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Ka`u News Briefs June 27, 2013

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Ninety acres at Punalu`u make up one of several parcels in the Mahi`ai Match-up, a statewide business plan contest for
farmers and entrepreneurs looking to establish an agricultural business in Hawai`i.
LEHMAN BROTHERS has taken over ownership of some 5,800 acres in Ka`u in foreclosure proceedings. The property includes oceanfront land at Waikapuna, pastures mauka of Honu`apo, the Moa`ula coffee lands and more pasture near Pahala. It also includes the old Becky’s Bed and Breakfast house in Na`alahu and the next door residence as well as various small land parcels from Pahala to Na`alehu. The final confirmation sale was conducted today at the First Circuit Court Building in Honolulu on the fourth floor. Judge Bert Ayabe presided over entertaining additional bids for the property in foreclosure, but no one came forward. On hand was Edmund C. Olson, who says he is interested in purchasing the coffee lands portion of the properties at Moa`ula, and representatives of The Nature Conservancy, who are interested in the coastal lands of Waikapuna. Also on hand was realtor Charlie Anderson representing E.W. Moody who owns a large swath of property south of Honu`apo and Chris Manfredi who managed Waikapuna, Moa`ulu and pasturelands that changed hands in the auction.
Various properties were bundled in the sale of some 5,800 Ka`u acres.
      The various properties were bundled in the sale, preventing bidders from acquiring individual parcels of their particular interest.
      Much of the land foreclosed upon is used for cattle ranching. More than 300 acres is the location of most of the famous Ka`u Coffee orchards under the care of more than 30 farmers whose leases have expired after having been set up in this new local economy through the old plantation that shut down and sold off the land, through government programs and through their own hard work.
      The foreclosure was against WWW Hawai`i Holdings, which borrowed more than $45 million against the 5,800 acres from Lehman Brothers and owed some $60 million with interest due.
      During the foreclosure auction on May 21, Lehman Brothers Holdings bid higher than the only other bidder,  Olson, who offered $12 million. Lehman, which bid $12.246 million, was allowed to use credit against the money owed by WWWK Hawai`i Holdings, in order to take ownership of the property.
      Gloria Camba, president of Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative, said that the farmers hope to keep the land, whether through long-term leases or fundraising and purchase that would allow the farmers land security for their successful enterprise.

Rodney Takaki and his grandson, Skyler Torres, captured
 the state record and perhaps the world record with this
151-pound sailfish. Photo by Lisa Edwards
A KA`U FISHERMAN HAS BROKEN the record for the largest sailfish caught, and the record may be worldwide, according to the International Game Fish Association. 
      Fishing captain Rodney Takaki and his grandson, Skyler Torres, both of Pahala, recently caught a 151-pound sailfish, capturing the state record; the previous record was 119-pounds. The gigantic fish was caught using a hand line on Saturday, May 4, with Takaki launching out of Punalu`u on a 1973 18-foot boat. Ben Wong, of TV’s Let’s Go Fishing, said he will air the accomplishment on his show.
      According to records kept online for the International Game Fish Association at wrec.igfa.org, Takaki’s fish may also be a world-record holder. IGFA lists the current world record at 141 pounds, caught in Luanda, Angola in 1994.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE SURVEYING of old tunnels and water distribution routes will begin in July. The group has been working for about a decade on restoring plantation water sources for agriculture between Kapapala Ranch, Wood Valley, and above Pahala, across lands, including Makanau and Hilea, as well as property above Na`alehu and to Wai`ohinu.
      Old sugar plantation tunnels and waterline routes will be surveyed by the Sam Hirota company, of O`ahu, which is sending a crew to begin its work in July. Millions of dollars of funding were approved by the state Legislature for the irrigation project being managed by the state Department of Agriculture.
      The crew will survey water tunnels built by the plantations a century ago on what is now state land. The purpose during plantation days was to carry sugar cane by water in flumes from the fields to the mill. Renovations will put the water in pipes to create a new agricultural irrigation system, the cooperative promises. Hirota will survey from the tunnel openings to the end of state land, along with access from public roads to the irrigation system.
      The Hirota crew plans to meet with representatives of each water system area to understand what needs to be surveyed. The first trip will concentrate on the Keaiwa system, up Wood Valley Road, with the remaining systems to be surveyed in following visits.
Surveying of old tunnels and KAWCD water distribution routes begins
next month. Photo from state Department of Agriculture
      During the last Ka`u Agricultural Water Cooperative District Board of Directors meeting on June 20, ranchers, farmers and orchard and coffee growers represented areas where there are sources for irrigation and ranch water for livestock. Ha`ao Springs/Mountain House Agricultural Water Cooperative was represented by Mel Davis, Kapapala Ranch was represented by Lani Petrie, and Wood Valley Water and Farm Cooperative was represented by Jeff McCall. Eight members of the steering committee also represented these and other areas.
      Petrie reported that a landslide outside the Makakupu tunnel has made access between the tunnel entrances dangerous. While the legal access is along the pipeline from the Kapapala side, the other tunnel entrance will need to be accessed from the Wood Valley side, she said.
      McCall reported that Melanie Bondera met with the Wood Valley board to discuss conflict resolution training for water co-op members. She and Lori Beach will work with the board on training and interviewing the membership.
      Regarding Ha`ao Springs/Mountain House Agricultural Water Cooperative, an agreement is being sought with Kahua Ranch. Petrie said that she has been talking with Tim Richards about allowing access. A field trip with Ralph Kaapana was proposed to show Kahua the good intentions of the water cooperative.
      Regarding Moa`ula, where the famous Ka`u coffee is grown, a waterline has been installed down to the main cane haul road. Work on the incorporation documents is continuing.
      Regarding Hilea, cattleman Tyler Johansen met with Melanie Bondera to begin work on the documents.
      The water cooperative board of directors has set the next meeting for Wednesday, July 24 at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office on the corner of Pikake and Maile Streets in Pahala. The public is invited. For more information, call McCall at 937-1056.

