Councilwoman Margaret Wille on Pending GMO Bills and Other Legislation

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Councilwoman Margaret Wille

Bill 113: Proposed new Ordinance “ Protecting Hawai‘i Island’s Agricultural Heritage and Its Ecosystems from Harm from Genetically Engineered Organisms“

Margaret Wille on BILL #113: 

This revised version of Bill #79 prohibits open air cultivation of GMOs. My Bill would however exempt the papaya industry from this prohibition.  The Bill would also grandfather persons who are growing any other genetically engineered crops at this time, that is, in the same location where the crops are currently being grown. (We believe there may be no more than one or two farmers currently cultivating any other GMO crops).

My intent here is to draw the line on GMO’s at current usage – and at minimum prevent further infestation of GMO’s on this island. Otherwise we will suffer the same demise of organic and conventional agriculture for all GMO crops introduced here. What is important is to prevent one person’s cultivation of a crop that is likely to contaminate neighboring property, crops and vulnerable ecosystems. Note that under US patent laws, if pollen from GMO crops drifts on to a neighboring property – and contaminates crops on that neighboring property, the biotech companies can claim the resulting GMO crops on the neighbor’s property belong to the company that patented the GMO/GMO seeds. Keep in mind that my Bill would not affect the purchase/use of food or feedstock containing GMOs.

Brenda Ford has also introduced a GMO related Bill (#109) and her Bill will be discussed at the same time.  Ford’s Bill would prohibit all GMO crops/produce, including GMO papaya, after a 30 month period (except for scientific research in a high level containment facility).

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Margaret Wille on  GMO Ad Hoc Committee – Communication # 394:       

Wednesday Sept 4th at 1:30 pm Discussion and Formation of an Ad Hoc Committee Relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants.

My intent here is to allow for follow-up discussions after passage of Bill #113.

The ad hoc committee would be limited in scope to review, assess, and make recommendations as appropriate for the County of Hawai‘i:

(1) Whether “co-existence” of open air cultivation, propagation, or development of any non-genetically engineered and genetically engineered crops and plants is possible, and if so, with respect to which crops and plants and under what conditions;

(2) Whether there are particular risks related to pesticides and herbicides used for genetically engineered crops and plants; and:

(3) The pros and cons of emphasizing indigenous and ecologically friendly methods of farming on the island of Hawai‘i.

The Ad Hoc committee will also investigate and suggest reasonable ways to enforce County of Hawai‘i ordinances restricting the cultivation, propagation, or development of genetically engineered crops and plants.

GMO Summit report Communication # 404:

Council Members Margaret Wille, Karen Eoff and Dru Kanuha will give a brief summary of the 2013 Hawai’i Island GMO Summit held on August 19, 2013.  

This GMO Summit was hosted by the Hawaii Island Economic Development Board and the Hawaii Leeward Planning Conference. This event was not open to the public but only to members of those organizations and invited guests. The presentation was a very lop-sided pro-GMO presentation. At one point Kamana Beamer (Kamehameha School) rose in disgust, explained he could not participate in such a one-sided presentation, and abruptly departed.

The host organization’s executive director stated reason for not having a fairer presentation was that they were not able to find anyone on the other side of the issue who was available!! Each of the big name pro-GMO mainland speakers professed that they were not paid to be there by the industry, however when asked who paid for their travel and hotels, the answer was the Hawaii Crop Improvement Association – which is the advocacy arm of the five biotech companies.

Note this agenda item is required under the Sunshine law, HRS 92-2.5, because more than two members of the Council were present at this event – an event where there was discussion of matters that related to council board business (the GMO legislation).

Other legislation of interest

Re: Rezone in South Kohala

Wednesday Sept 4th at 10:00 am –Bill 112: REZONE Agricultural 5 acres to Family Agricultural 2 acres, at Pu‘ukapu Homesteads 2ND, South Kohala, Hawai‘i, covered by Tax Map Key 6-4-018:087.

The applicants wish to subdivide a 5 acre property now located in a 5 acre ag zone into two family ag 2 acre lots. This location is identified as Prime Agricultural Land. The applications states this subdivision is being carried out to provide lots for the owners two children.

