Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Monday, Jan. 18, 2016

Lethal Eruptions at Kilauea: It’s Not the Volcano’s Fault is the title of tomorrow’s After Dark in the Park program.
Photo from USGS/HVO
“KA`U COFFEE FARMERS ARE STRATEGIZING how to stay on their farms. Ka`u Coffee farming is a remarkable success story, and a recent sale of the land they farm has put their future in question,” Ka`u state Sen. Russell Ruderman said on his Facebook page. Ruderman and Ka`u state Rep. Richard Creagan attended a meeting yesterday to consider ownership options of Ka`u Coffee lands recently purchased by Colorado-based investment firm Resource Land Holdings. Stakeholders considered pros and cons of coffee growers buying the land, state ownership and creating a land trust.
Ka`u Coffee growers, lawmakers and other interested parties discussed 
options for land security yesterday at Pahala Plantation House.
     By buying the land, coffee grower John Ah San said, "coffee growers could be your own boss.” Hilo attorney Steven Strauss said in order for each grower to own a separate farm lot, they would have to be surveyed and costs of $25,000 per purchaser would be prohibitive. Several others said purchase costs would probably be too high for individual growers to buy the land.
Strauss recommended that growers have someone begin negotiating with owners, finding out the asking price for the land. He also suggested that farmers find out the owners’ plans regarding abandoned plots that harbor coffee berry borers, which make their way into neighboring production orchards.
     Ruderman said RLH’s Hilo representative Jim McCully assured him that the company’s intent is to sell the land to growers “for a reasonable price.”
     State ownership could be fraught with problems, Ruderman and Strauss said. Ruderman said he has seen “good intentions gone bad,” with restrictions and requirements imposed by government. He said he would discuss the situation with state Department of Agriculture chair Scott Enright, who has said he considers making the purchase a line item in his budget to be an option. Ruderman said that would possibly be better than trying to pass legislation.
     Strauss said government purchases are geared toward large, rather than small, operations.
     A land trust would see value in the land as agricultural and plan to keep it as such, Strauss said. He said licenses give growers rights to use land but do not include conveyance of land interest. Also, with a trust, negotiations of terms would be “an open process,” he said. The meeting was sponsored by I Ola Na `Aina Momona, a nonprofit headed by Ka`u Coffee grower and broker Malian Lahey. To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U ROYAL HAWAIIAN COFFEE & TEA CO. shared its long-term plans with Kirsten Johnson, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Part of the plan is to change the company’s name. General Manager Louis Leong told Johnson that the name “is too long and too hard to put in documents.”
     Leong also told Johnson the company plans to grow coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables, with its first harvest in three to five years.
     The company plans to spend $20 million to build a coffee mill and a tea-processing plant Leong said. A visitor center and public tours of processing facilities are also envisioned. 
Ka`u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea Co. bought land 
above Hwy 11 in Na`alehu for its ag project. 
Photo from Ka`u Royal Hawaiian
     “We formed a company just for this project, so it’s a brand new venture for us,” Leong told Johnson. “We’d like to add an (agricultural tourism) aspect to the project later on, after we build our coffee mill and tea processing (facilities), so we can introduce the tea culture to more people locally. Hopefully, we’ll have a very special commercial tea farm, and people can enjoy the harvesting and processing aspect of tea production.”
     Leong told Johnson the company hopes to lease land to farmers. “We’ve learned that after the collapse of the sugar industry, a lot of farmers have (to go) far to find jobs,” He said. “So if we can create opportunities and have workers in the farm industry, they don’t have to travel as far now.” To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

