“Big Island of Hawaii News” is tracking these Hawaii Island stories through Thursday, 28 June 2012:
1. Ka’u residents push for eviction.
2. State will fund new research park on Hawaii Island.
3. Legislation divides coffee farmers.
4. Pahala farmers assess damage from wildfires.
These are the headlines. Here are the details with sources cited.
PUSHING FOR EVICTION
(Stephens Media). Abel Simeona Lui continues to live at Kawa, despite recent court orders establishing Hawaii County’s ownership of the property and denials of Lui’s appeals of those orders. Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi, the Hawaii Police Department, and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office have not enforced the wishes of the court. The lack of action has some Ka’u residents asking if the delay in the eviciton process is politically connected to the upcoming election cycle. Rancher Kyle Soares tells reporter Erin Miller the issue is “absolutely” politicial. Soares claims Lui and his supporters have harassed and threatened him and his family and even attacked his wife when she was taking children across the property to the coastline. Now, Soares claims, the county’s property manager has told him he should not access the easement to repair a waterline, because the easment crosses conservation land. The mayor said he was unaware of any comment from a county official to Soares about the easement. The mayor added that the county continues to work with descendants on a management plan for the property. Some longtime Ka’u residents want the county to take action, because Lui is allegedly cutting off access to the bay. Mayor Billy Kenoi said family members with ties to the land wanted to consult with the county at a meeting two weeks from now. Kenoi stated that he wants as much imput as possible, so when the management plan is created, it’s done just one time. The mayor added that “we’re trying to find the right solution…we’ll take as much time as we need.”
STATE APPROVES SPACE PARK
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie will sign a bill today intended to make Hawaii Island the center for companies and space agencies working to make the moon habitable. According to reporter Tom Callis, the legislation authorizes the creation of a research park, overseen by the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, that will develop and test technology needed to allow people to live on the lunar surface. The plan includes ways to make the most out of the moon’s resources, a focus of a NASA program that will return to the island next month for additional testing. The goal of the RESOLVE program, which has PISCES as a member, is to create oxygen and rocket fuel by melting moon rocks. John Hamilton, the PISCES deputy director, says previous tests in 2008 and 2010 were successful, and the tests that will occur in July on the slopes of Mauna Kea will be the last tests of the project. Hamilton says the idea of the research park is that private business and government space programs from all nations can work together to develop and test the space age technology needed to colonize the moon.
COFFEE BILL DIVIDES COFFEE FARMERS
(Hawaii Tribune-Herald). Hawaii coffee growers are divided over legislation that would eliminate the state’s mandatory certifications of locally grown coffee. On Monday, Governor Neil Abercrombie announced his intention to veto House Bill 280, along with 18 other measures. A spokesman for the Kona Coffee Farmers Association described the divided opinion as a clash between small, family growers and large, corporate farmers. Bruce Corker, the group’s legislative committee chairman, told reporter Colin Stewart that his fellow members were happy with the governor’s intent to veto the bill, adding “we are delighted and we commend the governor…we appreciate his taking a careful look at what we think is an extremely important issue….” However, Jim Wayman, the president of the state’s largest coffee roaster, Hawaii Coffee Company, and a supporter of HB 280, said the governor had been misled, and that the true majority of Hawaii coffee growers are in support of the measure. Governor Abercrombie has until 10 July to veto the bill. If he decides against using his veto, the bill would automatically become law.
PAHALA FARMERS ASSESS DAMAGE
(Hawii Tribune-Herald). On Tuesday, the manager of Ka’u Farm and Ranch Company, said coffee farmers in Ka’u are in the process of determining the damage caused by two Pahala wildfires, but haven’t yet determined a dollar amount for the destruction. Chris Manfredi told reporter John Burnett that “right now, we’re just trying to assess what trees will be salvageable and which ones won’t. It’s hard to assess until we get a better handle on the extent of biological damage to the trees.” Manfredi added that seven coffee farms suffered damage, with one taking severe losses. He said that all of the affected growers lease land from Ka’u Farm and Ranch. The value of the crop is around $10 million. Manfredi said all is not lost, noting “the silver lining is that the fire cleared some land that we wanted to plant anyway. So we’re going to take advantage of the land clearing to create some new farms.” Fire Battalion Chief Jerry Lum said said the 400-acre mauka fire above Pahala is about 95 percent contained, while the larger makai blaze remains about 60 percent contained. Lum said firecrews are monitoring the fires and maintaining the perimeter fire breaks on the northern and southern flanks of the blaze.
(Hawaii Police Department/Hawaii Tribune-Herald). Police are warning West Hawaii residents about a series of auto thefts with six reported in the last two weeks. According to a media release, the vehicles being targeted are early model Honda sedans and Toyota Tacoma trucks. The area has also experienced an increase in auto break-ins. Police officers are urging residents to guard their vehicles by locking them and not leaving valuables inside. In a related case, Police have arrested 28-year old Matthew Guba who reportedly stole a sedan on 20 June and led police on a chase that ended at the intersection of Kiloa and Kinue roads. Police believe the arrest of Guba is unrelated to auto theft spree. Guba remains at the police cellblock on $13,000 bail pending a court appearance.
HAWAII ISLAND WEATHER THROUGH THURSDAY, 28 June 2012
Hilo and vicinity–Partly sunny with a few brief windward showers.
Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Mostly sunny with upslope showers.
Highs near 80. Lows near 67. Winds shifting to the east northeast, 6 to 12 mph, by Thursday. Sunrise Thursday–5:44 a.m. Sunset Thursday–7:03 p.m. Total hours of daylight Thursday–13 hours, 18 minutes, and 34 seconds.
HAWAII ISLAND TIDES FOR THURSDAY, 28 June 2012
Hilo High Tide–11:37 a.m./10:07 p.m. Hilo Low Tide–4:09 a.m./5:40 p.m.
Kailua-Kona High Tide–12:15 p.m./10:45 p.m. Kailua-Kona Low Tide–4:46 a.m./6:17 p.m.
HAWAII ISLAND SURF FORECAST THROUGH THURSDAY, 28 June 2012
Hapuna Beach breaks–flat to 1 foot. Kona and Banyans–flat to 1 foot. Ka’u and Pohoiki–4 to 5 feet. Hamakua–5 to 6 feet. Hilo and Honolii–3 to 4 feet.
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Russ Roberts, administrator, PRG HAWAII NEWS WITH RUSS ROBERTS
Laupahoehoe, Hawaii–along the beautiful Hamakua Coast