The Planning Director and Leeward Planning Commission support this change of zone request subject to a condition that will prohibit the construction of a second dwelling (Ohana) unit and/ or the establishment of a Condominium Property Regime (CPR) on the newly created vacant lot.

UH Hilo Receives $2.7 Million to Fund “Ohana Heroes Project” – $100 For Families With at Least One Child

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, the University of Central Florida, and the University of Houston have teamed up in a $2.7 million Department of Defense-funded research project to determine the effects of deployment on military families.

Ohana Heroes Project
“The ultimate goal of this project is to better understand the effects of military deployment on family functioning in order to develop and guide support programs for these families,” noted Dr. Charmaine Higa-McMillan, an associate professor of psychology at UH Hilo and principal investigator for the `Ohana Heroes Project at the UH Hilo site. Co-principal investigators in this multisite grant are professors Deborah Beidel at the University of Central Florida and Candice Alfano at the University of Houston.

“Parental deployment creates significant stress for both the deployed parent and the family left behind. Although significant numbers of U.S. combat forces in Iraq and Afghanistan will be returning over the next year, there are still thousands of troops deployed across the globe across all service branches, including each branch’s reserve component and the National Guard,” she added. “Unique to the current conflicts, families of deployed troops face increasing distress as a result of repeated and lengthening deployments.”

In addition to interviews and surveys, the research builds on past research by examining biological markers of stress such as stress hormones and disrupted sleep patterns as well as examining whether the non-deployed parent’s distress impacts the child’s psychosocial and academic functioning. Also unique to this study is the use of civilian families and non-deployed military families as control groups.

The `Ohana Heroes Project is looking for all types of families on Hawaiʻi Island and O`ahu with at least one child. Families will complete interviews with study staff and hard copy surveys. Non-invasive physical measures of stress (salivary cortisol and movement watches) will also be obtained over the course of one week. Estimated time to complete the project is four to five hours. Compensation for participation is $100 cash.

For more information, visit http://ohanaheroes.com/, email contact@ohanaheroes.com, or call (808) 933-3861 (Hawaiʻi Island) or (808) 365-4624 (O`ahu).

 

DLNR Presence Planned Over Labor Day Weekend

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is reminding the public it will be enforcing all state rules this Labor Day weekend in state harbors, parks, beaches and marine waters in the interest of public safety and to protect natural and cultural resources.

In addition, officers will be conducting both land and waterborne enforcement operations at Heeia Small Boat Harbor and Ahu O Laka in Kaneohe Bay. As part of their normal duties, officers will be boarding vessels on a random basis to verify current registration and compliance with carriage requirements and all state rules. Vessels going out more than one mile from shore must be equipped with an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or VHF radio, and any child under age 13 MUST wear a properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD while the vessel is underway or anchored offshore. These laws are designed to protect all ocean users. Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation staff will be present at Heeia Small Boat Harbor over the weekend, monitoring the launch ramp and parking lot areas.

Sandbar Party

Officers will also be addressing activities that could affect public health and safety at the Kaneohe Bay Sandbar. The new safety zone state boating rule enacted last year prohibits the possession, use or consumption of alcohol; loud, abusive or disorderly conduct; and the presence of persons under the influence of alcohol, narcotics or non-prescription drugs in an area designated as the Ahu o Laka safety zone (also known as the Kaneohe Sandbar) in Kaneohe Bay.

Violators may be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 or less than $50 for each violation, in addition to administrative fines, fees, costs and damages. Persons cited will be processed administratively at a public meeting before the Land Board. Persons wishing to contest the infraction(s) may request a contested case hearing.

Here are some helpful reminders to encourage compliance with rules for public health and safety and to protect natural and cultural resources:

FOR BOATERS:
Holiday weekends mean more boats, as well as fishers, divers, paddlers and surfers in nearshore waters. For safety, have someone act as a lookout for diver and dive flags, other vessels, obstructions in the water and other hazards to navigation.

All boats, personal water craft and kayaks are required by federal and state laws to be equipped with approved operational safety equipment. Rules and regulations established by DLNR and the U.S. Coast Guard also prohibit vessel overloading, and boating under the influence of intoxicants.

