Mayor Kim’s Testimony Urging Passage of Little Fire Ant Bill

Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim submitted the following letter to Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment this afternoon Wednesday, March 7, 2018:

This testimony is in support of HB 2046, HD 1, but first I want to thank you for the time and energy that you and your colleagues have devoted to invasive species in general, and to little fire ants in particular.  A year ago, the Council of Mayors identified invasive species as a top priority that deserved everyone’s attention. Our best efforts at the county level are often inadequate to protect our islands from harmful pests, and limited resources make it imperative that the State, counties, Feds, and private sector work together in pursuing solutions to what often seem intractable problems.  This legislature really stood up last year, and hopefully will do even more this year.

The possible exception (so far) of the parakeet problem, it seems that Hawaii County has suffered a disproportionate share of the damage caused by invasive species, including Rapid ‘Ōhia Death, little fire ants, coqui frogs, coffee berry borer and probably others. However, all our islands, and all our constituents, are at risk. My primary request to you would be “Please don’t give up.” As a county,  we do not have the resources or expertise to fight these devastating invaders on our own. We need as much assistance from the State as you can offer.

Particularly with respect to little fire ants, it sometime seems that we have thrown in the towel. This must not happen—it is a horrific species that causes great pain in humans and has been reported to cause blindness in dogs, cats, pigs and horses. We have to make the effort to fight back, and HB 2046 HD 1 is a foot in the door, in the geographic area that may still be salvageable. Please provide as much funding as you can manage, broaden the initiative if you think it is appropriate, and let’s move forward.

While I would defer to others as to how precious dollars should be allocated, I strongly endorse the investment of funds in combating little fire ants, and therefore urge passage of HB 2046, HD 1.

Respectfully submitted,

Harry Kim, Mayor, County of Hawai‘i

HB 2046 Appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture for outreach and education efforts in West Hawai‘i county regarding the detection and treatment of little fire ants.

KTA Beer Sampling & Customer Appreciation Day

KTA Puainako Store will host “Customer Appreciation Day” on Saturday, March 10.

KTA Super Stores is offering three events this week that are open to the public.

Beer tastings will be held at KTA Keauhou on Thursday, March 8, 2018, between 3 and 6 p.m. and at KTA Kailua-Kona on Friday, March 9, 2018, from 3 to 6 p.m.

Maui Brewing Company will be sampling their handcrafted beers at these locations during that time period. Samplers need to be 21 or older and ID is required.

KTA Super Stores also invites the public to its Customer Appreciation Day at the Puainako Store located at 50 E. Puainako St. on Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be food samples, balloons, games, prizes and more.

Free Concert: Tribute to Kamehameha III

The public is invited to free concert celebrating the 18th Annual Tribute to Kamehameha III, a celebration for Ka Lani Kauikeaouli at the place of his birth, Keauhou.

Help honor the life and legacy of a great lāhui leader who declared “He aupuni palapala—Mine is a kingdom of literacy” and whose support of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi continues to inspire us today.

The free ‘Aha Mele will be on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 3 to 9 p.m. on the Hawai‘i Lawn at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

The concert features Emcees Jaz and Ka‘ea of KAPA Radio; ‘Ekolu Mea Nui, Kainani Kahaunaele, Hammah-Jang and others will perform.

There will be a vendor marketplace showcasing crafts, apparel and local artists.

A free shuttle is available from 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Keauhou Shopping Center. Mats and beach chairs welcomed. No coolers allowed.

Donations to Nā Kālai Wa‘a will be accepted.

Orchid Club Hosts Rat Lungworm Disease Presentation

Rat lungworm disease is carried by slugs and snails. Hawai‘i Department of Health photo.

Prevention and control of Rat Lungworm Disease is the topic of a presentation by Jason Dela Cruz of the Hawai‘i State Department of Health at the Wednesday, March 14, 2018, meeting of the Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC).

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. A potluck starts off the meeting and guests are invited to participate at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall.

“Since a lot of our orchids are outside in the environment, we should be diligent in controlling conditions promoting the spread of the disease,” said Joyce Hancock, KDOC program chair.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization, with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Highway 11 at Mile Marker 114, just north of Kainaliu.

For information, visit online or phone (808) 328-8375.