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Big Island of Hawaii News, 12 June 2013 through 13 June 2013. Post #2149


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

Big Island of Hawaii News is tracking these Hawaii stories through Thursday, 13 June 2013:


GMO hard to avoid.

GMO legislation seeks more regulation.

Kohala celebrates its native son.

Hilo‘s looking for a new coat of paint.

DETAILS (with sources cited):

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  On Wednesday, 12 June 2013, “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” reporter Tom Callis completed his four-part series on GMO or transgenic foods.

In his concluding remarks, Callis said it’s hard to avoid GMO because its “been on store shelves for 17 years in the United States.” Without uniform labeling laws, customers who wish to avoid GMO are left with two options–“not using products that contain some of the more widely altered crops, such as corn and soybeans, or by sticking to food that is certified organic.”

For those on a budget, getting certified organic food can be costly, but the market is expanding to fill demand.  Courtney Pineau, the assistant director of  the Non-GMO Project, tells reporter Callis that “non-GMO certified food products are worth about $3.5 million annually.”  Her organization’s growth rate is now 108 percent, with over 9,000 products bearing the certified organic classification.

Hawaii Island organic food sellers, such as Abundant Life and Hilo Natural Foods are carrying as much organically grown products as they can.  Those products are clearly labeled on store shelves.  Hawaii Island crop growers, such as Royal Hawaiian Orchards, are raising macadamia nuts and other products without GMO input.  Royal Hawaiian Orchards president and CEO Dennis Simonis tells reporter Callis that the organic certification helps with marketing and meeting customer demand.  Simonis adds that “it’s very important when you are selling in the natural (stores), very important in California…it’s a trend…we believe in it…a lot of customers believe in it.”

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Before he wrapped up his series on transgenic foods, “Hawaii Tribune-Herald” reporter Tom Callis discussed possible regulations that could come from the state Legislature.  During the last session, legislators failed to pass a strong organic produce certification bill, but they did support a resolution to study the impact of labeling requirements.

Hilo state Representative Clift Tsuji, who serves on the state House Committee on Agriculture, introduced a bill establishing voluntary labeling of transgenic and non-transgenic food, but that measure didn’t pass this year.  Tsuji told reporter Callis that he supports some form of labeling because customers have the right to know what’s in their food.

Another bill introduced by Hawaii Island state Senator Russell Ruderman would have required the state Department of Agriculture to issue permits for the importing or introducing of a GMO crop.  Like Tsuji’s bill, this proposal didn’t make much progress.

Ruderman says he will introduce the bill again, believing the “state needs to continue pursuing labeling laws, even if they would get challenged.”

What do you think about GMO foods?  Let your state Representative or state Senator know your feelings on this issue.

(Hawaii Tribune-Herald).  Downtown Hilo is getting ready “to paint the town.”  According to reporter Hunter Bishop, the Benjamin Moore Paint Company is conducting a contest to repaint 30 communities in the United States and Canada.  Hilo is taking the challenge as part of the paint company’s “Main Street Matters” promotional event.

According to reporter Bishop, HPM Building Supply and the Downtown Hilo Improvement Association are asking residents to cast their votes for Hilo to be selected as one of the 20 biggest vote-getters.  Lee Wilson, the HPM marketing manager, submitted the application for Hilo and got the momentum rolling with support of the DIA and the mayor’s office.  Only two state communities have been nominated–Hilo on Hawaii Island and Haleiwa on Oahu.

According to the Benjamin Moore contest website, the goal of the program is to “re-energize local communities through revitalization and restoration projects.”  Voting will continue through 30 June 2013.  Participants can vote once a day until the deadline.  To cast your vote, visit and click on the Hawaii Islands icon.

(Stephens Media).  Kohala residents surely know how to celebrate.  According to reporter Erin Miller, thousands of cheering people lined Akoni Pule Highway Tuesday morning to honor King Kamehameha I on the day named in his memory.  The festivities included a ceremonial presentation of gifts (hookupu) and lei at the Kamehameha Statue in front of the old Kohala courthouse in Kapaau.

Cicely Hoopai, the chairwoman of the Kamehameha Day committee, told reporter Miller that the parade and celebration are important activities in the Kohala area, adding that “we are the home of Kamehameha…this is his birthplace.”

Hoopai said this year’s parade centered on honoring the generations of Kamehameha.  Hoopai noted that “Kohala is real grass roots, community oriented.”


Hilo and vicinty–Some sunny periods with a few windward 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 east, 8 to 16 mph, by Thursday.

Sunrise Thursday–5:41 a.m.  Sunset Thursday–7:00 p.m.  Total hours of daylight Thursday–13 hours, 18 minutes, and 42 seconds.


Hilo High Tide–5:47 a.m./6:32 p.m.  Hilo Low Tide–12:53 a.m./11:19 p.m.

Kailua-Kona High Tide–6:25 a.m./7:10 p.m.  Kailua-Kona Low Tide–1:30 a.m./11:56 a.m.


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


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