Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015

Hawai`i Ant Lab encourages Ka`u residents to learn how to eradicate Little Fire Ants during a meeting at Na`alehu Community Center today at 5:30 p.m. Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
VOG, HOW PEOPLE HANDLE IT was the topic at the meeting yesterday evening at Pahala Library. Residents from Pahala, Wood Valley and Volcano attended, invited by Dr. Claire Horwell, who runs the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network. She is conducting a study on ways people protect themselves from vog and how those methods relate to official advice.
Dr. Claire Horwell held a vog focus
group in Pahala yesterday.
      The coping methods reported for vog events were diverse. Most said they close windows, one saying she puts towels across the seam where the double-hung windows lock. Another said her slight asthma became full-blown after 2008 when heavy vog started covering the Ka`u landscape. Now she lives in a sealed house with windows rarely open and air conditioning and air filtering systems going 24/7. She and several others noted the very high cost of electricity being a barrier to sensitive people buying air cleaners that filter out SO2 and also purchasing air conditioning. A public school teacher talked about wet cloths in front of fans acting as a cooler and filter, a less expensive alternative but not scientifically proven.
      There was discussion about louver windows and whether wooden and glass ones can close tightly enough to keep out vog.
      There was also discussion on the value of closing windows even if they are not completely tight. With fewer pukas, less vog enters the room. A person should not give up on reducing the amount of vog coming into the room just because a house is leaky.
      Several people talked about vog giving them raspy voices and chronic coughs over time. They talked about using lozenges, and some said they drank tea and lots of water. Another said she wears an oil diffuser around her neck that emits peppermint for her to breathe. She said her mother uses many supplements and vapors to reduce symptoms of asthma, which started developing after the family moved to Wood Valley. She said at the public school campus in Pahala students have headaches, can taste the vog and become nauseous. She said they grew up with it, so are used to it.
      One resident talked about individual communities dealing with vog differently. Some houses in Ocean View have only screens. In some places more people work outdoors so they have more exposure.
      There was discussion about the new gym and possibly installing air conditioning and air cleaners to make it a safe place for recess and athletics during heavy vog. Air cleaners and air conditioning for all classrooms was also discussed as a possible proposal.
      There was agreement that health advisory information should be distributed in print form. It was acknowledged that there is much information on the Internet.
      Regarding emissions from the volcano other than SO2, a study on the edge of Halema`uma`u crater took in the emissions and checked for metals. Mercury recovered was not the kind that humans and other mammals can absorb. Other metals were recorded, but below health warning levels. Another survey session is expected soon in Na`alehu. Contact Horwell at claire.horwell@durham.ac.uk.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Russell Ruderman
HAWAI`I SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE yesterday advanced Ka`u Sen. Russell Ruderman’s proposed legislation regarding coffee labeling. 
      SB 594 would require a specific listing of geographic origins of various Hawai`i-grown coffees and the geographic or regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawai`i that are included in a coffee blend to be listed on the front panel of a label. It would also increase the minimum percentage requirement for coffee blends to use geographic origin in labeling or advertising to 80 percent coffee by weight from that geographic origin.
      In his testimony, state Department of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright expressed concern about the required listing of individual non-Hawai`i-grown coffee origins, saying it would place an extreme hardship on the blending industry because individual blend components may not be available at all times due to logistics, crop size and pricing. “If any one of the blend components were not available, it would make the packaging materials obsolete, which would be very costly to business,” he said.
      Volcano resident and tea grower Eva Lee testified, “We need the support of Hawai`i government to make right the misdirected and confusing labeling that has gone on for way too long regarding Kona Coffee. Raising public awareness and supporting that authenticity means a majority percent. It will change the tainted reputation regarding Hawai`i-grown products and give voice to the Hawai`i farmer contributing to our local economy and pave the way for other specialty crops of Hawai`i facing similar challenges. Please consider SB594 a turning point in Hawai`i history.”  
      For more information and to testify, see capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

State Rep. Nicole Lowen
HAWAI`I HOUSE COMMITTEE on Legislative Management has passed HB1054, which would establish a pilot program to enable the House to receive live oral testimony from Hawai`i County through audio or audiovisual technology. The trial program would run through June 30, 2017. 
      “This pilot program would remove one of the biggest hurdles facing Hawai`i Island residents in voicing their opinions on issues that matter to them, without having to buy a plane ticket to O`ahu to do so,” said Hawai`i Island Rep. Nicole Lowen, who introduced the bill.
      “I am also working with House staff and leadership on other ways we might be able to extend remote access to the Capitol to neighbor islands that might not require legislation. The technology to be able to do this has been around for a while, and government is running out of excuses for not using it,” she said.
      The proposal calls for the House to coordinate with Hawai`i County to identify sites or facilities that have existing audio and audiovisual capabilities that could be used to allow residents to present live oral testimony. The bill also requires the House to consult with the county, the chief information officer and the Disability and Communication Access Board, and appropriates monies to establish audio or audiovisual systems.
      The bill now moves on to the House Judiciary Committee and, if passed, proceeds to Finance.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ATHLINE CLARK IS THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, announced by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Clark has worked for the past five years for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and previously served as Hawai`i’s co-manager for Papahanaumokuakea.
Athline Clark
      “Athline has more than 20 years of experience working with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, first in the Florida Keys, then as a sanctuary advisory council member for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary,” said Allen Tom, Pacific Islands regional director for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. “She has always been a part of the sanctuary universe in the Pacific Islands region, and we are excited to welcome her to NOAA's marine protected area family.”
      “The advisory council is happy to have Athline on board, as she brings a wealth of knowledge about the history and management of this special place,” said Tim Johns, NOAA’s Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve Advisory Council chair. The council is a community-based advisory group that provides advice and recommendations to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries about the management of Papahanaumokuakea.
      “I am encouraged by Athline’s wealth of experience from two decades of involvement working from all sides of conservation and resource management,” said Dan Basta, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries director. “For many of those years she has been working directly with us to manage the monument resources.”

      Clark is a graduate of Kailua High School on O`ahu and received a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in urban and regional planning from University of Hawai`i at Manoa.

      Papahanaumokuakea is cooperatively managed to ensure ecological integrity and achieve strong, long-term protection and perpetuation of Northwestern Hawaiian Island ecosystems, Native Hawaiian culture and heritage resources for current and future generations. Three co-trustees – the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and State of Hawai`i – joined by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, protect it.
      For more information, see www.papahanaumokuakea.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

BERT NAIHE PERFORMS on-stage today at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

HAWAI`I ANT LAB STAFF MEMBERS encourage the public to learn how to eliminate Little Fire Ant colonies tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
      Call 315-5656 for more information.


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