Hawaii Joins National Invasive Species Awareness Week

The State of Hawaii will participate in National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW). Gov. Neil Abercrombie will kick off the 2nd annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) with a proclamation on March 3 at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

National Invasive Species Awareness Week

Gov. Abercrombie has made invasive species an administration priority by supporting his cabinet to work across departments as members of the HISC and endorsing 2014 legislative initiatives proposing up to $5 million to meet operating costs of Invasive Species Programs.

“Protecting our islands from the threat of invasive species remains a top priority,” Gov. Abercrombie said in this year’s State of the State address. “We are experiencing a biological crisis involving a multitude of invaders ranging from the little fire ant and coconut rhinoceros beetle, which can harm our animals and trees, to parasites attacking coffee crops. Each represents a deadly threat to our isolated ecosystem, natural resources, and economy, and I ask for the public’s engagement in addressing this menace.”

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board created by the Legislature to provide cabinet-level direction on invasive species issues, is coordinating a series of events and activities, open to the public, in recognition of Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week in partnership with the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, county-based Invasive Species Committees, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawaii Biodiversity Information Network, and The Nature Conservancy.

HISAW Kickoff at the Capitol, March 3, 9 a.m. – noon, Capitol Auditorium

  • Governor’s Proclamation: The public is invited to join Governor Abercrombie in commencing Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week. HISC Co-Chairs, Scott Enright (Hawaii Department of Agriculture) and William J. Aila, Jr. (Department of Land and Natural Resources) will also offer opening remarks.
  • HISC Awards Ceremony: The HISC will honor individuals, agencies, organizations, and businesses that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. Members of the Legislature will present the awards in the categories of Hottest Hotline Report, Business Leader, Community Hero, County MVP’s, and Greatest Hit of 2013. See full list of winners and honorable mentions at: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/
  • Participation and Information Booths: presented by Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Aquatic Resources and Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Department of Agriculture, Malama Maunaloa, Koolau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Waianae Mountains Watershed Partnership, Oahu Army Natural Resource Program, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, University of Hawaii, and more.
  • Be a Beetle Buster & Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees: March 3 kick-off

People across the state can easily participate in HISAW online by joining this special “mission” to survey all coconut trees in Hawaii for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle. The public is invited to take photos of the crowns of coconut trees and post them to the “Help Save Hawaii’s Coconut Trees” mission on the Project Noah website or via mobile app. The photos will be reviewed by the Beetle Buster Team from the University of Hawaii Natural Resources and Environmental Management class to assess the presence or absence of this pest across the state. Adult rhino beetles bore into the crowns of coconut trees to drink the sap, leaving distinctive v-shaped cuts in the leaves when the fronds grow out. They could kill half the coconut trees in the state, if they aren’t detected and eradicated. The Beetle Buster Team will flag photos that show suspected beetle damage for follow up surveys. The project will go live on Monday, March 3. For more information and instructions on how to participate, go to: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

Volunteer Events: Occurring statewide from March 3 to 9
Visit the Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/ for a full list of volunteer activities across the state. Opportunities include:

  • Helping clear invasive weeds along the Kaluapuhi Trail in Kokee (March 5)
  • Learning about invasive species issues in Hawaii at the Paintballs and Digital Mapping Talk Story, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge (March 7)
  • Removing invasive species at Lyon Arboretum (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds on the offshore islet of Mokuauia (March 8)
  • Pulling weeds in the Koolau Mountains (March 9)
  • Helping to restore Mauna Kea (throughout March)

To learn more about NISAW, visit http://www.nisaw.org. To learn more about the local-level HISAW, visit http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) is a cabinet-level interagency collaboration mandated by Chapter 194, Hawaii Revised Statutes. It is co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture with additional voting members from the Departments of Health, Transportation, and Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and the University of Hawaii. The HISC approves an annual budget to support invasive species prevention, control, and public outreach projects across the state. http://www.hawaiiinvasivespecies.org

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New Mushroom Category at Sam Choy’s Poke Contest

Fun is mushrooming at the third Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest Sunday, March 16 at the Sheraton Kona Resort Convention Center.

A new competition category—poke with Hamakua Mushrooms—encourages the use of mushrooms from the Big Isle’s gourmet fungal company located in rural Laupahoehoe. It joins four other culinary categories: traditional, cooked, poke with Aloha Shoyu soy sauce and non-seafood.

Hamakua Mushrooms

Hamakua Mushrooms

“The poke contest is all about sharing our favorite recipes and using local products,” says celebrity chef Sam Choy. ”Put your braggin’ in the bowl and enter to win prizes.”

Hamakua Mushrooms (HM) produces over 5,000 pounds of specialty and exotic mushrooms weekly. The exacting, multi-step growing process, which is done in a series of environmentally controlled rooms, will be detailed at the festival during a video. Attendees will also be able to see the bouquets of fresh, flavorful mushrooms growing in their sterilized bottles—Hamakua Mushrooms produces four varieties of shrooms.

“Contestants can source our mushrooms at islandwide grocers,” details HM co-owner Janice Stanga. “Our ali‘i oyster and pioppini mushrooms are sold at Costco, KTA, Safeway, Foodland and Sack ‘n Save.” For more info, phone HM at 808-962-0017.

Entry fee is $15 for amateurs and $30 for professionals—culinary students can participate for free. High schoolers can enter in a new High School Division and college culinary students are welcome to again vie in the non-professional category.

