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College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management Dean’s List, Spring 2017

The following students in the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo received Dean’s List recognition for the spring 2017 semester:

Bishop Akao, Tiera Arakawa, Joshua Arizumi, Joshua Boranian, Edward Bufil, Pomaika`i Cathcart, Vincent Chang, Gema Cobian Gutierrez, Lexi Dalmacio, Alexandra Doi, Jesse Felts, Brandon Field, Kawaikapuokalani Genovia, Christian Grostick, Clarissa Guerrero, Johnny Jaime, Erin Kurdelmeyer, Jaylin Millan, Kassie-Lynn Miyataki, Kari Olson, Eissas Ouk, Nathan Pallett, Michael Pamatat, Maria Parker, Wesley Piena, Faamanu Puaina, Jacque Raymond, Connor Rhyno, Kaitlyn Rieber, Romance Romero, Salvatore Satullo, Kuupomaikai Stevens, Mark Tanouye, Emma Tiffan, and Jodie Van Cleave.

Senator Inouye, DLNR Host Public Information Meeting on North Kohala Agricultural Water Study

State Senator Lorraine Inouye (Dist. 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) are sponsoring an informational meeting on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Kohala Village Hub –Barn in Hawi for the public to learn more about the North Kohala Agricultural Water Study.

This meeting will allow community members to meet the project team and hear more about the plan for researching and gathering information on agricultural water users, demands, and agricultural water system conditions. Representatives of the DLNR Engineering Division and its consultants, Waimea Water Services, LLC are conducting the study.

Funds for the study were appropriated by the Hawai‘i State Legislature with the support of Sen. Inouye.

For more information, or to request an ASL interpreter, materials in an alternative format, or other auxiliary aid support, please contact admin@oneworldonewater.org five days before the event.

WHO: Sen. Lorraine Inouye, Department of Land and Natural Resources

WHAT: Public Informational Meeting

WHERE: Kohala Village Hub – Barn
55-514 Hawi Road
Hawi, North Kohala

WHEN: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Hawaii Governor Announces Stepped Up Efforts to Prevent Rat Lungworm Disease and Expanded Role of Joint Task Force

Gov. David Y. Ige, together with the Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) and the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced today the state’s plans to place a stronger emphasis on the prevention of rat lungworm disease.

This year, the state confirmed a total of 15 cases of the serious parasitic infection, which is the highest number of cases reported in the state over the last decade.

“We are bringing together local experts from relevant fields to increase public awareness, improve our response activities, and explore ways to control and treat the disease,” said Gov. Ige. “They will work together with the Joint Task Force we established last year to step up prevention efforts beyond Hawai‘i Island, where the first cases were reported.”Dr. Kenton Kramer, Associate Professor of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology with the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine (UH-JABSOM), who is serving as Joint Task Force chair said, “The Joint Task Force to combat rat lungworm disease will reconvene in August. Experts from the medical, scientific, environmental, and public health communities will collaborate to develop guidelines for schools, farms, food establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and treat rat lungworm disease.”

The Joint Task Force, established in May 2016, consists of members from UH-JABSOM, Pacific Biosciences Research Center; The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo; HDOA’s Plant Industry and Quality Assurance Divisions; USDA Agriculture Research Service; Kaiser Permanente Hawaii; Hilo Medical Center; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Hawaii County; and the DOH’s State Laboratories Division, District Health Offices of Hawaii Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i, Vector Control Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Disease Outbreak Control Division, and Sanitation Branch.

Because of rising concerns over the recent increase in confirmed cases this year, the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislature appropriated $1 million ($500,000 over two years) to the DOH to increase public education and improve control and prevention of rat lungworm disease. The funding will make possible a statewide media campaign in partnership with the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters to build public awareness of ways to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We appreciate the Legislature’s support in allowing the state to accelerate our efforts on this important initiative. The funds will provide much needed resources for our public health communications efforts as well as strengthen our disease investigation and vector control measures for rat lungworm disease.”

