Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015

Punalu`u's green sea turtles swim to French Frigate Shoals to reproduce. See story below. Photo by William Neal
MACADAMIA NUT MILK and macadamia butter are two new products that Royal Hawaiian Orchards plans to launch early next year to boost sales. The company, based in Pahala, Hilo and Puna, recently began marketing a fruit-infused, dark chocolate-covered macadamia nut product. According to a story in yesterday’s Pacific Business News, “Royal Hawaiian Orchards, a Hawai`i-based macadamia nut snacks business, is hoping to reach $100 million in wholesale sales as one shareholder takes control of 65.7 percent of the company’s market capitalization.”
Royal Hawaiian Orchards markets its products as heathy
snacks on the company's Facebook page.
      Confectionery News also reported on Royal Royal Hawaiian, quoting CEO Scott Wallace projecting $100 million in wholesale sales within five years, noting that “consumption of tree nuts in the past five years has grown 50 percent.”
      According to the PBN story by Karhleen Gallagher, shareholder Farhad Ebrahimi purchased 2,647 shares, making him owner of approximately 65.7 percent of the company’s market capitalization. According to PBN, “The company’s share price has been all over the place this year. It started off at about $3 per share and went to a high of $3.15 per share in February and a low of $2.72 per share in May and again in November. However, it has since rebounded and is now trading at about $3 per share.
      “In its latest results, the company reported that for the three months to the end of September, its revenue decreased five percent to $226,000 from the same period in 2014. However, over a nine-month period, its revenue has increased 23 percent to $2.5 million. This jump was thanks to a $3.7 million increase in its branded product sales,” the PBN story stated.
      See more at royalhawaiianorchards.com and bizjournals.com/pacific.
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NA`I AUPUNI HAS TERMINATED the Native Hawaiian election process but will go forward with a four-week-long `Aha in February. All 196 Hawaiians who ran as candidates will be offered a seat as delegates to the ‘Aha to learn about, discuss and hopefully reach a consensus on a process to achieve self-governance. 
      Na`i Aupuni President Kuhio Asam said Na`i Aupuni’s goal has always been to create a path so Native Hawaiians can have a formal, long-overdue discussion on self-determination. “We anticipated that the path would have twists and turns and even some significant obstacles,” Asam said, “but we are committed to getting to the `Aha where this long-overdue discussion can take place.”
      He said that due to delays caused by ongoing litigation that could continue for years, it was decided that the most effective route would be to offer to convene all remaining delegate candidates and allow them an opportunity to organize Hawaiians and achieve self-governance.
      Na`i Aupuni said Election-America has been informed to stop the receipt of ballots, to seal ballots that have already been received and to prevent anyone from counting the votes.
      Na`i Aupuni attorney William Meheula said consistent with offering to seat all candidates, Na`i Aupuni has decided that the election votes will never be counted. “Thus, the Akina litigation, which seeks to stop the counting of the votes, is moot, and Na`i Aupuni will take steps to dismiss the lawsuit,” he said. “To be clear, Na`i Aupuni does not know and will never learn the election results.” On Dec. 2, the U.S. Supreme Court granted an injunction blocking the election while the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the lawsuit challenging it. “Clearly our lawsuit has brought an end to a discriminatory election,” said Keli`i Akina, president/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawai`i. “Now, in a desperate move to bypass their failed election and ignore their voter base, Na`i Aupuni is undercutting its own efforts to even look like a democratic process.”
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RANDY IWASE, CHAIR of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission, is working to make the proposed Hawaiian Electric Co./NextEra Energy merger more open. Iwase ordered the utilities to remove confidentiality from nine documents they filed with the PUC, Kathryn Mykleseth reported in Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
      “We understand the need for confidentiality. On the other hand, we are very cognizant of the public desire to have transparency, and that is where the commission’s decision falls today,” Iwase told Mykleseth.
