`u Coffee lands. Proposals have included encouraging any new owners to create an agricultural park where the coffee is farmed in order to take subdivision and real estate speculation out of the future of the lands. To create such an agricultural park, land where the coffee farms are located could possibly be purchased using Legacy Land funds and possibly funds from the “two percent” of property taxes that are used to preserve valuable lands for the county, in the same way that Honu`apo and Kawa were preserved here and a large parcel of agricultural land was set aside on O`ahu. Other proposals have included strict agricultural easements on the property to prevent it from being subdivided for coffee estates, similar to Napa Valley-style estates that cropped up in the wine-growing country in California.
      After nearly two decades of working the Cloud Rest and Pear Tree farms, farmers’ leases have expired and not been renewed. The land is being marketed with the coffee lands as the major value. The coffee acreage was set up with the county Planning director for subdivision and sale before the developers who bought it from C. Brewer were foreclosed on by Lehman Brothers Holdings, from whom they borrowed $40 million.
      Kenoi said he admired and respected the Ka`u Coffee farmers for creating the industry after the sugar mill shut down. He said whenever he gives Ka`u Coffee to people who haven’t tasted, they always love it.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Marilyn Nicholson and Mike Nelson
MIKE NELSON IS VOLCANO ART CENTER’S new executive director. Nelson has extensive experience working in entertainment, radio, television and in organizing special events. Most recently he has been involved in development and operational activities at O`ahu’s Ko Olina Resort. His background in business, marketing and public relations “will be a strong asset to VAC as we forge ahead with new programs in the performing and visual arts and plan for a ‘fire arts’ building to house ceramics and glass studios,” departing executive director Marilyn Nicholson said. 
      Nelson and his wife Janis have hand-cleared a lot in Mauna Loa Estates on which they just finished building their new home. “As long-time volunteers, we can expect them to quickly immerse themselves into the fabric of the Volcano community and our organization,” Nicholson said.
      “I’ve found it very rewarding to jump back in the ED’s seat over the past 14 months to help bring VAC back into a financially stable position and to facilitate the growth of educational programs,” Nicholson said. “However, I am very much looking forward to spending more time in my weaving studio and hitting the hiking trails. But the Volcano Art Center and the many wonderful people who support us – members, artists, volunteers, employees, board members, donors and those who participate in a myriad of ways – will always remain close to my heart.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono
U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO HAS RECEIVED committee assignments that begin in January. Hirono will serve on the Intelligence Committee, which oversees intelligence activities and programs of the U.S. government to make sure they comport with the U.S. Constitution and federal laws. Under Democrat Diane Feinstein of California, the committee is in the news with its controversial report regarding the CIA and torture. 
      Hirono will continue to serve on the Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees. Armed Services has legislative oversight of the nation’s military, including the Department of Defense.
      Veterans’ Affairs has also had a high profile lately, due to the backlog in addressing health needs of vets. Hawai`i has a large veteran population.
      Hirono will also serve on the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in the new Congress. She will relinquish her position on Senate Judiciary.
      “I look forward to building on our work to support our service members, veterans and their families,” Hirono said. “Maintaining a strong military presence in Hawai`i will continue to be critical to our national security and economy in-state, while also serving as a key component to our nation’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific.”
      Hirono added, “My new committee assignments are well-balanced and involve top priorities for Hawai`i, including shaping policies that secure clean energy, protection of the environment and boosting small business opportunities that create jobs that will help us achieve a sustainable future for Hawai`i.”
      The appointments are subject to a full vote by the Senate scheduled for early January. 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy
DR. VIVEK MURTHY is the first Indian and first Hindu American to serve as U.S. Surgeon General.

      “I extend my sincere congratulations to our new Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who has demonstrated dedication to serving others,” said Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is the first Hindu to serve in Congress. “Dr. Murthy has shown his commitment and passion for improving healthcare, especially in the areas of mental health, obesity, chronic disease and vaccinations. I look forward to working with him to serve the health and wellness needs of the American people.”
      Murthy’s parents are originally from Karnataka, India. He was born in Huddersfield, England, and the family relocated to Miami, Florida when he was three years old. Murthy attended college at Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in three years with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemical Sciences. He received an MD from the Yale School of Medicine and an MBA in Health Care Management from the Yale School of Management. He is currently a practicing physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as the Hospitalist Attending Physician and Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

John and Hope Keawe perform tonight.
Photo from NPS
KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S HOLIDAY CHALLENGE continues through the end of the month. The public can vote for their favorite decorations on the front row of cottages.

SLACK-KEY GUITARIST, COMPOSER and recording artist John Keawe returns with his wife Hope performing hula for a concert this evening at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support After Dark in the Park programs. Park entrance fees apply.

KENNETH MAKUAKANE PRESENTS A CONCERT tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The award-winning singer, songwriter and producer shares songs from his latest albums, The Dash, White Bath Tub, Makuakane and other compositions. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Members of Halau Hula O Ka `Imina Na`auao
Kahiko perform at KSA's Christmas concerts.
Photo by Julia Neal
PUBLIC ACCESS ROOM, a division of the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau of Hawai`i’s state Legislature, presents a workshop about the legislative process tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Entitled We the Powerful, the workshop covers how the public can participate in the Legislature. 
      Suzanne Marinelli, coordinator at PAR, leads the presentation.
      For more information, call 974-4000 ext. 7-0478 or email par@capitol.hawaii.gov.

KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS OFFERS a free Christmas concert Friday at 5 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center featuring Ka`u `Ohana Band, Halau Hula O Ka `Imina Na`auao Kahiko, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana, Sammie Fo and a sing-along with Ka`u Community Chorus. KSA also presented a concert at Pahala Plantation House Sunday following the Christmas parade through town. Potluck refreshments are welcome.  

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER’S annual keiki Christmas party is Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event includes gifts, a visit from Santa Claus, food, fun and celebration. Call 939-7033 to volunteer.


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