In addition to a statewide public awareness campaign, the DOH will work in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Hawai‘i, HDOA, and other agencies to conduct a targeted rat, slug and snail study to identify disease routes and provide data on disease risks from these vectors. A statewide study of this kind has never been conducted in Hawaii before because of limited resources. Findings from the study will guide vector control activities for rat lungworm prevention.

Funding from the Legislature will also support two temporary full-time staff positions to coordinate prevention efforts between county, state, federal, and private sector partners.

Currently, the DOH’s food safety inspectors and vector control staff are collaborating with HDOA to investigate any reports of produce shipments from any farmer or vendor (local or mainland) with an infestation of slugs or snails. If the shipment is traced to a local farm, inspectors work with the farmer to ensure proper pest reduction measures are implemented.

Rat lungworm disease is caused by a parasitic roundworm called Angiostrongylus cantonensis. The parasite can be passed from the feces of infected rodents to snails, slugs and certain other animals, which become intermediate hosts for the parasite. People can become infected when they consume infected raw or undercooked intermediate hosts (slugs, snails, freshwater prawns, frogs, crayfish, and crabs).

Although the rat lungworm parasite has been found in slugs and snails throughout the state, Hawai‘i Island has experienced the majority of the confirmed cases. Some infected people don’t show any symptoms or have mild symptoms. For others, the symptoms can be much more severe and debilitating, and can include headaches, stiffness of the neck, tingling or pain on the skin or in extremities, low-grade fever, nausea, and vomiting.

Sometimes, a temporary paralysis of the face may occur, as well as light sensitivity. This infection can also cause a rare and serious type of meningitis (eosinophilic meningitis).

To prevent the spread of rat lungworm infection, the public is urged to take these important steps:

  • Always practice safe eating habits by inspecting, thoroughly washing, and properly storing raw produce, especially leafy greens, regardless of where it came from, and/or cooking it properly to kill any parasites. Washing raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly under running water before eating not only prevents rat lungworm, but also rinses off other contaminants.
  • Eliminate snails, slugs and rats — all of which are potential vectors for the disease  — both around residential home gardens and agricultural operations of all scales.
  • Prevent the consumption of snails and slugs by covering all containers, from water catchment tanks to drink and food dishes. Supervise young children while playing outdoors to prevent them from putting a slug or snail in their mouths.

Watch todays video here: https://www.facebook.com/GovernorDavidIge/videos/856480491194011/

For more information on preventing rat lungworm disease, go to the DOH website at www.health.hawaii.gov

Tropical Fruit Growers Conference Goes Statewide Sept. 22-29

The 27th Annual Hawaii International Tropical Fruit Conference is September 22-29, starting at the Kaikodo Building in Hilo and then traveling to Kona, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai for mini-conferences.Geared to farmers, educators, orchard managers and proponents of sustainable agriculture, the eight-day event is presented by the statewide Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers (HTFG) and open to the public.

The conference is titled “Facing Challenges” and offers a lineup of visiting researchers and agro experts sharing information and breakout sessions on a variety of topics. They include Ed Stover on “Huanglongbing and the U.S. Citrus Industry: Status and Ongoing Research,” Lindsay Basik on “Durian Cultivation Around the World,” and David Karp on the “History and Genealogy of Citrus.”

HTFG Executive Director Ken Love says Hilo activities include UH, USDA and NASS updates, a report and survey on specialty crops, Q & A with guest speakers, Sunday tour of OK Farms with Brian Lievens, networking and fruit tasting.

Mini-conference activities on the other islands include farm tours and speaker presentations and meetings.

Registration forms and fee schedule are available at www.HTFG.org or by contacting Love at kenlove@hawaiiantel.net or Mark Suiso at suiso@aloha.net. Conference room rates are available through August 9, 2017 at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel using code HH7027. Conference is made possible through funding from the County of Hawaii and Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers

Marking its 28th year, HTFG was incorporated in 1989 to promote tropical fruit grown in Hawaii. It is a statewide association of tropical fruit growers, packers, distributors and hobbyists dedicated to tropical fruit research, education, marketing and promotion; www.HTFG.org.

