Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, March 14, 2015

Division of Forestry and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service and ranch representatives sit next to a koa tree on Kealakekua Heritage Ranch, adjacent to Ka`awaloa Forest. The two areas are the first conservation easements held by DLNR under U.S. Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program. Photo from USFS
PRESERVATION OF A 1,000-ACRE PARCEL of land in South Kona completes a vast area of uninterrupted charitable trust lands along with protected private 
and public lands extending more than 50 miles to the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Owners agreed to a $3.2 million conservation easement with the state Department of Land & Natural Resources using federal Forest Legacy Program funds.
U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest
Regional Forester Randy Moore
      With the acquisition of the property, another 10,000 acres total of native Hawaiian forest are now protected from development by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service and Hokukano Ranch. The area, known as Ka`awaloa Forest, together with the adjacent Kealakekua Heritage Ranch (9,000 acres), represent the first two conservation easements held by DLNR under the Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program. These conservation easements will permanently restrict development and maintain sustainable harvest levels.
      “The partnership we have with DLNR is invaluable as we look to restore and protect these crucial resources,” said U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore. “We are excited for DLNR to pick up this conservation easement and add to our total of 47,055 protected acres on the Big Island.”
      Hawai`i County had previously approved a development plan for the construction of 500 residential lots and a golf course.With the region’s history of nearly 200 years of timber extraction, many of the large trees – specifically koa and sandalwood – were harvested. Coupled with pressures from grazing animals, many of these forests have not fully recovered and have ultimately suffered a significant loss of forest cover. With a goal of sustainable management, the current owners are re-investing in the forest and encouraging regeneration of Hawai`i’s native trees.
      The property also provides a variety of non-timber economic activities, including plant collection, tourism and hunting. The Ka`awaloa conservation easement will protect ecosystems that support several endemic Hawaiian birds. Preserving the Ka`awaloa Forest, part of the fog-shrouded South Kona cloud forests, will also directly contribute to safeguarding the water supply and water quality in a region subject to severe drought.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u Farmers Union United Acting Secretary Marla Hunter with husband Peter.
KA`U CHAPTER OF HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED is seeking members. At the organization’s meeting this morning, President Greg Smith said HFUU will have a booth at Ka`u Coffee Festival to inform the public about its mission and goals and sign up members.
      “It’s all about the food!” said a statement from KFUU. “The organization advocates for the sovereign right of farmers to create and sustain vibrant and prosperous agricultural communities for the benefit of all Hawai`i through cooperation, education and legislation.”
      By becoming members, residents support small-scale agriculture, help increase food security on the Big Island, help improve legislation to support good farming practices and healthy agriculture, participate in educational workshops to inform farmers and consumers about current issues, build communication between farmers and consumers, and keep updated on local issues by receiving a weekly newsletter.
      Future goals include continuing to build farm-to-school programs, cultivating greater awareness of food sources, creating more educational workshops on local farming and protecting the `aina and increasing networking between farmers and consumers to create more food security.
      For more information, contact Greg and Gail Smith at gailandgreg@mac.com or 4430-3300.
      Also see hfuuhi.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I’S HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE has passed out a proposed budget that, according to a statement from the committee, would create a proactive framework for the state to consistently spend within its means.
      HB500 HD1, which appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium, fiscal years 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, is scheduled for a vote next week by the full House.
      For FY2015-2016, the bill offers $6.5 billion in general funds and $12.7 billion in all means of financing. For FY2016-2017, it appropriates $6.8 billion in general funds and $13.1 billion in all financing means.
      The budget includes $400,000 to staff a new function within the governor’s office to aggressively go after federal grants, an initiative that Ige mentioned in his State of the State address.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO INTRODUCED the Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act Thursday, a bill that would expedite the visa process for children of Filipino World War II veterans. These veterans were offered U.S. citizenship in recognition of their service, but this hard-earned benefit did not extend to their children. Thousands of families have been separated for decades because of this oversight. 
      “Time is running out for the diminishing number of Filipino World War II veterans who fought and sacrificed alongside American servicemen. We as a nation made a promise to these veterans that must be kept,” Hirono said. “These brave soldiers didn’t flinch when the United States called them to battle in the Pacific Theater. The few surviving veterans are in their 80s and 90s and have been waiting for more than a half century to be reunited with loved ones, and we owe this benefit to them.
Filipino American Veterans from World War II. Photo from filipknow.com

      While this bill helps thousands of World War II veterans and their families, we still must come together and pass permanent comprehensive immigration reform. As an immigrant who came to the United States with my mother at a young age, I remain committed to the fact that any effort to reform our immigration system should also address the challenges families face.”
      Filipino veterans were granted citizenship in recognition of their service to the United States in World War II. Their children, however, were not granted citizenship. Currently, veterans must file for a family visa to be reunited with their children in the United States. Because of an antiquated immigration system, it can take more than 20 years for these applications to be reviewed. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act exempts the veterans’ children, about 20,000 individuals in all, from the numerical limitation on immigrant visas.
      Hirono and the co-introducer Sen. Harry Reid made fighting for Filipino veterans to receive this benefit a top priority during their time in Congress, but it grows more urgent every year. Of the surviving Filipino World War II veterans, it is estimated that less than 6,000 are U.S. citizens and reside in this country and will thus be able to take advantage of this bill. The Filipino Veterans Family Reunification Act was included in the bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.
      “We urge Republicans to take up this bill that helps Filipino veteran families and fixes our entire broken immigration system once and for all,” Hirono said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IN KA`U HIGH SPORTS, the boys varsity volleyball team beat Konawaena 3-0 yesterday on their home court. Scores were 25-11, 25-22 and 25-7. They travel to Hilo Monday for a match at 6 p.m.
      Kealakehe overcame Ka`u girls softball team at home yesterday. Final score was 2-17 after four innings. Sheri Lynn Freitas got three hits; Sky Kanakaole-Esperon, 2; and Kehaulani Ke, 1. Their next game is Monday at Kohala.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Volcano Art Center offers Spring Break Art next week. Image from VAC
DURING SPRING BREAK, Ka`u second- through fifth-graders are invited to participate in Volcano Art Center’s Spring Break Art from next Tuesday through Friday. There will be art and crafts from noon to 4 p.m. at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. 
      Artists Ken Charon and Patricia Hoban will teach drawing and painting, and there will be crafts and art classes with instructors Dina Kageler, Lanaya Deily and Marsha Hee.
      It’s the second year VAC has offered this program. There are no fees, but enrollment is limited. To register or for more information, call 967-8222 or volcanoartcenter.org.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS AND PROCESSORS are invited to meetings to inform them about new coffee shipping permit conditions. Hawai`i Department of Agriculture offers two opportunities to participate. The first is in Hilo on Monday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at HDOA Plant Quarantine Office,16 E. Lanikaula Street. The second takes place on Tuesday, March 17 at 12:30 p.m. at Kona Cooperative Extension Service Conference Room, 79-7381 Mamalahoa Hwy in Kealakekua.

JAZZ IN THE FOREST, Volcano Art Center’s spring jazz series kicks off a week from today on Saturday, March 21 with Grammy Award-winning vocalist Pauline Wilson; Jr. Volcano Choy on keyboards, vocals & trumpet; Brian McCree on acoustic bass; and Bruce David on drums. 
      Two Jazz in the Forest shows will be offered, with a matinee at 4:30 p.m. and an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for the matinee are $15 for VAC members or $18 for non-members, and for the evening show are $18 for VAC members or $20 for non-members.
      To purchase tickets online, see volcanoartcenter.org.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_March2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and

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