Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs June 28, 2013

Rodeo July 6 and 7 will tear up the arena in Na`alehu. Photo by William Neal
TRANSFER OF COFFEE LANDS, SHORELINE PROPERTY AND PASTURE from WWK Hawai`i Holdings to Lehman Brothers is expected to take place within 35 days after Judge Bert Ayabe files the final papers on the foreclosure auction of the property, which concluded yesterday. George Van Buren, who was assigned to manage the property until the foreclosure is completed, said that any tenants on the land with questions on their status can call him at 808-522-0420. The 5,800 acres includes Moa`ula and Pear Tree coffee lands where the famous Ka`u coffee is grown. It also includes thousands of acres in pasture.
Transfer of ownership of Ka`u acreage is expected to happen within 35
days after the judge files final papers on foreclosure of the property.
    WWK Hawai`i Holdings, according to Pacific Business News, had planned a high-end subdivision of farmlands, but was caught up in the financial collapse after borrowing some $45 million from Lehman. Lehman, after reorganizing following its own bankruptcy, foreclosed on WWK Hawai`i Holdings earlier this year. The Nature Conservancy has shown interest in the Waikapuna portion of the property, and Edmund C. Olson said he is interested in the coffee lands to help support the coffee mill he built on Wood Valley Road.

A WASTE-TO-ENERGY FACILITY AS AN OPTION for dealing with Hawai`i County’s trash could be “on the ground” by the end of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s term, according to a story by Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today. “Our goal is to have in the next 3 1/2 years a long-term solution on the ground and implemented,” he told the reporter. 
      Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, who Kenoi recently appointed as director of Environmental Management, thinks options to issue of what to do with trash will take longer to implement and she told the Environmental Management Committee that she is working on plans to extend the life of the Hilo landfill. According to the story, previous estimates said the landfill could be unusable in less than five years, but Leithead Todd is considering a sliver-fill design on the north-facing slope that could allow it to remain open for another 10 to 12 years.
      A concern mentioned by Leithead Todd is that Hawai`i County doesn’t produce enough garbage to sustain a waste-to-energy incinerator. While the county produces about 419 tons of trash per day, experts say the minimum amount needed to make waste-to-energy cost-effective is 500 tons per day.
      See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

A bill signed by Gov. Abercrombie makes clean energy improvements
more affordable and accessible. Photo from Office of the Governor
AS OUTLINED IN HIS 2013 STATE OF THE STATE address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed Senate Bill 1087, which establishes a green infrastructure financing program for Hawai`i. The Green Energy Market Securitization program is designed to make clean energy improvements more affordable and accessible to underserved community members. 
      “This new measure allows us to bring clean energy improvements within reach for a broader segment of the community,” Abercrombie said. “More of Hawai`i’s residents will be able to take advantage of green devices that will ultimately lower electricity bills and contribute to the state’s clean energy growth.”
      Senate Bill 1087 creates the framework for a financing structure to fund this clean-energy financing program. Under GEMS, Hawai`i’s underserved markets, including low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and nonprofits will be able to finance the purchase and installation of energy saving devices without the typically high upfront costs. Payment for the devices would be made over time through one’s electricity bill and paid for with the energy savings. The state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism will facilitate the GEMS financing program via Hawai`i State Energy Office.
      “GEMS promotes the democratization of clean energy,” explained DBEDT director Richard Lim, who was the legislation’s architect. “We are taking a proven rate-reduction bond structure and using it in an innovative way to provide low-cost financing to utility customers.”
      The next step for GEMS is for DBEDT to file financing order and program order applications for review by the Public Utilities Commission. GEMS is targeted for implementation in 2014.

Funds will fight the coffee berry borer.
A BILL TO COMBAT THE COFFEE BERRY BORER is now law. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the bill that appropriates $250,000 in matching funds for each of the next two fiscal years for the Department of Agriculture to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of coffee berry borer infestations. It also appropriates $300,000 in matching funds for the 2013-2014 fiscal year for the department to fund efforts to control and mitigate the damage from coffee berry borer infestation. 
      The governor also signed other bills to help ag in Ka`u and the rest of the state. One expands livestock feed subsidies to include milking goats, goats raised for meat, sheep, lambs, fish, and crustaceans. It appropriates $1.5 million to the state Department of Agriculture for livestock feed subsidies and the Livestock Revitalization Program.