      “We are currently reviewing the commission’s order,” NextEra vice president and chief communications officer Rob Gould told Myklesth. “That said, from the very beginning, we have endeavored to be as open and transparent as possible, having responded with 60,000 pages of documents, and of that number only roughly five percent (or 3,000 pages) were marked confidential.”
      Iwase set three conditions required for any portion of ongoing hearings to be closed to the public. Closing the hearing must “serve a compelling interest; second, there is a substantial probability that in the absence of closure the compelling interest would be harmed; third, there are no alternatives that would adequately protect that compelling interest.”
      Hearings continue through tomorrow and will likely be further scheduled in January and February, Iwase said.
      See staradvertiser.com.
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GREEN SEA TURTLES BASK at Punalu`u Beach and other rocky and sandy shorelines in Ka`u but likely swim north more than 750 miles every two to four years to deposit eggs on French Frigate Shoals. Without disorienting lights, mongoose, cats, dogs and humans, the chances for the young to survive are favorable up north. However, the fact that 90 percent of Hawaiian green sea turtles nest in one small place presents a risk in itself, marine biologist Susan Scott points out in her Ocean Watch column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this week.
Green sea turtles can live 100 years and more. Photo by Julia Neal
      “This unnatural concentration means that the turtles are only one calamitous weather event, or one human-driven disaster, from losing their last egg-laying haven,” Scott said. “That problem demands continued protection.” 
      The history of turtle harvesting may explain the isolation of the remaining nesting beaches away from people. Scott reports on the history of harvesting turtles beginning with Polynesian settling here in about 1250. “Archaeological digs show widespread turtle use among Hawaiian societies, which surely included egg collecting,” Scott said. “Eventually, hunting pressure from a growing population destroyed most nesting areas in the main islands.
      “The second decline came with European contact in 1778. During the 1800s, ship crews from Europe, North America and Asia killed turtles and collected eggs throughout the Northwest Hawaiian Islands for subsistence and commercial trade. By 1950, all turtle nesting areas in the northwestern chain were obliterated except for a single island in one atoll.
      “The final blow began in 1946. Due to a growing tourist industry, restaurant demand for turtle meat increased, and Hawai`i’s government licensed turtle hunting. Because small coastal turtles were scarce by then, fishers moved to offshore areas where large, reproductive-age turtles swam. Turtle numbers finally got so low that the animals became protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1974, ending all legal hunting.
      “Protection works, and today the number of greens in Hawai`i’s coastal areas is (arguably) about 61,000. But whether that’s close to or far from pre-hunting numbers no one can say,” writes Scott.
      It is estimated that these turtles can live 100 years and beyond. However, they take 20 to 50 years to mature and reproduce, with males and females both swimming to the northern Hawaiian islands, or occasionally Maui, to mate.
      Most of the green sea turtles at Punalu`u appear too young to reproduce, being small with males lacking the longer tail of males of reproductive age. Because it takes so long to reach reproductive age, green sea turtles are at great risk of extinction should there be catastrophic storms or the ocean rise and cover their nesting sites.
As the dengue fever outbreak continues, a public health
nurse provided education and referrals at OVCC.
      See susanscott.net to read her weekly Ocean Watch columns dating back to 1996.
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A PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE will be available at Ocean View Community Center every Tuesday starting today through Jan. 5, 2016 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to provide dengue education and referrals. 
      As of yesterday, cases of dengue fever on Hawai`i Island numbered 149, with 132 being residents and 17, visitors.
      Contact the office at 939-2401 or 939-2400 with any questions.
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KA`U HIGH GIRLS BASKETBALL TEAM traveled to Hana, Maui for a tournament last week. On Friday, the Trojans won their game against Hana 29-20. On Saturday, they also beat Seabury 30-22 but lost to Kapa`a 24-66.

KENNETH MAKUAKANE offers a free concert tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      Free; park entrance fees apply. See nps.gov/havo.

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