MORE FOOTBALL PLAYERS ARE NEEDED for Ka`u High School to launch a season this fall. 
      Athletic director Kalei Namohala said, “We will need to have more than 30 players attending daily by Aug. 5. If we do not have more than 30, we will not have football. The forfeiture rate for football is $1,500 per game. So we will need to declare by the 5th.” Summer conditioning is ongoing Mondays through Fridays, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Contact Coach DuWayne Ke. Those trying out can meet at the weight room at Ka`u High School. The official day of tryouts is July 22. In order to participate in tryouts and conditioning, students will need a current physical and participation form. All student athletes will have to see the athletic director for concussion baseline testing during tryouts, Namohala said.
      Football coaches are head coach Kainoa Ke, defensive coach Brian Dopp and offensive coach Greg Rush.

NINETY ACRES OF LAND AT PUNALU`U make up one of several parcels in the Mahi`ai Match-up, a statewide agricultural business plan contest for farmers and entrepreneurs looking to establish an agricultural business in Hawai‘i. Winners receive an agricultural lease from Kamehameha Schools with rent waived for up to five years and a cash prize from Ke Ali`i Pauahi Foundation to help make their winning agricultural business plan a reality.
      After year five, contingent on the winners successfully implementing their plans per milestones to be mutually agreed upon by lessee and KS, the land will be leased for a longer term at normal KS agricultural lease rates.
      Registration deadline is Monday, July 1.
      See more at pauahi.org/mahiaimatchup.

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY that low-income families can sign up for assistance in paying their electric bills at the Old Pahala Clubhouse on Maile Street from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents can also sign up Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hawai`i Economic Opportunity Council office in Na`alehu office behind the Community Center.

At Na`alehu Farmers Market on Saturday, the public
can sign a sheet thanking U.S. troops.
Image from Peter Anderson
TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP to participate in the Na`alehu Fourth of July Parade and be eligible to win prizes. Two prizes will be awarded for the most creative entry and the most patriotic entry. Those who decide to join the parade after tomorrow will not be eligible for prizes, said organizer Debra McIntosh. 
      Businesses, organizations, and individuals who wish to participate in the parade or donate can call McIntosh at 929-9872.
      The parade starts at Na`alehu Elementary School at 11 a.m. Saturday. Before the parade, free pancake breakfast takes place at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
      Following the parade, `O Ka`u Kakou will sponsor keiki activities at Na`alehu Park with a water slide, bouncy apparatus and climbing wall.
      Free hot dogs and shave ice will also be distributed at the park. Music and kani ka pila will entertain participants. Seniors can enjoy a free lunch at the Na`alehu Community Center, which will be followed by senior bingo and prizes.
      Assembly of God Church also offers free hot dogs, chili and a concert after the parade.
      There will also be a Support Our Troops  booth at Na`alehu Farmers Market Saturday.
      “Anyone can stop by and sign a sheet thanking our troops at Pohakuloa Training Center for their dedication to our safety,” said organizer Peter Anderson. “There is no obligation attached to signing the sheet; its purpose is just a simple thank you to our servicemen and women.”

Financial aid is available for Likolehua Summer Art Camp.
Photo from Volcano Art Cetner
SPOTS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR LIKOLEHUA SUMMER ART CAMP, which starts July 8 at Volcano Art Center and runs for two weeks, Monday through Friday. “This fun and creative camp is a great opportunity for keiki on the Big Island,” said VAC’s Britten Traughber. “Join creative instructors in an exciting camp that focuses on visual, cultural and performing arts for ages 6 through 12.” Fees are $355 or $320 for VAC members. 
       Financial aid is available; applications are due tomorrow. Call 967-8222 to register or for more information.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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