Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015

Federal acquisition of the Great Crack has an unprecedented high ranking in Pres. Obama's 2016 budget. Photo by Jody Kaulukukui
ADDING THE GREAT CRACK to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has an unprecedented high ranking in Pres. Barack Obama’s recently released fiscal year 2016 budget.
      Called Island Forests at Risk, the proposal includes funds for adding acreage to Maui’s Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. It is an effort through the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service to strategically conserve and protect endangered species’ habitats, culturally significant areas and threatened lands.
The Great Crack Photo from NASA
      Including the parcels that make up the Island Forests at Risk proposal is an effort that has taken several years to achieve. For the 2013, 2014 and 2015 budgets, proposals were submitted that included land acquisitions for Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, but these were unsuccessful in receiving a high ranking for permanent and current funding.
      This year, Hawai`i’s proposal again includes land acquisitions for Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and both are ranked first in their respective agencies’ discretionary funding priority lists.
      “These important parcels will protect volcanic features, numerous archaeological sites, pockets of endangered plant communities and over two miles of coastline and marine resources. Features representing the earliest arrivals of Polynesians and the prehistoric and historic lava flows and related geologic features, including major lava tube features, are of significant biological and cultural value and will be protected,” said Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “It is these resource values that contribute to the outstanding universal values under which Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park was designated a World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. In addition, this acquisition will enhance wilderness and recreational values adjacent to the existing park boundary."
      Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “It is great news for Hawai`i that the Island Forests at Risk Collaborative Landscape Proposal is included in the President’s budget this year. This proposal will provide crucial protection of native species and their habitats. ... After several years of hard work, this is the highest ranking the Departments of Interior and Agriculture have given Hawai`i’s application, which increases the likelihood of federal support for this vital project.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rep. Richard Creagan
KA`U’S STATE REP. RICHARD CREAGAN has introduced a bill related to coffee labeling. HB 387 follows Hawai`i County Council’s unanimous approval of a resolution, introduced by Ka`u’s former Council member Brenda Ford, requesting that the Hawai`i Legislature adopt provisions for truth-in-labeling for Hawai`i-grown coffee. 
    The purpose of the bill is to:
  1. Require the label of coffee blends to disclose the regional origins and percent by weight of the blended coffees; and 
  2. Make it a violation of the coffee labeling law to use a geographic origin in labeling or advertising, when the roasted or instant coffee contains less than fifty-one per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin. 
      According to the bill, “it is inherently deceptive and misleading to label coffee as a geographically identified blend, such as ‘Hamakua Blend,’ ‘Ka`u Blend’ and ‘Kona Blend’ unless at least a majority of the coffee is from that region.”  
      The bill states that blending of various roasts and origins to create unique flavor profiles “is an acceptable practice, as opposed to deceptive labeling of blends by using misleading geographic origin names, which violates basic principles of consumer protection and fair marketing.
      “Immediate legislative action is necessary to protect the reputation of Hawai`i-grown coffees as premier, specialty coffees from further degradation.”
      See capitol.hawaii.gov to track progress of this and other proposed legislation.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Farm Bureau Pres. Chris Manfredi
A BILL THAT WOULD KEEP COUNTIES from enacting laws, ordinances or resolutions to limit rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in certain agricultural practices has passed the state House Agriculture Committee. HB 849 would amend Hawai`i’s Right to Farm Act to say, “No law, ordinance or resolution of any unit of local government shall be enacted that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural practices not prohibited by federal or state law, rules or regulations.” 
      The bill is in response to laws passed in Hawai`i and Kaua`i Counties limiting use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. The counties are currently appealing court decisions that invalidated the laws.
      In testimony to the state Agriculture Committee, County Council member Margaret Wille, who wrote Hawai`i County’s measure, said HB 849 “is designed to gut the counties’ home rule over matters affecting agriculture. … There is no state legislation governing the cultivation of GMO crops and plants. Hence in effect this legislation is clearly designed to put these multinational biotech corporations above the law.” 
      Chris Manfredi, president of Hawai`i Farm Bureau, testified that “state and federal government agencies typically have the resources, knowledge and expertise to oversee all aspects of Hawai`i’s agricultural industries. Counties have no demonstrated capacity to regulate in these areas. Moreover, the idea that counties could create redundant and unnecessary regulatory regimes speaks volumes to inefficiencies and not a desire to promote and support farmers, ranchers and local crop production; rather a desire shut down such operations - while simultaneously expounding on the benefits of food security and sustainability.”
      Simon Russell, Hawai`i Farmers Union United Vice President and Legislative Committee Chairman, wrote that the amendment “directly contradicts the concept of Home Rule, which on the neighbor islands is a must. For those who value Home Rule, this bill is a terrible precedent for any future conflicts between state and county jurisdictional legal arguments. Counties should always be allowed to look after their best interests and be more restrictive than state governments, and this is one of the principles that our democratic republic is founded on. As far as farming freedoms are concerned, as we all know, there is a balance between freedom and security. Once the freedom of one entity takes freedom from another entity, governments are supposed to protect the entity losing freedoms. This bill is limiting the freedom of counties to self-determine what is in their own interest.”
      The vast majority of testifiers opposed the amendment. See capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Tonight is Volcano Art Center's annual Love the Arts fundraiser.
ABRACADABRA: THE MAGIC OF ART is Volcano Art Center’s annual fundraiser today from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. The event features silent and live auctions, entertainment, gourmet food, handmade confections, fine wine and champagne. 
      Tickets are available at Niaulani Campus, VAC Gallery, Banyan Gallery and The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo, 967-8222 or volcanoartcenter.org. $55 members; $65 nonmembers.

A guided hike tomorrow explores Kahuku's human history.
NPS photo by Julia Espaniola
A GUIDED, 2.5-MILE, MODERATELY DIFFICULT HIKE over rugged terrain at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park focuses on the area’s human history. The hike takes place tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 985-6011 for more information. 

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ offers its Mongolian BBQ tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. An array of veggies and proteins is available for 85 cents per ounce. The event in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356

SENIOR ID CARDS, for residents ages 60 and over, are available Monday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. Call 928-3100 for more information.

KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN Steering Committee meets Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The committee will discuss plans for community review of the draft CDP and ways to help members prepare for it and decision-making that will follow. Public feedback is welcome on these agenda items.
      The agenda, draft CDP and other information is available at kaucdp.info.


See kaucalendaar.com/Directory2015.pdf or

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