Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015

The current status of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, shown here erupting in March 1984, are topics at a Volcano Awareness Month program this evening at Ocean View Community Center. Photo from USGS/HVO by J.D. Griggs
MAUNA LOA, WHICH FORMERLY HAD MUCH of the macadamia orchards tied up in leasing for Ka`u-produced nuts, is being purchased from The Hershey Co., of Pennsylvania, by Honolulu-based Hawaiian Host, according to Pacific Business News.
      Both companies will continue operating as two distinct, separate brands, according to the PBN story. The company said no immediate staff changes were planned.
      “This acquisition will create a great opportunity for both companies, our employees and the community,” Keith Sakamoto, president and CEO of Hawaiian Host, said in a statement. “It brings Mauna Loa back under Hawai`i ownership, joins together two strong, local brands and lays the foundation for continued success.” 
Mauna Loa planted its first macadamia nut trees in Kea`au in 1946. It is one of the largest macadamia nut processors in the world, with seasonal capacity to process approximately 40 million pounds of nuts a year.
      The company was acquired by Hershey in 2004.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FOLLOWING MINA MORITA’S RESIGNATION from the state Public Utilities Commission, Pacific Business News is considering possible replacements. PBN’s list includes state Sen. Mike Gabbard, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment; Doug Codiga, a Honolulu energy attorney; Mark Glick, administrator for the state Energy Office; Ted Liu, former director of the state Department of Economic Development and Tourism; Robbie Alm, former executive vice president for Hawaiian Electric Co.; Doug McLeod, former energy commissioner for Maui County; and Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Honolulu-based renewable energy nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation.
      “The decisions that the PUC will make in the next couple of years will set the framework for utility operations long into the future,” Mikulina told PBN reporter Duane Shiwogama. “That individual needs to be an akamai, independent thinker who understands the role of policy in a rapidly changing technology and business landscape.” 
      Mikulina also said Gov. David Ige could appoint one of the two current members, either Michael Champley or Lorraine Akiba, as chair, or someome from the outside.
      “They’ve had the experience from serving for a few years,” Mikulina said. “The governor could then just appoint a third commissioner.”
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kamana Beamer Photo from The Kohala Center
KAMANAMAIKALANI BEAMER, PH.D. is The Kohala Center’s next president and chief executive officer. Beamer succeeds Matthews Hamabata, Ph.D., who is retiring after serving as the organization’s president and CEO since its founding in 2000. 
      Beamer, a geographer, historian, author, public servant and resident of Waimea, assumes leadership of the center on March 1 on a part-time basis and on a full-time basis on July 1. Hamabata will continue to serve as a consultant to Beamer and The Kohala Center, overseeing select projects including development of The Center’s future campus on Kohala Mountain.
      “I feel that the values and goals of The Kohala Center are closely aligned with my own ethics and aspirations,” Beamer said. “I was born and raised in rural Hawai`i. I know that there is much that our lifestyle and aloha can provide to others. There is a pressing need to provide sustainable economic alternatives for these communities, for Hawai`i and for the world. The Kohala Center has built amazing programs, fostered powerful relationships and had the courage to remain independent while becoming a leader in strengthening the rural, agricultural and knowledge economies of Hawai`i.”
      Beamer’s affiliation with The Kohala Center dates back to his selection as a postdoctoral fellow in the center’s inaugural cohort of the Mellon-Hawai`i Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in 2008–2009 and presently serves as a mentor to one of the program’s current postdoctoral fellows. The program holds annual gatherings of fellows and their mentors at Pahala Plantation House. He comes to The Kohala Center from his current position as a member of the faculty at the Hui `Aina Momona Program at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, with a joint appointment in the Richardson School of Law and the Hawai`inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ HAS CO-INTRODUCED legislation to provide a 3.8 percent pay raise to federal workers in calendar year 2016. Federal employees have lost over a billion dollars in salary and benefits due to sequestration and a three-year pay freeze from January 2011 to December 2013. 