Nicholas Comerford to Serve as Dean of UH Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

Nicholas Comerford will start his new role as dean of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and director for Research and Cooperative Extension effective September 1, 2017.

Nicholas Comerford

Comerford is currently director of North Florida Research and Education Center, University of Florida, where he also is a professor in the Soil and Water Science Department. He oversees 2,300 acres of infrastructure, along with research and extension programs of faculty representing nine campus departments. In his early career, Comerford was employed as a forest soil specialist by the State of Washington, mapping forested soils in the foothills of Mount Rainier and along the Skagit River Valley.

Comerford’s research expertise is in the area of forest soils, with an emphasis in tropical and subtropical regions. His work concentrated on soil-tree root interactions, the measurement and modeling of soil nutrient bioavailability and general aspects of forest soil management. As an active member of the Soil Science Society of America, he was elected president of the society and served in that capacity in 2010. Comerford was a past board member and chair of the related Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies (ACCESS) Corporation.

Comerford earned his PhD in Silviculture and Forest Influences from the State University of New York and Syracuse University, his master’s degree in Forestry from the University of Maine, and his bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Illinois.

Said UH Mānoa Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Bruno, “We are very excited about Dr. Comerford joining the leadership team at Mānoa. His impressive and varied accomplishments in the field, his expertise in tropical soils science, and his experience working closely with both faculty and the community via vibrant extension programs all add up to a terrific background for the new dean of CTAHR.”

For more information about the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, see https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site.

Eating Macadamia Nuts Can Help Reduce Risk of Coronary Heart Disease Under Certain Circumstances

The Hawaii Congressional Delegation applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of a petition that certifies that eating macadamia nuts can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease under certain circumstances.

The approval of the petition will allow certain macadamia nut products to carry a label that designates them as heart-healthy. After a nearly two-year wait, the Hawaii Congressional Delegation wrote to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on June 26 urging him to expedite review of the petition.

“The FDA ruling will directly benefit Hawaii’s agricultural community,” said Senator Mazie K. Hirono. “Macadamia nuts are one of Hawaii’s most well-known foods, and today’s ruling allows farmers to better market macadamia nut products by educating consumers of their health benefits.”

“This is great news for Hawaii’s macadamia nut producers and our local economy,” said Senator Brian Schatz. “This ruling lifts a cloud of uncertainty off the industry and helps cement the macadamia nut’s place as one of our state’s most valued exports.”

“I am thrilled to see the FDA recognize the health benefits of one of Hawaii’s most famous crops,” said Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01). “This is good news for Hawaii and those of us, like me, who eat Macadamia Nuts on a regular basis.”

“People in Hawaii have long recognized the benefits of macadamia nuts for our overall health and wellbeing,” said Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This decision is an important step to strengthening our local macadamia industry, increasing its potential for growth, and confirming that like other tree nuts, macadamia nuts can offer a great contribution to a healthy diet.”

The petition was submitted by Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc., but will apply to certain macadamia nut products, regardless of manufacturer.

Under the new guidelines, certain macadamia nut products can carry the following statement:

“Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces per day of macadamia nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased intake of saturated fat or calories may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. See nutrition information for fat [and calorie] content.”

Hawaii Coffee Association Hosts Annual Conference and 9th Annual Statewide Cupping Competition

Coffee industry professionals from across the state assembled for the Hawaii Coffee Association’s (HCA) the 22nd Annual Conference and ninth Annual Statewide Cupping Competition Thursday through Saturday at Maui Tropical Plantation. This year, the HCA combined its annual conference with the Maui Coffee Association’s popular Seed to Cup Festival.The cupping competition featured 107 entries in two divisions— Creative and Commercial —hailing from origins located throughout the island chain including Hawaii Island’s Kona, Ka‘u, Hamakua, Hilo and Puna districts; plus Maui, Kauai, Molokai and Oahu.