Suisan Company Ltd. will donate 15 pounds of fresh filet ahi to the first 50 entrants using fish. It contestant wants additional ahi, it will be offered at wholesale price. Suisan also offers seafood to contestants at a wholesale price. Contest entry deadline is March 10; find forms at www.SamChoysKeauhouPokeContest.org.

Poke contest fun is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and includes Hawai’i Island Marketplace, a “Poke Throw Down,” a celebrity “Poke Chop” cookoff, guest speakers, entertainment by Royal Hawaii Band Kona and cultural demonstrations. Public poke tasting is 12:30 p.m.

Poke Cook-off

Public admission to all contest activities is $5 (limit of five poke tastes) or $10 for an event bag and unlimited tastes until gone.  Keiki under 12 are free). Proceeds benefit the $150,000 Equip the Kitchens Campaign for the future Hawai‘i Community College-Palamanui campus. Last year’s contest donated $5,000 to the effort.

A free trolley will operate from Keauhou Shopping Center (pickup near Longs Drugs) 4-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

Sam Choy’s Keauhou Poke Contest is part of Keauhou Resort’s annual Kamehameha III celebration March 14-17 that commemorates the Keauhou-born king, Lani Kauikeaouli. The contest is sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Aloha Shoyu Company, Suisan Company Ltd., Hawaiian Springs, Hamakua Mushrooms, West Hawaii Today, the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, Fresh Island Fish, Coca Cola, BMW of Hawaii, Tanioka’s Seafood & Catering, Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai, Roberts Hawaii, Bacardi, Sun Dried Specialties, Kapa Radio and Young’s Market Co.

Volunteers Needed to Malama Maunakea

The Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) is seeking community volunteers to participate in its monthly “Malama Maunakea” campaign to protect the mountain’s fragile resources.  Community members are encouraged to sign up for open volunteer days – Saturday, April 19; Saturday, June 7 or Saturday, July 26.

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

Volunteers work to help Malama Maunakea along with Office of Mauna Kea Management

“Our overarching goal at the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to malama Maunakea. Taking care of 12,000 acres is a daunting task, but with collaborative community partnerships we can accomplish much,” stated OMKM Director Stephanie Nagata. “We are so thankful to the school groups, service organizations, Chambers, individual and families of volunteers who give of their weekend to take care of Maunakea.”

The invasive species weed pulls throughout 2013 proved to be quite successful with 236 participants volunteering 1,747 hours, pulling 363 garbage bags of invasive weeds on eight separate occasions and also planting 200 Maunakea silversword.

The Saturday weed pulls concentrate on eradicating the invasive fireweed (Senecio madagascariensis) along the Mauna Kea Access Road and around Halepohaku at approximately 9,200’ elevation.  The fireweed pulls help keep this invasive species from being transported to the upper elevation areas of Maunakea and reduce habitat for invasive insects.

The Malama Maunakea volunteer day begins at 8 am.  For Hilo-based volunteers, transportation to and from Hilo is provided. For West Hawaii volunteers, OMKM will help coordinate ride sharing. Upon arrival at Halepohaku, the volunteers are given a project orientation and allowed time to acclimate to the high elevation. Invasive weed pulls focus on the area along the Mauna Kea Access Road near Halepohaku. A brief tour of Maunakea resources completes this fulfilling day on the mountain.

Who can help? Everyone, including families and kids under parent supervision, student groups 16 years of age and older, community members, visitors, are all welcome.  Space is limited. To volunteer or for more information contact OMKM Natural Resource Program Manager Fritz Klasner at 808-933-3194 or email: OMKMvolunteers-grp@hawaii.edu.

Big Island Police Looking for Suspects Involved in Coffee Parchment Theft

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects involved in a theft in Nāʻālehu.

HPDBadge
On February 11, at about 4:06 p.m., police received a call from a 53-year-old homeowner reporting that unknown suspects had removed 10 80-pound brown burlap bags of coffee parchment, a 10-foot by 10-foot instant gazebo and an electric garage door opener from his property. The bags are marked with “14-2” in black ink. The value of the stolen items is $10,000.

Kaʻū patrol officers are continuing the investigation, which is classified as a second-degree theft.

Police ask anyone with information on this incident or anyone who may know the identities of the suspects to call Officer Augustine Akiu at 939-2520.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

State and County Team-Up to Tackle Hazardous Albizia Trees

The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawai’i’s Department of Public Works are teaming up February 26-28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.

Albizia

State and County crews are working in coordination with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee’s (BIISC) Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision, of lower Puna. Albizia trees within 100 ft. of the road, endangering motorists, will be cut down, then chipped and returned to the forest or, for larger trees, removed. BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawai’i extension program and the US Forest Service.

By teaming up, crews will be able to cover both County and State right-of-ways and synchronize their efforts. “This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye.

The State and County tree work will be done from 8:00am-2:00pm, starting from the intersection of Upper Puna Road and Highway 130, extending 0.3 miles along Upper Puna Road. Motorists are advised to expect intermittent delays on Upper Puna Road during these times and to take the alternate route of One`Ele`Ele Road to access Black Sands Subdivision.

According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”

The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”

Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i.

Albizia Clean-ups

For more information on Community Training Workshops, please contact BIISC at 933-3340.