Boats should have a designated non-drinking driver because the effects of alcohol are greatly amplified by the sun and dehydration. Boating under the influence is prohibited under state law.
Every boat owner should inspect their vessel to make sure it is in good working condition and prevent problems while on the water,

Take a boating safety course. It can save your life. For more information go to http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dobor/

FOR DIVERS AND FISHERS:
Divers are required by law (HAR 13-245-9) to use a diver’s flag when diving or swimming underwater in navigable waters and may surface no more than 100 feet from their dive flag (50 feet in a navigable stream).

A 12-inch square dive flag may be attached to a float or mounted on the highest point of a vessel up to 16 feet in length and visible from all directions. Vessels over 16 feet must display a 20”x24” flag along with a blue and white alpha flag mounted at the highest point of the vessel and visible from all directions.

Vessels are prohibited from approaching within 100 feet of a displayed diver’s flag (50 feet in a navigable stream) unless conducting SCUBA, snorkeling, or free-diving activities. These vessels may approach within the restricted area at a speed of slow-no-wake. Violations of HAR13-245-9 are subject to imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

AT THE BEACH AND PARKS:
Park rules are designed to help users have an enjoyable visit while protecting the cultural and natural resources. Always observe and adhere to posted signs in the parks. In addition, you can help us by observing the following rules.
Where not prohibited, build fires in the fireplaces and grills provided. Portable stoves or warming devices may be used in designated camping and picnicking areas unless otherwise prohibited. Dump live coals only in designated ash pits or receptacles. Do not dump hot coals on the beach or bury in sand. They keep their heat a very long time and can badly burn anyone that might accidentally step into the coals.

GENERATORS: Operation or use of any portable electric generator is prohibited, except with a special use permit.
Pets and other animals are prohibited wherever posted, and are not allowed in restaurants, pavilions, swimming areas, campgrounds, lodges, or on beaches, and at Kaena Point State Park. Where permitted, pets are to be crated, caged, on a 6-foot or shorter leash or otherwise under physical restrictive control at all times. Please clean up after your pet. For more information, go to www.hawaiistateparks.org

 

New Volcano House History Walk Offered

Park rangers at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are interpreting the history of the famous Volcano House, one step at a time. A new, one-hour, ranger-guided walk takes visitors on a fun, anecdote-filled journey through the various incarnations of the Volcano House, which “officially” began in 1846 as a grass house on the rim of Kīlauea Caldera.

New & Old. Park Ranger Travis Delimont stands outside the 1877 Volcano House (now the Volcano Art Center), which was relocated to this location in 1921 as part of a major renovation of the Victorian-inspired Volcano House. NPS Photo Art by Jay Robinson.

New & Old. Park Ranger Travis Delimont stands outside the 1877 Volcano House (now the Volcano Art Center), which was relocated to this location in 1921 as part of a major renovation of the Victorian-inspired Volcano House. NPS Photo Art by Jay Robinson.

Visitors can participate in the new trek starting Fri., Sept. 6, during a public open house of the iconic hotel, which celebrates the grand opening of the property following a multi-million dollar renovation. Dubbed the “History of Volcano House,” the guided walk will be offered at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. The walk and open house are free, but park entrance fees apply.

Park Ranger Travis Delimont, who developed the program as a way for visitors to understand and appreciate the fascinating past – and present – of the hotel, includes a stop at a hālau near the Kahua Hula – similar to the 1846 structure. Then it’s a short walk to the 1877 Volcano House that today serves as the Volcano Art Center. Along the way, visitors learn about the colorful characters and stories that punctuate the history of this historic hotel.  The program ends at the “new” 1941 Volcano House, where guests can once again spend the night on one of the world’s most active volcanoes, dine with views of erupting Halema‘uma‘u Crater, and enjoy a hot beverage in front of its famous fireplace, or outdoors on newly constructed crater-view decks.

“The Volcano House hotel has always captivated people. Its rich and eclectic history has contributed to the personality of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park today. There are many interesting stories and characters along the way, and we want to share them with everyone,” said Park Ranger Travis Delimont.

Can’t make the festivities next Friday? This walk is offered at various times throughout the week. Check the bulletin board outside Kīlauea Visitor Center after 9 a.m. for daily hikes and programs.

The 33-room hotel is owned by the National Park Service, and is managed under contract by Hawaii Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC.

