Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

Islandwide newspapers reported on Ka`u Coffee growers' lack of land security today. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
KA`U COFFEE FARMERS’ LAND SECURITY made the islandwide newspapers this morning as John Ah San, President of Palehua Coffee Cooperative, expressed the fear of rising lease prices and possible evictions from fields in Moa`ula and Pear Tree.
      According to a story by Bret Yager published in West Hawai`i Today and Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, the company planning to buy the land wants to subdivide it. “My goal is to get the coffee lands subdivided out so the farmers can own their own coffee farms,” Jim McCully told Yager. McCully, who is in the profession of subdividing land, is described as a partner with the Colorado-based Resource Land Holdings. He operates out of Hilo.
      Ka`u Coffee growers, who are currently exploring options that would allow them to purchase the land as a group, have said that if the land is subdivided, and roads, utilities and other infrastructure installed, many would not be able to afford the purchase. Most of the farmers already own their own homes in Ka`u and travel from the villages to their farms.
      Ah San told Yager, “I think if they are not willing to bend and meet the farmers, if they are going to try to break the land up and sell it off to gentlemen farmers, I don’t think it’s going to fly.”
Malian Lahey
      Another issue is RLH’s proposed increase in license fees from the current $150 per acre per year to $600, with additional increases in the future. “I would say that tripling the rent is beyond the point of abusive,” coffee broker and diversified farmer Malian Lahey told Yager. She also objected to the license stating that RLH would own the coffee trees, telling Yager that taking possession of coffee trees that the farmers planted themselves is against Hawai`i law. Farmers stated at their recent meeting that they cannot purchase tree insurance if they don’t own the coffee trees and pointed to their expired licenses with former sugar company C. Brewer that led them to believe they own the trees.
      McCulley said RLH isn’t trying to take possession of the coffee trees. He also said the company would have legal right to ownership of the orchards, “the same as any other plant with perennial roots that have been growing for more than a year,” Yager reported.
      Coffee grower Joan Obra and Miguel Meza, who markets Ka`u Coffee, partnered with UH College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources to develop a risk assessment based on increased license fees. The detailed analysis showed break-even scenarios for the farmers given their land cost and coffee berry borer risks. According to their study, the CBB population is increasing, requiring growers to spend more money on control measures. With such expenditures and increased license fees, it becomes more likely that some growers could quit and abandon farms, making the berry borer more likely to spread to other farms, sending the entire industry into a downward spiral.
      McCully told Yager, “We’re not trying to take the licenses away; we’re trying to write licenses so they can stay and farm the land. And if they don’t want to, we want others of their brethren to come do it.”
      McCully said, “There’s some good business up there. We want to promote it; we want it to expand. We’re not going to be foolish; we’re not going to kill the goose.”
      McCully also told Yager that RLH’s license proposals would allow farmers to gain financing in a way they could not under previous arrangements. RLH is proposing licenses that are fixed for 10 years and negotiable for five more.
      At a meeting on Sept. 27 about the farmers’ lack of land security, state Rep. Richard Onishi asked representatives of current owner Lehman Brothers, of New York, and RLH whether they would consider selling the land to the farmers. Tom Yeh, a Hilo attorney representing Resource Land Holdings, said he would take the question back to his client.
      See westhawaiitoday.com and hawaiitribune-herald.com.
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 Curt Cottrell
CURT COTTRELL, A 25-YEAR-LONG EMPLOYEE of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources, has been chosen as the next Administrator for its Division of State Parks. Cottrell replaces Dan Quinn, another veteran manager, who recently retired. 
      DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Curt’s selection to lead State Parks capitalizes on a long list of accomplishments and experience, as he has worked in a variety of capacities since joining DLNR in 1991. He has developed a deep understanding of policy, regulation and community engagement through the years. I’m delighted Curt will build on the leadership created by his mentor, former State Parks Administrator Dan Quinn.”
      Cottrell’s work mirrors his personal avocations. “My leisure activities keep me centered and connected to Hawai`i’s unique and diverse outdoor environment, and include cycling, kayaking, trail running and outrigger canoe paddling,” Cottrell said.
      “I am passionate about fostering, in my kids and future generations, a sense of appreciation for Hawai`i’s natural and cultural resources that are really exemplified in Hawai`i’s state trails and parks. It is a rare privilege to now be in a leading stewardship position to care for parklands that encompass Hawai`i’s most unique and precious natural and cultural resources.”
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

Logan Kahele-Bishop
THE MOST RECENT EDITION of the Crime Stoppers television program Hawai`i Island’s Most Wanted highlights a Na`alehu man wanted for questioning in a robbery. The new episode begins airing today on Na Leo O Hawai`i Community Television Channel 54 at 5:30 p.m. The program also airs on Sundays at 5 p.m. 
      In it, police ask for help in locating 25-year-old Logan Kahele-Bishop, who is wanted on a bench warrant for violating probation and for questioning in connection with a robbery in Ocean View on June 9. He is described as 5-foot-10, 160 pounds with dark brown hair and brown eyes.
      Police ask anyone with information to call the department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS’ winning record continues this month. On Friday, Oct. 2, the varsity team traveled to St. Joseph and won 25-11 and 25-14. 
      On Tuesday, Oct. 6, both teams pounded Parker. Varsity scores were 25-9 and 25-15. Junior varsity kept their rivals’ scores to single digits, 25-5 and 25-9. 
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

HAWAI`I PUBLIC RADIO, which serves Ka`u at KAHU 97.1 FM, launches its semiannual on-air fundraiser on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The original campaign goal for “Celebration 2015” of $978,000 was 25 percent lower than the goal for the drive just one year ago, due to the increased participation in the station’s monthly subscription-based model known as Sustaining Membership. A record amount in early donations has further reduced this fall’s on-air goal and the current estimate of what remains to be raised in pledge calls and online donations is $825,000.
Michael Titterton
      President and General Manager Michael Titterton said, “HPR is financially and operationally healthier than ever, but the lowered goal for this drive came about not because the costs of running a statewide network or purchasing national and international programming have come down. The real engineers of this happy event are our more than 3,300 Sustaining Members and 958 Early Bird donors who have taken to heart the idea of public radio.
      “We trust that our enthusiasm for the future will be matched by those who appreciate HPR’s commitment to community building. We don’t set a time limit on these drives; rather, we simply suggest to those who derive a good time from our broadcasts that this is a good time to show their support and ask that they help us make good time toward the goal.”
      To donate, call toll-free at 877-941-3689 or see www.hawaiipublicradio.org.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a lehua tree and its flower on an easy, one-mile walk tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free. Call 985-6011 for more information.


For Affordable Computer Help, call John Derry at 936-1872.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_October2015.pdf.

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