 

Ka’u Coffee Festival Schedule and Information

The Ka‘u Coffee Festival celebrates its award-winning brew with a host of events that kickoff May 2 and culminate the weekend of May 10-11 with a ho‘olaule‘a on Saturday and coffee “college” on Sunday. Serving as an economic stimulus for the rural Ka‘u region, the festival is supported by the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research & Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.

Kau Coffee FestivalOn Friday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Pa‘ina Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House with Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce to kick off 10 days of activities for the 2014 Ka‘u Coffee Festival. Music, hula with Halau Hula O Leionalani, food and house tours. Donations accepted for Miss Ka‘u Coffee Scholarship Fund. Corner of Maile and Pikake in Pahala. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka‘u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka‘u Calendar newspaper. www.kaucoffeefest.comwww.pahalaplantationcottages.com. 808-928-9811.

On Saturday, May 3 Taste Success: 4th Annual Ka‘u  Farmers’ Table at Kalaekilohana Inn and Retreat features locally sourced fine dining, premium live entertainment, and has been sold out three years running. Advance only tickets are $75 at www.kau-hawaii.com.

On Sunday, May 4 the Triple C Recipe offers competition in cookies, candies and crackers at 12:00 noon, all made with provided Ka‘u coffee. Attendance and coffee tasting are free; find contest entry info at kaucoffeemill.com.

Also on Sunday, May 4 doors open 6 p.m. for the annual Miss Ka‘u Coffee Pageant at Ka‘u Coffee Mill. For more information visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

During the week visit Ka‘u coffee farms. Enjoy the scenic and historic beauty of Ka‘u, Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach, Honu‘apo fishponds, the cliffs of Ka Lae – the southernmost place in the U.S., and the nearby Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Stay in one of the many accommodations in Ka‘u. Visit www.kaucoffeefest.com for participating coffee farms and accommodations.

On Wednesday May 7 explore flume systems of the sugarcane era and development of hydroelectric power on a Ka‘u Mountain Water System in the Wood Valley rainforest 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $40 includes lunch. Limited to 30. Visit www.kaucoffeemill.com or phone 808-928-0550.

On Friday May 9 enjoy Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm at 10 a.m., where descendants of the first coffee farmer in Ka‘u explain how coffee is integrated into other agriculture.  $25 fee includes an all-you can eat buffet. Visit www.aikaneplantation.com or phone 808-927-2252.

On Friday May 9 observe the heavens from the summit of Makanau at Ka‘u Star Gazing, 5:30-10 p.m. $35 with refreshments. To sign up, see www.kaucoffeemill.com or call 808-928-0550.

On Saturday, May 10 tantalize your taste buds at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a, with a full day of music, hula, food, local crafts, coffee tastings and farm/mill tours at the Pahala Community Center. Festival entry is free; Ka‘u Coffee Experience with guided coffee tasting $5; farm tours $20. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

On Sunday, May 11 learn about the coffee industry at the Ka‘u Coffee College at Pahala Community Center. Free, donations appreciated. Also farm/ mill tours continue. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

Hawai‘i Bidding for Major Conservation Gathering Event Would Be a First for the U.S

As a four-person delegation representing the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visits Hawaii this week, the state is showcasing its position as the anchor of the Pacific in a bid to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress. The congress is the world’s leading summit on the environment.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

IUCN delegation and Hawaii committee members tour Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

A Hawai‘i-hosted congress would be the first time it has been held in the United States since the founding of IUCN in 1948, and the event would provide a unique opportunity to share with the world, the state and nation’s values and dedication to conserving nature on both national and international levels. As many as 8,000 delegates are expected to attend the 2016 meeting.

“Based on our success hosting the 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Conference, I believe we have a compelling case as to why the United States and Hawaii provide the ideal venue to host this gathering,”Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The Aloha State is the anchor of the Pacific, and our bid is financially competitive and highlights the unique benefits of our location and host culture. We’re encouraging the IUCN evaluating team to review all that Hawai‘i has to offer for this preeminent conference.”

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

Chipper Wichman, Co-chair, Hawaii IUCN 2016 Steering Committee and Director and CEO of national Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

“IUCN has been fortunate to always receive strong invitations to host our World Conservation Congresses and the 2016 Congress is no exception. There are two excellent candidates in the running to host the event: Honolulu, Hawai‘i, United States of America and Istanbul, Turkey.

We are very grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment shown by Hawai‘i and thank the team for their warm welcome throughout the site visit. The IUCN Council will make a decision regarding the venue and hosts of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in May 2014,”said Dr. Enrique Lahmann, Global Director, Union Development Group; Congress Director, International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

Randy Tanaka and Enrique Lahmann at a reception for the IUCN delegates.

The delegation is receiving broad exposure to a wide-range of the natural and cultural attributes of the Hawaiian Islands through site visits on Hawai‘i Island, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, as well as meetings and receptions with government, hospitality industry, conservation and Native Hawaiian leaders. A cross-discipline, multi-agency organizing team, led by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), is showing the delegation convention facilities, transportation, lodging and security infrastructure, attractions and meeting/marketing expertise. Members of the IUCN evaluating team also received a 107 page-long Hawai‘i Nature + Aloha, Imagine 2016 proposal, which documents broad support for the conference and includes in-depth detail about the Aloha State’s bid for the event.