“Write On” Workshop for Young Writers – New Weekly Program Launches Sept. 3

“Write On,” a weekly creative writing workshop for young writers age 13-18, begins Tuesday, September 3.  Presented by Waimea Artists’ Guild in partnership with Kanu o ka ‘Āina Learning ‘Ohana (KALO) and led by island writer Elizabeth Cahill, the group will meet on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 5 p.m., at Kanu o ka ‘Āina New Century Public Charter School.

Instructor Eliza Cahill, courtesy Waimea Artists Guild

Instructor Eliza Cahill, courtesy Waimea Artists Guild

Continuing the WAG ‘Ohana in the Arts series, Write On is an opportunity for youth to develop their unique individual voice, as well as work together in a group setting.  The workshop is designed to help young writers:

  • Listen to and express their personal voice through poetry, memoir and fiction
  • Explore different writing styles and develop writing techniques
  • Experience different authors and poets
  • Have an opportunity to share their work among peers
  • Be encouraged to start writing daily, with personalized writing exercises as homework
  • Work as a group to free their creative potential and find their own voice and style
  • Express their emotions in their writing and to share in a safe environment
  • As a group, learn how to give and receive constructive criticism
  • Learn how to self-edit and do rewrites at a professional level
  • Work on and submit a writing piece to publication

Write On meets Tuesdays, September 3-October 1 from 3:30-5 p.m.  Suggested donation of $20 will help cover cost of materials.   Space is limited, so please register by calling The Pantry, 887-2289.  To reach the Kanu o ka ‘Āina campus, turn onto Kamamalu Street at the “Taco Tako/Waimea Brewhaus” intersection; pass the Police Station on your right; stay on this road through a sharp left bend and look for the campus on your right.

Waimea Artists’ Guild is an association of professional artists whose intent is to produce art and promote education in their community—as part of The Pantry, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which also includes the Friday Night Crew youth group and Mama’s House Thrift Store. For additional information, please call The Pantry office at (808) 887-2289.

Damien Memorial Fudges Grant Application, Swindles $1.5 Million from State

What do you do when your umbrella organization files for bankruptcy (to avoid costly sex abuse civil trials); ten of your former teachers are exposed as perpetrators; and at least 15 former students come forward to say they were sexually abused by your teachers and brothers?

Swindle the state of Hawaii out of $1.5 million, of course.

Damien Memorial School, Honolulu’s hotbed of alleged child sex crimes, has just been granted $1.5 million in state (read: taxpayer) money for capital improvements. The problem? Damien fudged on the application, dramatically and untruthfully understating the legal mess they are facing because of child sex abuse and cover-up.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child's safety.

Damien Memorial: We will be just as conscientious with taxpayer dollars as we were with your child’s safety.

From page 11 of the application, dated January 2013:

Litigation

The applicant shall disclose any pending litigation to which they are a party,

including the disclosure of any outstanding judgment. If applicable, please

explain.

Three lawsuits are pending against Damien and the Roman Catholic Church in

Hawaii for which Damien has denied all allegations and is represented by

counsel for the Diocese. No judgments have been entered.

There is no mention of the 15 legal claims that were pending against the school at the time. (the $16.5 million settlement was not announced until May 2013). Nor is there any mention of the fact that victims still have the right sue the school and a civil window granting them the right to do so.

The school could be on the hook for millions in compensation for the kids who were sexually abused by priests and brothers while they were Damien students. But the Christian Brothers of Hawaii have no problem raiding public coffers – money much better used for the public schools in the state.

Damien officials KNEW that were knee-deep in legal trouble when they filled out the grant application. But did they disclose? No.

No matter your opinion of Damien, factual omissions on applications for public monies are wrong, immoral and illegal. Besides, if Damien officials are “omitting” facts for money, what else will they “omit” as more victims assert their legal rights?

The grant monies should be rescinded immediately. A criminal investigation, perhaps?

Joelle Casteix

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Get Your Feedbag on for Taste of the Hawaiian Range – Event Illustrates How To Use All the Cuts of Grass-Fed Beef

Come hungry to the island’s mega agriculture festival, Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Time is 6-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 and the 18th annual event sprawls inside and out of the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Tickets are $40 presale and $60 at the door.