      SB993 expands the state’s Agricultural Loan Program by adding farm innovation loan programs and expanding the definition of a new farmer.

      SB586 provides certain building code and permit exemptions for nonresidential buildings and structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside urban districts.
      SB757 appropriates $75,000 to the state Department of Education for the Future Farmers of America to educate and support youth in agricultural careers.
      “Part of Hawai`i’s history and way of life, our agriculture industry keeps money in the local economy and supports thriving rural communities,” Abercrombie said.

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY reminds everyone to care for their eyes this summer and wear sunglasses.
Sunglasses can protect eyes from damage by UV rays.
      “It’s important for people to realize the damage of daily sun exposure and what it does to your eyes,” Dr. Christopher Tortora, M.D., medical director of the Hawaiian Eye Center and Dry Eye Clinic, said. “The effects of ultraviolet rays on the eyes tend to go unnoticed but accumulate over time causing serious vision related diseases.”
      UV radiation from sunlight can burn the surface of the eyes directly or indirectly from reflections off the sand, water and pavement. Exposure to the sun is hazardous anytime of the day — even in overcast conditions — with UV radiation most severe from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
      UV exposure can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer around the eyes, and pterygium – an unsightly, noncancerous growth on the surface of the eye that can impair vision.
      Nearly 24.5 million Americans over the age of 40 have cataracts, according to estimates in the 2012 Fifth Edition of Vision Problems in the U.S. from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute. In Hawai`i alone, almost 115,000 people suffer from the disease.
      Wearing a proper pair of sunglasses is the best way to prevent future eye-related diseases. No matter the style or cost, choose ones with labels that indicate 100 percent protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses labeled “UV 400” are also a good choice as they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, which includes UVA and UVB rays. Wrap-around sunglasses that extend around the temples and a hat will help to further block indirect, reflected sunlight.
      “Wearing sunglasses is such an easy preventative measure that will help your vision now and in the future,” Dr. Tortora said. “I highly recommend that everyone from children to adults wear sunglasses year-round whenever they go outside.”
      To learn more about a variety of eye health issues, see HawaiianEye.com and Facebook.com/HawaiianEyeCenter.

Na`alehu Independence Day Parade
takes place tomorrrow.
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO SIGN UP to participate in tomorrow’s 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 today 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. tomorrow.
      Other activities at tomorrow’s celebration include:
  • free pancake breakfast, 8 a.m. – 10 a.m., Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; 
  • activities after the parade, Na`alehu Park: 
    • water slide, bouncy apparatus and climbing wall; 
    • free hot dogs and shave ice; 
    • music and kani ka pila; 
  • free lunch and bingo for seniors, Na`alehu Community Center; 
  • free hot dogs, chili and a concert after the parade, Assembly of God Church 
  • Support Our Troops booth, where the public can sign a message of thanks, Na`alehu Farmers Market.

Installation of informative signs at the overlook on Hwy 11 in Ocean
View will be discussed at Ka`u Scenic Byway committee meeting,
open to the public. Photo from hawaiiscenicbyways.org
THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME TO ATTEND Monday’s meeting of the Ka`u Scenic Byway committee. Topics on the agenda include installation of informational signage at Ocean View overlook, the long-term corridor management plan and Na`alehu Theater. 
      The committee is looking for ideas on what to do about the theater, which continues to deteriorate. According to organizer Dennis Elwell, the committee has asked elected officials for help, and Sen. Russell Ruderman is trying to contact owners and lessees of the theater to see what can be done.
      For more information, contact Elwell at 929-7236 or delwell@hawaii.rr.com.

KA`U ROPING & RIDING CLUB IS PREPARING for its annual Fourth of July Rodeo, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 6 and 7. Tickets are $6 and are being sold by rodeo queens. The location is the rodeo arena and grounds in Na`alehu. Many traditional events popular at Hawaiian rodeos will be held, including Po Wai U. 



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