DLNR Chairperson William Aila said, “With environmental and conservation issues very much at the forefront of worldwide attention, Hawai‘i is in a unique position to demonstrate what we are doing to advance conservation issues like climate change, watershed management, coral reef protection, and traditional knowledge. Having Hawai‘i host the 2016 Congress will show the world how our core values of Aloha Aina connect to nature and our diversity.”

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

IUCN delegates contemplate the stillness and vastness of Halemaumau vent.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome the IUCN Site Visit Team to Hawai‘i,”said Chipper Wichman, director of the National Tropical Botanical Garden and CEO and co-chair of the Hawai‘i IUCN 2016 Steering Committee. This is a diverse group of individuals and organizations who have been working for the past five years to bring the IUCN World Conservation Congress to Hawai‘i. “Our state is a world leader in biocultural conservation, and Gov. Abercrombie has put together a dynamic group led by William Aila and Esther Kia‘āina from the DLNR to host the IUCN team and show them the facilities and organizations that make Hawai‘i the best location for the world to convene and discuss global conservation issues. It has been an amazing week so far –we are leaving the IUCN delegation with a strong and lasting impression of Hawai‘i.”

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Governor Abercrombie at reception at Hawaii Community College.

Hosts for the IUCN delegation are demonstrating that Hawai‘i is a destination where “hospitality is not a sideline.”The IUCN World Congress bid has the full support of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) and the Hawai‘i Convention Center (HCC). During this week the delegation is having meetings with HCC staff and management and many of Hawai‘i’s leading HTA-member hospitality providers. Both HTA and HCC have been working for the past five years to support the bid process.

Mahalo to Ho’omana Tree Service for Going Above and Beyond the Duty of Call

If you live in Puna… you will constantly deal with trees and a jungle living near you.  For the last five years I’ve been so busy with things that my yard has gotten kind of crazy and a bit out of control!

Mahalo to Ho’omana Tree Service for hooking my yard up!  It looks killer!
Yard workI wasn’t even around for the final day and they did everything to specifications…. AND did even more!

Best tree service company I have ever dealt with here on the Big Island.

Hawaii Senate Tables Bill Legalizing Marijuana

Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee Defers Bill Legalizing Marijuana.  Advances Bills Decriminalizing Marijuana, Providing Medical Amnesty for Calling 911 for Overdose Emergency.
Marijuana LeafThe Senate Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs Committee today deferred Senate Bill 2733, a bill that would have legalized marijuana in Hawaii.

“We felt Hawaii was not ready for legalization at this time,” said Espero. “With the passage of legalization bills in Colorado and Washington, however, these states will be test sites to see how legalization impacts the states and their residents.”

Another measure, Senate Bill 2358, which would decriminalize marijuana, was passed unanimously and will now go to the Judiciary and Labor Committee.  First time offense would be a $100 fine; second offense $250; three or more $500. No prison time would be involved.

The committee also advanced Senate Bill 2215, which would provide medical amnesty for those who call 911 when someone is overdosing.  “Many Hawaii residents have died because people are afraid to call for help when they are with someone overdosing.  This measure is a good Samaritan bill that gives limited immunity to those who seek medical assistance,” said Espero

Call for Entries: Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Seeks 2014 Poster Image

The iconic 44th annual Kona Coffee Cultural Festival announces the launch of its annual Festival Art Contest, one that illustrates the talents of Kona’s prolific art community.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

Local artists are invited to submit original Kona coffee art for consideration and the winning entry will be showcased throughout the Festival. Artwork should be evocative of Kona’s coffee heritage and integrate the Festival’s 2014 theme – Bringing Kona Together.
The winning design will become the official image of the 2014 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and will be featured on all official Festival merchandise including the Festival button, event poster and retail merchandise. The winning design will also be featured on the Festival’s magazine cover, website and other promotional materials.

Artists of traditional media including oil, acrylic, tempera, watercolor, illustrations as well as computer graphics and photographers are invited to participate. Artists are encouraged to be inspired by this year’s theme – Bringing Kona Together. Typography should not be included within the art. There is no entry fee to participate and the competition is open to all Hawaii Island residents 18 and older.

Ownership of entry copyright: By submitting artwork into this contest, the artist agrees to assign all ownership rights and copyright of the art to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival.

Artwork submissions are due by Tuesday, April 1, 2014 and should be delivered to Malia Bolton at the Kona Coffee & Tea Company located across from Honokohau Harbor on Queen Kaahumanu Hwy or entries can be submitted electronically via email to maliabolton@gmail.com. Be sure to include “Festival Submission” in the subject line with your electronic entries.

Natural Farming Learning Lab Grows Healthy Community in Kohala

On Saturday, March 1, 2014 from 9 am – 2 pm, the Palili ‘O Kohala project welcomes the Hawai‘i Island community to attend the blessing of the Natural Farming Learning Lab in Hawi, North Kohala. The program will include Hawaiian music, local food, workshops, demonstrations and a blessing of the Natural Farming Learning Lab, including the new Natural Farming Pig and Chicken House. The cost is $15 per person (children under 10 are free) and includes a Kohala grown lunch.

Chris Trump of Cho Global Natutal Farming Co-op will be one of the presenters on March 1st in North Kohala.

Chris Trump of Cho Global Natutal Farming Co-op will be one of the presenters on March 1st in North Kohala.