Mealani Sign

The menu headlines dry-aged, grass-finished beef—sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that spend their entire life eating grass after being weaned. It is free of antibiotics and hormones. Animal science research shows grass-fed beef is low in fat and calories, contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the richest known sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CIA), which has anti-cancer properties.

Thirty-five Hawai’i chefs are assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. The chef station annually serving Kohala Mountain Oysters, a nickname for local bull’s testicles, is always a Taste curiosity and favorite.

“The primary reason to assign all the beef cuts is for chefs and attendees to get acquainted with them while having fun,” emphasizes Jeri Moniz, event chairperson and rancher. “By utilizing the whole animal, there’s no waste and the value of the animal goes up. This is important for our livestock industry.”

Taste also showcases the efforts of our hard-working farmers, using a bounty of local vegetables, fruits and fungi in the chef’s culinary offerings. Attendees can talk story with local growers, ranchers and producers of value-added food products at gaily decorated booths while enjoying samples. In addition, Taste offers sustainability and agriculture-themed educational displays.

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Grass-Fed Beef Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s guest presenter is Hubert Des Marais, executive chef of The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i. A strong supporter of sourcing “local first,” Chef Des Marais uses two-to-three whole beef carcasses per month at the AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10.

Online ticket links for both Taste and Cooking 101, plus islandwide ticket locations, can be found at www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com. Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 969-8228.

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Mayor Kenoi and Senator Hanohano look on as Dan Akaka Jr. blows the conch opening the 2011 Taste of the Hawaiian Range

Hawai’i residents can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $229 per room on Oct. 4 that includes two tickets for Taste. For details, and to book a stay under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit http://bit.ly/14wUunL or call 1-800-HILTONS.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Jeri Moniz at 808-960-8411 no later than Sept. 4.

Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Agriculture Festival provides a venue for sustainable agricultural education, encouragement and support of locally produced ag products. The premiere ag-tourism event is a partnership between CTAHR, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Association, Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, Kulana Foods, UH-Hilo CAFNRM, County of Hawaii Dept. on Environmental Management and community volunteers. Sponsorship also includes the Hawaii Tourism Authority, the Hawaii County Research and Development, Hawaii Community College Food Service & Culinary Program and KTA SuperStores. The quality and growth of this event are rooted in small business participation, sponsorship and in-kind donations. For more information, visit http://www.TasteOfTheHawaiianRange.com.

 

Hawaii Island Police Searching for Missing 14-Year-Old Kona Girl

9/3/13 UPDATE:  Hawaiʻi Island police have located 14-year-old Kalehua Vea, who was reported missing. She was found in Tuesday afternoon (September 3) unharmed in North Kohala.

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 14-year-old girl who was reported missing.

Kal

Kalehua Vea

Kalehua Vea was last seen at her Kailua-Kona home on August 24. She is described as Tongan, 5-foot-2, 120 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona 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.

Culinary Class for Teens to Begin in Pahoa

Local boy Chef Thomas Aiu, former chef at Parker Ranch Grill and Aloha Luigi, and now owner of restaurant MaukaMakai.me in Pahoa, will lead a class for teenagers to “Create a Signature Dish”.  He will bring his 30-year experience in the culinary circle on the Big Island, Oregon, and Las Vegas to help student create a healthy and tasty dish from local growers to the dining table. Students will go through this creation process from conceptualization, ingredient selection, cost consideration, food presentation, to fine tuning an efficient production process, for the end product to debut at the 15th annual Taste of Hilo on Sunday, October 20, 2013, from 1-3pm.

 Picture: Chef Thoma (on left) receiving a fresh caught Ono for his restaurant


Picture: Chef Thoma (on left) receiving a fresh caught Ono for his restaurant

Class starts Monday, September 16, from 3-5pm, at the Hawaii Youth Business Center in Pahoa, where restaurant MaukaMakai.me is located. It will continue for five Mondays, with an extra “prep Saturday” on October 19, culminating to the big presentation on Sunday’s event, when students will be stationing at Hilo’s Sangha Hall from 9am-4pm.

Cost per student for this class is $50, inclusive of all materials. Any high school students interested in the culinary arts are welcome. Space is limited so sign up early! Questions or to register, please contact Trina Nahm-Mijo at 640-5109.