Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015


Ka`u middle school students will have access to learning instruments as band instruments are restored and Jr. Volcano Choy
offers after school classes, a fundraiser planned for Jan. 31. Photo by Julia Neal
THIS NEW YEAR, THE BRASS BAND IS COMING BACK TO CAMPUS and more music will sound out at school. Funds are being raised to restore instruments at Ka`u High School for a music program for Pahala Middle School students. Toward this goal, Jr. Volcano Choy and Friends will host a fundraising Afternoon Jazz Performance, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 31 at Pahala Plantation House on the corner of Maile and Pikake Streets.
     The event is sponsored by Volcano Art Center, which has received a grant from Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts to bring back band music education to keiki of Ka`u. The afterschool program for beginning brass band will be instructed by Jr. Volcano Choy, the highly experienced performing artist and educator who lives in Volcano, following a professional performing and recording career on the mainland.
Band instruments awaiting restoration at Ka`u High School.
Photo by Julia Neal
     A Hawai`i native, Choy noted that Ka`u High school’s music building is filled with all the instruments that are part of a full band program. Due to lack of a program, scores of instruments are rusting and non-functional. A statement from Volcano Art Center says, “These instruments need to come alive again. They are trumpets, trombones and more which all need TLC. The Afternoon Jazz Performance is an event to raise funds for repair and revitalization of these instruments.”
   Those attending are urged to bring a garden chair and the $15 suggested donation.
     For a weekend of Jazz with Jr. Volcano Choy and overnight accommodations, call Pahala Plantation Cottages at 928-9811.
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

A DEATH DISCOVERED AT A HOUSE FIRE LAST NIGHT in Hawai'i Ocean View Estates is under investigation. Company 20 arrived on scene where the 30 feet by 50 feet single story house with fire involved in the bedrooms and hallway of the mauka side of the residence. According to the Hawai'i Fire Department report, two people lived in the house and one was away at the store at time of the start of the fire. "The second occupant was found to be DOA after search by HFD personnel during initial fire attack," the report states. No other occupants were living in the dwelling. To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

KA`U'S HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED FOUNDING PRESIDENT and member Malian Lahey, who owns and operates a farm in Wood Valley,  has released a New Years message about agriculture in Ka`u, her views on farming and the purpose of Hawai`i Farmers Union United and the new Ka`u chapter. It is entitled  Hawaii Farmers’ Union United Ka`u Chapter Unites Organic and Conventional Farmers:
Malian Lahey
     As an organic farmer in Hawai`i, I am surely one of the rarer ones whose mentors are all conventional farmers. I can’t help it. In Pahala, where I live, most of the old timers use some kind of pesticide or chemical fertilizer. They have succeeded in their type of agriculture for more years than I have been alive.
     They have also taken me under their wing, protected me, cooked fried eggs with smoke meat and rice for me. Their kind, open hearts opened mine. I still have a lot to learn from these farmers. They taught me which properties on the market were good for farming, what equipment to buy, how to space coffee trees, and the nutrient demands of coffee on the soil.
     They introduced me to the NRCS, FSA, and USDA programs and coached me on how to navigate the incredible amount of beauracracy involved in farming.
     I’m not complacent. I have a lot to talk to them about. We’ve discussed the negative effects of pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers on human health, the soil, and the water. I’ve shared information about herbicide resistant superweeds and the way GM foods contribute to antibiotic resistant diseases.
     Here’s where it gets real: everyone is surviving in their own way. I don’t have a right to tell other farmers how to work their own farm.  I can farm my way on my farm. 
    In order to reasonably expect other people to change, I have to not only show that organic farming is better and that they can make a living at it, but I have to create a path forward for that to happen with some economic security.  If I’m going to ask another farmer to change their ways, I have some responsibilities to them. 
     First off, I have to respect their free will and choice. That means giving people the information and letting them make their own decision.  I have to educate and build trusting relationships with farmers, so that I can share what I have learned about organic farming and how it works. It wouldn’t hurt if they could see some models of successful organic farming to boot. If I’m so convinced that I am right, then I shouldn’t be afraid of an honest discussion of the facts among friends.
     Second, I have to work with them, the government, and nonprofit sector to help them build their path to a different way of farming. They will need new equipment and infrastructure as well as education. They need money to buy materials and support from their extension agents. That means change in all of those agencies, as well.
Earth Matters, which provides a Community Assisted Agricultural program through which residents can pick up produce weekly
 at the farm near the corner of South Point and Kama`oa Roads, is a member of the Ka`u chapter of Hawai`i Farmers Union United.
     Most of the conventional farmers I know are solving problems with conventional methods that they don’t know how to solve otherwise.  Even if I blame corporate agriculture for spreading misinformation, it’s not fair to ask regular people to change unless we have an effective alternative to solve that problem. 
     To me, it seems obvious that a large-scale transition to organic farming will require an enormous amount of dedication, focus and energy, not to mention money. The biologically beneficial systems like organic, biodynamic, Korean Natural Farming, and permaculture are based upon entirely different foundations and an entirely different attitude. That means that building bridges is the biggest part of the work. 
     The Hawai`i Farmers’ Union United Ka`u chapter is dedicated to the success of small farmers. We have about 50 percent organic farmers and 50 percent conventional farmers in the Ka`u chapter right now.  All of us share certain problems that the HFUU is committed to solve. HFUU priorities include:
     * Creating legal protection for Hawaii origin products and place names, so that small farmers can earn a better profit for specialty products that are unique to their region.
    * Simplifying Food Safety certification and making it more efficient and cheaper for the small farmer.
     *  Legalizing industrial hemp to be grown for fiber, fuel and food.
     *  Affordable Farming Land Trusts, in which the land can never be sold, and that will give long-term leases to farmers and allow them to live on their farm.
    All of this serves the small family farmer. And rightly so. Small family farms are better for local economies, because they spend more money at other local businesses instead of sending all the money to the top dogs of some big company. Small family farms are also more efficient in their use of resources, such as water and fuel. Small farms that grow food tend to let the vegetables ripen naturally, which makes them more nutritious, and they get to market using less fuel and labor. This means that they are better for human health, the environment, and the economy.
Hawai`i Farmers Union United Ka`u chapter with its vice president and member
of the state House of Representatives Richard Creagan. Photo by Julia Neal
     Not only that, but Ka`u’s conventional farmers are, by en large, Hawaiian or Filipino. They are frugal, hard-working and self-sufficient.  It doesn’t seem right to have an organic revolution that displaces these dedicated, skilled people out of agriculture altogether, which would only perpetuate a history of colonial oppression.  These farmers hold a body of knowledge that can serve agriculture as a whole.  The word “culture” is an important part of “agriculture.” Culture often comes down from generations of inventive methods honed by experience - long before the debate about what products we use or don’t use. It’s about a way of life and finding a way to honor the best in each other. 
     It’s time for us to think about what it would mean for Ka`u to have a vibrant, healthy local economy where more families can run their own businesses and keep the benefits for themselves. We can continue to improve the situation for those who are already successful, while building partnerships to bring the others along.
    What would it mean if more people here could succeed as their own bosses and become healthier, happier, and more prosperous?  What would it take to achieve that vision?  All these questions can only be answered if we all put our heads together and cooperate.  That’s the purpose of the HFUU Ka`u Chapter.
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