Afternoon workshops include: Introduction to Natural Farming with Chris Trump, from Cho Global Natural Farming Co-op; Raising pigs using Natural Farming with Mike DuPonte from the UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; Taro Cultivation with Bert Kanoa and his students from Palili ‘O Kohala and Ka Hana No‘eau; Making Natural Farming inputs with Palili ‘O Kohala families and Ka Hana No‘eau students.

Hawaiian Ki Hō‘alu slack key guitar master Cyril Pahinui will be headlining the musical slate as well as teaching a mini-workshop in playing ukulele.

There will be ongoing talks and demonstrations on: poi pounding; raising chickens the Natural Farming way; Natural Farming, Hawaiian Saddle Making and more with the mentors and students of Ka Hana No‘eau; ukulele making with Guy Sasaki and his students from the Ka Hana No‘eau ukulele making class, and; learning about ‘uala (sweet potato) and the Kohala dryland field system with Ulu Mau Puanui.

 

Ten families in North Kohala are working together to grow taro, pigs and chickens using Natural Farming.

Ten families in North Kohala are working together to grow taro, pigs and chickens using Natural Farming.

The Natural Farming Learning Lab and Palili ‘O Kohala is a project of Kohala-based non-profit Kahua Pa‘a Mua, Inc. The Palili ‘O Kohala project is a ten family taro growing cooperative that addresses food self-sufficiency, food security and economic development in North Kohala. The project provides training, as well as resources for the growing, processing and distribution of taro and value added products from taro, pigs, chickens and vegetables. The Natural Farming Learning Lab has been created to demonstrate the efficacy of and teach others about Natural Farming methods of growing taro, pigs, chickens and vegetables. Natural Farming is a methodology that uses “indigenous microorganisms” to increase yields, eliminate the use of chemicals and reduce needs for water in crop management and animal husbandry.

The North Kohala community, in its County mandated Community Development Plan (CDP) is committed to 50% community food self-sufficiency by 2018. The Natural Farming Learning Lab and Palili ‘O Kohala are part of the community effort to reach that goal by cultivating traditional crops and using Natural Farming to grow chemical free food.

The Palili ‘O Kohala project has been generously supported by County of Hawai‘i County Council, County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development, Local Initiatives Fund of RSF Social Finance, Honsador Lumber, Dorrance Family Foundation, Hawai‘i Community Foundation Omidyar ‘Ohana Fund and Partners in Development Foundation. Community partners include Partners in Development Foundation Ka Hana No‘eau and North Kohala Eat Locally Grown.

Tickets are limited and advance purchase is required. Tickets can be bought online at foodhubkohala.org, in person at the EBT Booth at the Hawi Farmers Market or by phone at 808-224-1404. For information please visit foodhubkohala.org.

10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Festival at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden

Hawai‘i Forest and Trail Presents A Grow Hawaiian Weekend

The 10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Weekend on Friday and Saturday,  February 21 and 22, is a celebration of Hawaiian cultural and natural history at Amy Greenwell Garden in Captain Cook.  Admission to the Garden will be free on those two days, and all of the activities are free.

Kai'uhane Morton

Ka’uhane Morton demonstrates how to make nose flutes

On Friday, February 21, between 1 p.m. and 4 pm., the public is invited to the Garden Visitor Center to join Greenwell Garden staff, taro experts Jerry Konanui and Keahi Tomas, and local school children in ku‘i kalo—poi pounding.  Boards and stones and cooked taro will be available for everyone from beginners to experts to try their hand at this traditional culinary art.  Also on Friday at 1 p.m., the Guided Hawaiian Plant Walk is a docent led tour of the Garden landscape of the plants of Hawai‘i in the 1600s.

The Grow Hawaiian festival takes place at the Garden on Saturday, February 22 from 9:00-2:30 pm.  Speakers will make presentations on taro cultivation, conservation, horticulture, and lauhala weaving, and artisans will demonstrate ipu gourd decorating, kapa making, weaving, woodworking, lei making, taro cultivation, and Hawaiian dyes.  There will be hands-on activities for the keiki and adults, plant and insect identification booths, displays, live entertainment, Hawaiian food, and much more!

Visitors can learn about the movement to provision Hawaiian voyaging canoes by using food grown in Hawai‘i so that the crews of the long distant canoes can eat healthy, sustainable, traditional foods as they travel across the Pacific and around the world.  There will also be a presentation on olonā cordage.  The bark of olonā has strong, durable fiber that was made into fishing line, nets, and other items for traditional life.

Some of the foremost experts in native plants and Hawaiian ethnobotany will lead tours of the Garden, and authors will be on hand to sign their books.  A silent auction will be held where visitors will have a chance to bid on poi boards, poi stones, and other traditional objects.

For more information call 323-3318, visit www.bishopmuseum.org/greenwell,  or email agg@bishopmuseum.org.  Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is Bishop Museum’s native plant arboretum, located 12 miles south of Kailua-Kona on Highway 11, just south of mile marker 110.

The 10th Annual Grow Hawaiian Festival is, presented by Hawai‘i Forest and Trail.   Support for this event  is also provided by Kūki‘o,  and Kealakekua Ranch, Ltd.  An award from the County of Hawai‘i Department of Research and Development and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority funds the Guided Native Plant Walks.  Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in the Hawaiian Plant Walks should contact Peter Van Dyke at 808-323-3318 at least two weeks before their planned visit.

