Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ka`u High boys volleyball team celebrated Senior Night with a win over Wai`akea. Photos from Taylor Sport Photography
PRIOR TO PRESENTING HIS BUDGET to Hawai`i County Council this morning, Mayor Billy Kenoi apologized for using a county-issued credit card for personal charges. “To the Hawai`i County Council I begin by apologizing to all of you for the mistakes I made,” Kenoi said. “To the council, to the administrators, to the hard-working employees of the county, to the good people who call Hawai`i Island home, to the people who are deeply disappointed, I am truly sorry.”
Mayor Billy Kenoi speaks before
Hawai`i County Council.
      Public testifiers and council members addressed the matter, as well. Ka`u resident and for former council candidate Richard Abbett spoke in support of budget. He noted the 4.3 percent increase over last year’s budget, but no increase in property taxes to cover the increase, although property values have increased in values.
Richard Abbott testified from Ocean
View Community Center.
      Regarding Kenoi’s pCard use, Abbett spoke about what he called keeping the public’s trust and managing the public’s trust. “Once it’s lost, it’s very difficult to get it back,” Abbett said. “Hopefully, we can all learn from this and move on.
      Puna council member Greggor Ilagan said he needed to address “the elephant in the room” and said that while it is not the Council’s responsibility to deal with the matter, it his duty to “get the facts.”
      North Kona council member Karen Eoff thanked Kenoi for coming to the meeting, saying it showed his commitment to county programs included in his budget.
      County Council meets with various departments today through Friday regarding the budget. Meetings are streamed live at hawaiicounty.gov. Click on Council Meetings.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES passed nearly 150 Senate measures dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawai`i residents.
      Among the most significant bills passed were SB1028 that attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with those of Hawai`i’s Prepaid Health Care, SB1291 that establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers and SB287 that mandates and establishes a timetable for voting by mail for all Hawai`i elections.
      The majority of the bills, along with the nearly 140 House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE STATE SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE, chaired by Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman, approved Gov. David Ige’s nomination of Simon Russell to the Board of Agriculture. Russell is vice president of Hawai`i Farmers Union United, which has a chapter in Ka`u.
The state Senate Agriculture Committee questions Board of Ag nominee
Simon Russell. Photo from Sen. Russell Ruderman's facebook page
       Wood Valley organic vegetable farmer, coffee farmer and coffee broker Malian Lahey testified in support of the nomination. “Simon Russell is an outstanding advocate for the farmers in my region as well as in the state of Hawai`i,” Lahey said. “Simon is a true public servant, has demonstrated on numerous occasions his greatness of vision partnered with a warmhearted passion to serve the interests of agriculture and support our entire state with the benefits of nutritious, local food. Not only that, he has taken the time to listen to the concerns and interests of conventional farmers as well as organic farmers, farmers of different age groups and cultural groups. He has dedicated the time and the attention to learn about all types of farmers because of his commitment to truly serve agriculture beyond the limitations of any identity group. As my 84.6-acre farm is developed and becomes more productive, the support I will require from the Department of Agriculture will grow as well. There is no one I would rather work with than Simon Russell.” 
      Volcano resident Eva Lee, of Tea Hawai`i & Co., testified, “We assert that Simon will bring to the Board of Agriculture a practical-systems way of thinking in addressing challenges we as agriculturists face in making a living at farming while setting out to grow our food, fiber and fuel here locally.
      “Simon’s tireless focus on the big picture of creating and advocating for whole systems of agricultural infrastructure in building a production-based economy that is in relationship to the existing service based economy will be a great asset to this board. His forward thinking can-do attitude in working together collaboratively with state tea industry and numerous other specialty crops will advance Hawai`i agriculture that is sustainable and significant contributors to local economy. Simon’s experience and knowledge as a family farmer utilizing sustainable biological systems will bring a refreshing perspective to the conversation and strategy of ecological sustainability in our moving forward as a agricultural community.
      “It will be through his supporting the best and highest interest of the agricultural and general community at large that Simon, we feel, will be an excellent candidate for this most important position.”
      Russell’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Wildlife Fund staff and volunteers continue cleanup efforts along
the Ka`u Coast. Photo from HWF
HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND, SPONSOR of many Ka`u Coast and local anchialine pond cleanups, sends Earth Week an Earth Day greetings. 
      At the most recent Ka`u Coast Cleanup on March 28 at Kamilo Point, 27 volunteers removed almost 1,300 pounds of debris, including 947 bagsful and 250 pounds of derelict fishing nets. Interesting finds included tires from Mexico and Japan, a soccer ball with Japan Football Association logo, a cooking pot full of sea urchins and whiskey bottles from Japan.
      Upcoming HWF events include estuary restoration workday Wednesday, April 29 along the shores of Ka`ala`iki fishpond from 7:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Manuka Area Natural Reserve cleanup Saturday, May 9.
      Email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com for more information and to sign up.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO SAID EARTH DAY is “an important day in Hawai`i, when we recommit to protecting our `aina, our earth.
      “For centuries, native Hawaiians understood the importance of living in unison with our natural environment. And though Hawai`i has made much progress toward adopting a more sustainable way of life, both our state and our nation have so much more work. That includes addressing one of the greatest threats to our island state: global climate change.
      “Despite the fact that an overwhelming 97 percent of scientists agree on the realities of human-induced climate change, Republicans in Congress continue to deny its existence. It’s time for us to act on this issue. 
      “Instead of acknowledging the realities of climate change, Republicans in Congress choose instead to give tax breaks to our largest polluters and to roll back existing regulations that protect our air, our land, and our health.
      “Earth Day is an international holiday and is observed in 192 countries. It’s a great day to give back to our earth – and a great day to take action to protect it.
      “Our earth can’t afford for us to wait any longer. It is time for Republicans to recognize the real and present danger of climate change today.
      “Republicans must stop blocking our attempts to protect our environment, protect our country and protect our `ohana and future generations.
      See demandclimatechangeaction.com/#hirono.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u High boys volleyball team won against Wai`akea yesterday and travel
to HPA Saturday for the final match of the regular season.
KA`U HIGH BOYS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS won their home matches against Wai`akea yesterday. Junior varsity scores were 25-20 and 25-22. 
      Varsity went to a fifth-set tie-breaker, 25-8, 22-25, 25-20, 20-25 and 15-12.
      Cameron Enriques made 29 kills, with nine in the fifth set, and Brian Gascon made 12 kills, three of them in the fifth set.
      The final game of the regular season is on Saturday at HPA. JV starts at 10 a.m., and varsity follows.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PA`INA AT PAHALA PLANTATION HOUSE is Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The opening event for Ka`u Coffee Festival features music by Jr. Volcano Choy, Keoki Kahumoku and the South Side Serenaders. Miss Ka`u Coffee Amery Silva will dance hula.
      Meet Miss Ka`u Coffee contenders, and donate to the scholarship fund. Co-sponsored by Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. Call 928-6471.

KA`U COFFEE RECIPE CONTEST begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Enjoy culinary treats using Ka`u Coffee as an ingredient. Free entry and tasting for the public plus live entertainment. For more information, see kaucoffeefest.com or call 928-0550.

KA`U MOUNTAIN WATER SYSTEM HIKE, another event of the Ka`u Coffee Festival, takes place a week from today on Wednesday, April 29 at 9 a.m. Hikers meet at Ka`u Coffee Mill.
      For more information and reservations, see kaucoffeemill.com or call 928-0550.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April2015.pdf.

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