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Big Island of Hawaii News, 10 June 2013 through 11 June 2013. Post #2125


The views expressed in this Hawaii news summary are mine unless otherwise stated.

Big Island of Hawaii News is tracking these Hawaii stories through Tuesday, 11 June 2013:


The GMO success story–the rebirth of the papaya industry.

Former Hawaii resident the source of NSA disclosures.

The Volcano House restored.

Zippy’s  comes to Hilo.

DETAILS (with sources cited):

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  On Monday, 10 June 2013, “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” reporter began a four-part series on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) or transgenic foods.

In the first part of the series, reporter Tom Callis discussed the success story behind the virus-resistant Rainbow papaya, “credited with bringing the industry back to Hawaii.”  That program was largely the result of experiments conducted at Cornell University, where former Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center Director Dennis Gonsalves perfected a papaya plant able to fend off the devastating ringspot virus.

Gonsalves told reporter Callis that “if you were here in the 1990s, you would see nothing but dead papaya trees.”  Thanks to an aggressive research program and the adoption of the Rainbow strain of papaya, many papaya farms have returned to productivity.  For farmer Alberto Belmes of Keaau, who said his farm was “wiped out by the ringspot virus, the new Rainbow transgenic seeds have been a miracle.  Belmes added that “I still would be out of business” had it not been for the new papaya plants.

The spread of the virus- resistant Rainbow papaya hasn’t been warmly received by many farmers, including organic papaya grower Geoff Rauch.  Rauch told reporter Callis that the GMO papaya makes it difficult to ensure his crop isn’t modified or contaminated.  Rauch added that “every year, I get is sampled so I can tell customers I am growing non-transgenic papaya.”

Loren Mochida, the director of agriculture operations for W. H. Shipman, said he thinks transgenic  and non-transgenic papaya growers can exist, noting that “some commercial growers still have both varieties on their farm….actually, it (Rainbow papaya) helps the organic guys…it keeps the virus pressure down on the surrounding areas.”

You can find the full article by checking our “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” tab on the left sidebar.  The series continues through Thursday.

(Associated Press).  Hawaii has its own version of “Wiki Leaks” in the person of Edward Snowden, a former Hawaii resident who reportedly worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency and the CIA.  According to the Associated Press, Snowden allowed himself to be identified  Sunday as the source of disclosures about the U. S. government’s secret surveillance programs.  Release of such information could lead to a lengthy prison term if Snowden surrenders to U. S. authorities.

The embarrassing leaks of classified information reopened the post 9-11 discussion ” about privacy concerns versus heightened measures to protect against terrorist attacks, and led the NSA to ask the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation into the leaks.”

“The Guardian”, the first mass circulated newspaper to release the classified documents, told the AP it was releasing the data at the request of Snowden.  Snowden told the UK-based paper that “my sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them…”

Snowden told “The Guardian” that federal security is a myth, noting that “any analyst at any time can target anyone…any selector…anywhere…where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of those sensor networks and the authority that that analyst is empowered with.”  Snowden claimed he “had the authority to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to event the president if I had a personal email.”

A Hawaii real estate agent tells the AP that Edward Snowden and his girlfriend moved out of their house on 01 May, leaving nothing behind.

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  The historic Volcano House has reopened after being closed for almost three years.  According to reporter Hunter Bishop, the new Volcano House is a joint venture by the New Mexico-based Ortega Family Enterprises and Honolulu’s Aqua Hospitality, the management company awarded the contract to operate “the only hotel and restaurant inside Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Reporter Bishop says until its temporary closing in 2010, the Volcano House was “the oldest continuously operated hotel in Hawaii, dating back to 1846, and has hosted such luminaries as Mark Twain and Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

The restored Volcano House offers 33 guest rooms, a dining room, snack bar, lounge, and a gift shop, along with regular cultural events and demonstrations.

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  And speaking of eating, Honolulu-based Zippy’s will open its first Hawaii Island restaurant in Hilo’s Prince Kuhio Plaza on 01 August.  Jeanine Mamiya-Kalahiki, Zippy’s marketing manager, tells reporter Hunter Bishop that the restaurant will have a fast-food counter with seating in the food court and a Napoleon’s Bakery.  Hiring is ongoing for  100 positions at the Hilo restaurant.


Hilo and vicinity–Partly sunny with a few showers.

Kailua-Kona and vicinity–Partly sunny with a few upslope showers south of Captain Cook.

Highs near 82.  Lows near 68.  Winds shifting to the northeast, 10 to 20 mph, by Tuesday.

Sunrise Tuesday–5:41 a.m.  Sunset Tuesday–6:59 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Tuesday–13 hours, 18 minutes, and 18 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–4:12 a.m./5:21 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–10:06 a.m. (only one low tide on Tuesday).

Kailua-Kona High Tide–4:50 a.m./5:59 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–12:09 a.m./10:43 p.m.


Hapuna Beach breaks–flat.  Kona and Banyans–flat to 1 foot.  Ka’u and Pohoiki–1 to 3 feet.  Hamakua, including Kolekole Beach Park–2 to 3 feet.  Hilo and Honolii–1 to 3 feet.


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Russ Roberts, site administrator





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