Wordless Wednesday: Invasion – Little Fire Ants in Hawaii (The Movie)

Invasive species introductions to Hawaii often end in regret and a list of should-haves.

little fire antThis film, produced by the Maui Invasive Species Committee, aims to change the result of the arrival of little fire ants in Hawaii.

Featuring videography from award-winning film makers Masako Cordray and Chris Reickert, this half-hour film examines the biology, impacts, and potential solutions to the spread of little fire ants through interviews with scientists, farmers, and community on the Big Island reeling from the impacts of this minuscule, but devastating, ant.

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Little Fire Ant – Queen and worker ant

Viewers will learn how to identify and report new infestations, helping to protect Hawaii from this small stinging ant.

More info here: http://www.lfa-hawaii.org/

Councilman Ilagan to Introduce Bill 185 – Certified Organic Bill

On Tuesday, February 4, Councilman Ilagan will be introducing Bill 185, which further defines agricultural tax incentives to include an organic produce provision. This bill will be heard in the Finance Committee scheduled to begin at 3:45 p.m.

Click to read the proposed bill

Click to read the proposed bill

Encouraging the growing certified organic industry is a positive step forward in helping Hawaii County move towards the goal of food self-sufficiency. In conjunction with conventional farming operations, we need to explore and promote all means possible for reducing the amount of food and agricultural products imported into the state.

Bill 185 is a step along this path. Supporting local agricultural activity is not only an economic benefit but can also significantly reduce the threat of importing pests, and lower the possibility of introducing diseases that can threaten native plants and locally produced foods. A thriving agricultural industry is an important part of our island lifestyle, and helping farmers from different agriculture fields will bring us closer to realizing food self-sufficiency on the Big Island.

Highlights of Bill 185:

  1. Certified organic farmers are assessed at the same value as pasture and slow rotation forestry, which is the lowest assessed value per acre for agricultural use.
  2. A certified organic tax relief is based on more intensive agricultural use with limited County agency oversight due to third party enforcement and site inspections.
  3. A tax incentive for certified organic operations will help to enable new farmers to start, and established small farms to continue farming.
  4. Annual recertification process for certified organic operations encourages farmers to continue farming land for intensive agriculture use.
  5. Tax breaks will lessen the burden of certification costs which ranges from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, and relatively high production costs due to the increased labor requirements.
  6. Approximately 200 growers are certified organic farmers in Hawai’i, and the median size is 5 acres on the Big Island, according to the 2007 Agriculture Census.
  7. Encourages the establishment of high value niche market products.

For more information call (808) 961-8825, or visit http://puna4.com

Governor Abercrombie Releases $15.85 Million for Agriculture, Watershed Preservation

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $15.85 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP) administered by the state Department of Agriculture in support of the local agriculture industry and further preservation of Hawaii’s watersheds.

“Hawaii’s agriculture industry is vital to our local economy and supports thriving rural communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “It’s essential to protect our mauka forest areas, which contain native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Our state’s watershed initiative remains a top priority, and it is the most cost-effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater resources to prevent erosion that muddies our beaches and fisheries.”

Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:

$12,500,000 – Agricultural Land, Oahu – Funds to purchase three land parcels in Wahiawa for agribusiness operations; the properties have access to roads, municipal water, and utilities, which make it efficient for transport of produce and cost effective for agribusiness operations (A fourth parcel may be purchased, pending negotiations with another buyer)

Temporary repair of one of the original wooden flumes. Some of the wooden flumes will be restored to their original state for historical purposes.

Temporary repair of one of the original wooden flumes. Some of the wooden flumes will be restored to their original state for historical purposes.

$1,500,000 – Lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project, Island of Hawaii – Construction to repair flumes, ditches, reservoirs and tunnels; remove sediment in the ditches; modify intake structures; and install new lateral distribution lines for the irrigation system

$1,000,000 – State Agricultural Water Use Development Plan, statewide – Project planning to continue to inventory irrigation systems throughout the state, prepare historic description of the original irrigation infrastructure, assess the current condition, propose maintenance improvements, identify irrigation source and water use requirements, and develop long-term water use projections

$700,000 – Kunia Agricultural Park, Oahu – Design of the 150-acre Kunia Agricultural Park in Royal Kunia; design plans will include provisions to subdivide the land parcel into 26 lots and coordinating adjacent infrastructure to make utilities available to the parcels

$75,000 – East Kauai Irrigation System, Kauai – Construction for upgrades and repairs including clearing, lining, repairing and stabilizing the access roads, ditches, flumes, tunnels, reservoirs, diversions and intakes

$75,000 – Waimanalo Irrigation System Improvements, Oahu – Design for the extension of the main irrigation pipeline; the extension will be approximately 1,500 linear feet

Some Good News Amid Bad News, for Hawaii’s Endangered Honeycreepers

Warming temperatures due to climate change are exposing endangered Hawaiian forest birds to greater risk of avian malaria. But new research led by the U.S. Geological Survey holds out some hope that the birds may be able to adapt.

Hawaiian Honeycreeper Photographer: Carter Atkinson, USGS

Hawaiian Honeycreeper Photographer: Carter Atkinson, USGS

For decades, scientists have documented declines and extinctions among species of Hawaiian honeycreepers due to the spread of avian malaria and other diseases. At one time, the Hawaiian Islands had no mosquitoes—and no mosquito-borne diseases. But, by the late 1800s, mosquitoes were firmly established in the islands. Another invasive species—feral pigs—helped the mosquito population boom by creating larval habitat as they rooted through forests. The honeycreepers had no natural defense against a disease they had never before experienced.