AMAHL & THE NIGHT VISITORS continues at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. KDEN presents the production this Friday through Sunday, Jan. 4. Showtimes are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. For tickets, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.
Paul and Jane Field remove invasive Himalayan ginger at the park.
Photo by Jessica Ferracane/NPS

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT will draw volunteers tomorrow, Friday,  Jan,  2  and next Friday, Jan 9 as well as Thursday, Jan. 15; Saturday, Jan 24 and Sa†urday, Jan.  31. Volunteer days are from  9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply.

HAM RADIO OPERATORS POTLUCK PICNIC is this Sunday, Jan. 4 Manukā Park just west of Ocean View.. All American Radio Emergency Service members and anyone interested in learning how to operate a ham radio and families are invited to attend. Ham radio operators coordinate with the county and medical providers for disaster preparedness. For more information, call Dennis Smith, 989-3028

VOLCANO ART CENTER'S EXHIBIT for Christmas in the Country continues through Sunday, Jan. 4 with wreaths and other art for sale. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park entrance fees apply.

THE FIRST WALK INTO THE PAST FOR 2015 takes place next  Tuesday, Jan. 6 and again on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., beginning at Kīlauea Visitor Center and entering the Whitney Vault in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Ka‘ū resident Dick Hershberger brings Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar to life every other Tuesday.

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK next Tuesday features  Updates on Kīlauea’s Two Eruptions, at 7 p.m. in Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matt Patrick presents an update on the Halema‘uma‘u lava lake, a brief overview on the first 30 years of Pu‘u ‘Ō‘ō’s eruption and an in-depth account of the current lava flow that has advanced toward Pāhoa over the past six months. Free; park entrance fees apply.
KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE  meets next Thursday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m., Nā‘ālehu Methodist Church. Public invited. Contact richmorrow@alohabroadband.net

A RED CROSS VOLUNTEER MEETING will be held next, Thursday, Jan 8 at  7 p.m., in the HOVE Road Maintenance Corp. office. The gathering is for volunteers and those interested in becoming volunteers. Call Hannah Uribes, 929-9953.

JOHN DAWSON'S EXHIBIT entitled Over & Under will be unveiled on Sat. Jan. 10 at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The tage line is "More of His Nature." On display will be fresh observations of the park hrought the Dawson painting. The show is through Feb. 15.


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