      “Hawai`i’s federal employees are some of the hardest working public servants in the country,” Schatz said. “In recent years, our federal workers have endured pay freezes, furloughs and a government shutdown. Our bill recognizes the service of working families and gives them a well-deserved raise.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Offerings to Pele are placed on new lava in Pahoa. Photo from Wendy M. Fontaine
WHAT I LEARNED FROM A TOWN Threatened by Lava is the title of an entry on facebook by Wendy M. Fontaine. Fontaine is a writer, editor and mother in Los Angeles who visited Pahoa in December. A former newspaper reporter, her work has appeared in many newspapers, as well as Brain, Child Magazine, Grace Magazinefor Women, Role/Reboot and Utne Reader
      “Along with dozens of other visitors and residents, we walked to the end of Apa`a Drive to view the cooled lava from the town’s transfer station,” Fontaine wrote. “My daughter and I posed for photos and gazed at the coins, fruits and flowers left on the rock as makana, or gifts, for Pele, the mythical Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes. We left the only thing we had in our pockets: a piece of spearmint chewing gum… .
      “Here’s what the media hasn’t told you: Pahoa is a portrait of resilience. When lava advanced toward the highway, the town built a 10-mile bypass road. When it moved toward schools, Pahoa relocated students to neighboring communities. Utility poles are in the path of the flow. So what did Pahoa do? Lift them up onto rock platforms, of course.
      “We were in town only 10 days, but that was long enough to see that this village is not easily broken. The next time I visit Hawai`i, Pahoa might not be where I left it. It could be empty, or it could be covered in hard black rock. It hardly matters, really, because Pahoa is not just a place.
      “Pahoa is the decision to live not in resistance to nature, but in flux with it. It is making sure your neighbor, or even your neighbor’s dog, is all right. It is having a back-up plan, an extra loaf of bread and a gas can ready to go. It is the awareness that our world is constantly changing, whether we want it to or not.
      “I came home with the usual souvenirs: mugs and magnets, key chains and T-shirts. But the best thing I brought back from the Big Island was a reminder to live like a local, to remember that when disaster strikes, which it will inevitably do, there will always be at least one way around it.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Astronomer Lew Cook, who writes an astronomy column for The Ka`u Calendar,
photographed Comet Lovejoy on Jan. 11 using a telescope in New Mexico.
The colored dots result from taking three red, three green and three blue
exposures and tracking the comet on the exposures.
ASTRONOMER LEW COOK, WHO WRITES a monthly column for The Ka`u Calendar, offers updates on Stars Over Ka`u for this month. 
      “Comet Q2 Lovejoy is in the sky, visible with binoculars. I’ve plotted the approximate position for every Saturday night on our chart. It starts the month out in Lepus (the rabbit) and travels northwestward through Taurus, ending the month west of Perseus. The dates are shown in small numbers below the comet symbol.
      “Ever see the planet Mercury?” Cook asks. “For the next few days, look west just after sunset. The bright white ‘star’ that is first to pop into view after sunset in the western sky is Venus. Look just to the right of Venus, and soon to appear will be Mercury, quite a bit dimmer. Mars continues to lurk in the southwestern sky and on the Jan. 23 will be approached by the crescent moon, above and to the right.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY geologist Frank Trusdell presents a program today at 6:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Trusdell reports on the current status of Mauna Loa, offers updates on Kilauea’s summit eruption and presents an overview of Kilauea’s East Rift Zone eruption, including an in-depth account of the lava flow that has advanced toward Pahoa over the past few months.
      Call 967-8844 for more information.

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT CONTINUES tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers meet at Kilauea Visitor Center to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U NATURAL FARMING WORKSHOP is coming up Saturday, Jan 17 and 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Earth Matters Farm at South Point and Kama`oa Roads. Participants learn about creating soil health & nutritional food.
      $100 for both days includes garden lunch. Register at 939-7510.


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