“Honeycreepers are exquisitely sensitive to avian malaria,” said Dr. Carter Atkinson, a USGS microbiologist based at the USGS Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center in Hawai’i. Atkinson is the lead author of two new research papers examining how climate change is increasing the honeycreepers’ risk of infection.

One paper, accepted for publication by the journal Global Change Biology, confirms the bad news that infection has doubled in the last 20 years among birds in one of the last high elevation refuges in the Hawaiian Islands. Atkinson and his colleagues compared data collected from birds at three sites on the remote, rugged `Alakai Plateau of Kaua`i during 1994-1997 and 2007-2013. The most disturbing result was found at the highest elevation site, where malarial infection increased from 2.0 percent to 19.3 percent.

Alakai Plateau

Alakai Plateau

“These increases in infection appear to be driven by a combination of environmental factors,” said Atkinson. “Warming temperatures, decreased precipitation, and changes in streamflow may be allowing mosquitoes and disease transmission to invade the highest reaches of the Plateau.”

The other paper, published in EcoHealth, provides a glimmer of good news. Atkinson and his colleagues found that a rapidly expanding, low elevation population of a honeycreeper species, the Hawai’i‘Amakihi, on the island of Hawai’i has developed a tolerance for the disease.

In this study, Atkinson and his research team captured birds from both the low elevation population and from a higher elevation site. The birds were screened to ensure that they were not infected with avian malaria, and then assigned to experimental or control groups. Birds in the experimental group were exposed to malarial infection, while birds in the control group were not.

Results showed that the low elevation ‘Amakihi were able to tolerate infection much better than birds from higher elevation. Mortality rates were lower, and the low elevation birds lost less weight and maintained normal food consumption.

But why?

“That’s the next step,” said Atkinson. “The emergence of this population provides an exceptional opportunity for determining the physiological mechanisms and genetic markers associated with malaria tolerance. Adaptation may be the best long-term hope for recovery for many of these species.”

Land Exchange Next Step in Creating Central Oahu Agriculture Hub

State senators introduced this session land exchange legislation that would help protect agricultural and conservation lands, boost the agricultural industry and put the appropriate entities in the proper places to grow a better Hawai‘i. The measure is supported by eighteen lawmakers in the Hawai‘i State Senate, including the bill’s main sponsor Senator Donovan Dela Cruz (D- Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, and portion of Poamoho).

sb3065
The measure, Senate Bill 3065, Relating to Land Exchange, would allow the Department of Land and Natural Resources to exchange state-owned parcels in Kapolei for 20,000 acres of agricultural and conservation lands in Central O‘ahu. The lands, currently owned by the Castle & Cooke, surround the 1,207 acres of arable land purchased by the state for $13 million in 2012.
The land acquisition was part of a detailed plan for the future of Hawai‘i known as the Whitmore Project, an initiative to revitalize Hawai‘i’s local agriculture industry by bringing farmers and the state together to increase local food production, create jobs, engage in partnerships, and provide affordable housing.

Castle & Cooke has listed the land for sale at $175,000,000 and has also been supportive of the idea of a land exchange. The State currently owns land near areas where transit-oriented development is in the works.

“A land exchange with Castle & Cooke makes real sense here,” said Sen. Dela Cruz, “We have to look at all our options and think outside the box to help diversify Hawai‘i’s ag industry and preserve our lands. The state would spend little to no taxpayer money, and the exchange would allow for the appropriate entity to oversee smart development around transit plans and put the State in a place where it can provide opportunities for farmers and preserve lands.”

“Wahiawā can be an ag industrial hub,” he added. “These lands are up for sale and anything can happen to them. Do we want to see them parceled out and developed or do we want to see them as part of a plan that supports agriculture and our farmers?”

Innaugural Hawai’i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai

Inspired by storied lands, Hawaii’s leaders in education, agriculture and culinary arts have cooked up a deliciously innovative collaboration in the 2014 Hawai‘i Island Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lānai, Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. Presented by Choy and prepared by Executive Chef Scott Hiraishi, the Ranchers Dinner not only highlights local-grown foods and sustainable grass fed beef, but offers the chance for diners to meet and eat with the farmers, ranchers and chefs who bring “farm-to-fork” full circle.

Executive Chef

Executive Chef Scott Hiraishi.  Photo by Britten Traughber

The Ranchers Dinner is the first in a series of collaborative culinary-agriculture projects of Kamehameha School-Land Asset Division (KSLAD) in partnership with the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture. KSLAD manages 365,000 acres of Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate land, bequeathed for the education and betterment of her people by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1884. Of those, 160,935 acres are agricultural property on Hawai‘i Island alone.

“Two out of three Kona Coffee farms are on KS land,” said Land Asset Manager Les Apoliona, explaining that part of their mission is to support agricultural education, business planning, and farmer certification programs. Working to connect Hawai‘i Island food producers with skilled chefs also connects agriculture to hospitality and tourism. “It’s about relationships,” said Apoliona. “We are actively exploring various options, and looking at partnering for a sustainable Hawai‘i.”