NORTHWESTERN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS celebrates 15 years of a major marine conservation milestone. 
     On Jan. 18, 2001, then President Bill Clinton issued a second Executive Order (EO 13196) ensuring permanent protection of preservation areas and conservation measures for the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve set forth in EO 13178 in December 2000. Creation of the Reserve was the first large-scale marine conservation measure put forth by the United States, a historic act of protection for the coral reefs in three-quarters of the Hawaiian archipelago, and the largest in the world at nearly 140,000 square miles. It was also the second ever created since establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1975. It paved the way for the later designation of what is now Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in 2006 and its inscription as the nation’s only mixed natural and cultural UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010. 
     At the end of the millennium, coral reefs around the world were in crisis, and many governments were struggling to understand and protect these crucial marine resources. Large-scale marine protected areas that encompass entire geographies and multiple habitats were seen as one tool to address various threats. 
President Bill Clinton, Buzzy Agard, Tammy and Isaac Harp, 
and Sylvia Earle at the announcement of the Executive 
Order establishing Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 
Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. 
Photo from NHIUCRER
     Many conservation and cultural leaders in Hawai`i had long recognized the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a unique - and nearly pristine - place worthy of the highest protections and helped pave the way for President Clinton’s act. Among them were the late Buzzy Agard and Dr. Isabella Aiona Abbott, along with Isaac and Tammy Harp, `Aulani Wilhelm, Robert P. Smith, Tim Johns, Athline Clark, Linda Paul, William `Aila Jr., Vicky Holt Takamine, Bill Gilmartin, Dave Raney and many others that sought protection for the area and helped facilitate the dialog that led to creation of the Reserve.
     Fifteen years after that historic moment, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands has earned increased protections, gained Hawai`i its second World Heritage site, along with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and brought together state and federal agencies to protect the nature and culture of the area under a shared vision and unified management. The creation of NWHICRER spurred a movement, resulting in more than a dozen large-scale marine protected area designations around the globe, and managers working together to improve efforts and share these wonders – and their significance – with the world. 
     While coral ecosystems around the planet still face global threats – rising sea temperatures, marine pollution and alien invasive species – protection of entire marine areas is one step to preserving these resources for future generations.
     Today is the beginning of a year of anniversaries for protections of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TODAY, THE NATION HONORS the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King visited the newly formed Hawai`i State Legislature on Sept. 17, 1959, where he spoke on Hawai`i’s accomplishments and the nation’s status in race relations at the time. 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Hawai`i in 1959 and 
spoke at the House of Representatives.
     “I come to you with a great deal of appreciation and great feeling of appreciation, I should say, for what has been accomplished in this beautiful setting and in this beautiful state of our Union,” King said. “As I think of the struggle that we are engaged in in the South land, we look to you for inspiration and as a noble example, where you have already accomplished in the area of racial harmony and racial justice, what we are struggling to accomplish in other sections of the country, and you can never know what it means to those of us caught for the moment in the tragic and often dark midnight of man’s inhumanity to man, to come to a place where we see the glowing daybreak of freedom and dignity and racial justice.
     “We have come a long, long way. We have a long, long way to go. I close, if you will permit me, by quoting the words of an old Negro slave preacher. He didn’t quite have his grammar right, but he uttered some words in the form of a prayer with great symbolic profundity and these are the words he said: ‘Lord, we ain’t what we want to be; we ain’t what we ought to be; we ain’t what we gonna be, but thank God, we ain’t what we was.’ Thank you.” To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LETHAL ERUPTIONS AT KILAUEA: It’s not the Volcano’s Fault is the title of tomorrow’s After Dark in the Park program beginning at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
     As a Volcano Awareness Month event, the program offers a companion hike Saturday, at 10 a.m. Participants meet at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium.

REGISTRATION FOR NEXT SATURDAY’S Keiki Fishing Tournament is due on Wednesday at 12 p.m. `O Ka`u Kakou asks participants to fill out forms available at local schools and businesses and online at okaukakou.org.
Mark Yamanaka offers a free concert 
Wednesday. Photo from NPS

MARK YAMANAKA PERFORMS Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Yamanaka shares original songs from his CDs, Lei Pua Kenikeni and Lei Maile. Free; park entrance fees apply.


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