Hiraishi is doing his best to further the concept. Hawai‘i born and raised, Hiraishi has worked alongside Choy for much of the last two decades, starting as young culinary student. When the iconic Sam Choy’s Kaloko location closed, Hiraishi expanded his career into resort service at the AAA 5-Diamond Four Seasons Resort Hualālai and the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay. Hiraishi has cooked for the International Food and Wine Travel Writers Welcome Reception and the James Beard Celebrity Chefs Tour Reception at Mauna Lani Resort, and was a featured chef at Taste of the Hawaiian Range.

In 2010 Hiraishi once again teamed up with Choy for his new Keauhou location, which is located on KS land. The connection became clear. Bringing the best food from the region to the tables of one of the region’s best restaurants completes the circle—supporting the vision of sustainable local agriculture that nurtures business and vice versa.

“I’ve learned so much from the entire experience,” said Hiraishi. “One of the most important things—to get the freshest ingredients you can—is to talk to the farmers and work with them. When you can’t find something specific they will go out and find it for you, or grow it for you.”

For the Ranchers Dinner, Hiraishi created a five-course plated feast with wine pairings that stars select cuts of versatile Hawai‘i Lowline Cattle Company beef, including “cook your own” Tenderloin with ishi yaki (Japanese hot stones) where guests may interact with Choy and Hiraishi. Also in the spotlight are creative preparations of Local-Style Oxtail Soup, Beef Tongue, Flank Steak, Rib-Eye, Short Ribs and more, served with Hāmākua Mushrooms, fresh vegetables from Living Aquaponics farm and other products sourced from local farmers markets. Dinner concludes with a smile, and Chef Scott’s Chocolate Macaroon “Cow Pie.”

Cost of the Ranchers Dinner is $75 per person which includes select wine pairings and a custom logo “Ag Bag” with sampling of ingredients used in the menu. Only 75 seats are available for the exclusive dining event and reservations are required. For more information, visit www.SamChoy.com, follow Ranchers Dinner at Sam Choy’s Kai Lānai on Facebook, or call 808-333-3434.

Big Island Police Still Conducting Marijuana Raids in Puna

One man has been charged and another released following their arrests during the execution of a marijuana search warrant last week in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision in Puna.

1/28/14 UPDATE: Vice officers served the search warrant Friday morning (January 24) at a home on Road 1 and recovered 51 marijuana plants [corrected number] (ranging in height from 1 to 3 feet), 168.5 grams of dried processed marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Raymond Eastridge

Raymond Eastridge

Two 45-year-old residents, Raymond Eastridge and John Holloway, were arrested at the scene and taken to the South Hilo police cellblock while Vice detectives continued the investigation.

After conferring with prosecutors, Holloway was released without charges. Eastridge was charged with second-degree promoting marijuana, second-degree promoting a detrimental drug, third degree promoting a detrimental drug and possessing drug paraphernalia.

His bail was set at $7,250. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance Monday afternoon (January 27).

Gov. Abercrombie to Honor Exceptional Community Contributors During Waimea’s Annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is scheduled to join the celebration of Waimea’s Japanese heritage by planting flowering cherry trees in honor of exceptional community contributors during the 21st Annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival on Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014.  

 

“Love These Cherry Blossoms!” and artist Rani Denise Ulrich of Keauhou

“Love These Cherry Blossoms!” and artist Rani Denise Ulrich of Keauhou

The community festival showcases the blooming of Waimea’s historic 60-year-old cherry trees, which are primarily located near town center at Church Row Park but can also be seen in growing numbers throughout the upcountry ranching community. The festival combines the Japanese tradition of viewing these beautiful trees ablaze with pink blossoms – called hanami – with dozens of events, exhibits and interactive presentations that celebrate the community’s Japanese traditions and connections.

Gov. Abercrombie will be a part of the festival’s opening ceremonies at 9 a.m. at Parker Ranch Center, joined by Mayor Billy Kenoi in saluting this year’s festival honorees, Waimea residents Emiko Wakayama and Fumi Bonk.

Then, at 10:30 a.m., the Governor will plant a young flowering cherry tree on the front lawn of Historic Spencer House in honor of lifelong Waimea resident, retired Judge and former Lt. Gov. Nelson Doi.

At 11:15 a.m., the Governor will plant three more flowering cherry trees on the front lawn of Waimea’s Department of Agriculture building at the entry to the Lalamilo Farmlots. The trees will honor the three generations of Japanese families that turned Lalamilo’s arid, rocky lands into the highly productive leafy greens and other fresh produce “food basket” of the state.

The community is invited to join the tree plantings, which are intended to also contribute to the original vision of Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival founders who wanted to encourage the addition of more of the flowering trees along the main roadways through this cool upcountry community.

The tree plantings are two of dozens of activities and events at venues throughout Waimea on festival day. Other festivities include Japanese and multi-cultural performances and exhibits of art and traditional dolls, hands-on demonstrations of bonsai, origami and mochi pounding, presentations of the exquisite traditional tea ceremony, plus sake tasting and the offering of a wide array of popular Japanese foods. Look for pink banners identifying event locations sprawling from the Parker Ranch Center to the Hawaiian Homestead Farmer’s Market on Hwy. 19.

The annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival is sponsored by many Waimea community groups, churches, temples, clubs and businesses in partnership with the County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation Arts and Culture Division.