“When you got to the last cup, we just said, ‘Wow,’ this is exiting!” exclaimed cupper Warren Muller of Walker Coffee Trading of Houston, Texas. “The level of experimentation is such that we’re now seeing coffees that you wouldn’t expect from the Hawaiian Islands,” shared fellow cupper Shawn Hamilton of Java City of Sacramento. Now in its ninth year of the competition, the cuppers agreed, “The quality just keeps getting better and better. It’s very good for Hawaii.”

Workshops covered topics including coffee brewing, cupping, roasting and roaster maintenance, composting, processing for ‘’quality, differentiation and competition;” branding and packaging, specialized fermentation, plus farm management and sensor technology utilizing drones. A fantastic historic timeline of the Hawaiian coffee industry over the past 30-plus years was presented by retiring University of Hawaii’s CTAHR coffee research icon, Skip Bittenbender. Activities included a tour of O’o Farms in Kula.

A healthy schedule of presenters included a diverse assemblage of state and federal researchers and innovators from private industry. Presenters from USDA, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, as well as Synergistic Hawaii Agricultural Council, offered updates and answered questions. TV and radio personality Howard Dicus took the stage to share his witty commentary.

Coffee cupping is a combination of art and science where coffees are evaluated and scored based on subtle characteristics including, flavor, aroma, “mouth-feel,” acidity, sweetness and aftertaste.

Competing in the Creative cupping division, the top-scoring coffee was produced by Olinda Organic Farm with its wet-ferment Red Catuai varietal earning a score of 87.4. The top scoring coffee in the Commercial division was a wet ferment typica variety produced by Miranda’s Farm of Ka‘u; it tallied a score of 84.1.

District honors were awarded to Hamakua’s Papaaloa Joe, Hawaii’s Second Alarm Farm, Kauai Coffee Company, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee LLC, and Oahu’s Hawaii Agricultural Research Center.

HCA’s Cupping Committee Chair David Gridley of Maui commented, “Ninety-four coffees (88%) scored 80 and above. It’s amazing how the coffees keep getting better and better. I congratulate all the coffee farmers of Hawaii for their remarkable efforts.”

Visit hawaiicoffeeassoc.org for a full list of qualifying entries and scores.

The association membership gathered to elect a new board and officers. Officers include President Chris Manfredi of Ka‘u; Vice-President Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, Treasurer Adrian Guillen of Hawaiian Queen Coffee and Secretary Donna Wooley of the Kona Coffee Council.

The new board of directors features broad representation spanning a variety of business disciplines including Big Island Coffee Roasters, Heavenly Hawaiian Farms, Hawaii Coffee Company, Royal Kona Visitors Center, Hawaii Coffee Growers Association, Hula Daddy Kona Coffee, Hawaii Agricultural Research Center, Kauai Coffee Company LLC, Daylight Mind Coffee Co., Maui Coffee Association and UCC-Hawaii.

The Hawaii Coffee Association’s mission is to represent all sectors of the Hawaii coffee industry, including growers, millers, wholesalers, roasters and retailers. The HCA’s primary objective is to increase awareness and consumption of Hawaiian coffees.  A major component of HCA’s work is the continuing education of members and consumers. Its annual conference has continued to grow, gaining international attention.

Learn more about the HCA at www.hawaiicoffeeassoc.org

Learn more about the Hawaii coffee industry at hawaiicoffeeindustry.com

Free Orchid Show This Sunday

The 35th annual Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club (KDOC) show and sale is 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, July 23 at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. The free event offers attendees a complimentary orchid boutonniere corsage—while they last.  This year’s theme, “Orchids in Your Hawaiian Garden,” offers educational displays on how to add beauty and fragrance to your outdoor space, plus a guided tour through the on-site Orchid Grotto. The grotto demonstrates how to beautify a problematic space that can be enjoyed from both inside and out. The anniversary show also offers a historical-themed exhibit, “Orchid Reflections, Past and Present.”

Enjoy an elaborate and colorful display of live blooming cattleya, cymbidium, dendrobium, phalaenopsis, miltonia, vanda and more. Cameras are welcome.

Got growing questions? Veteran members staff a Question and Answer Booth where attendees can get expert advice on caring for orchids. The club boasts long-time members who have been growing orchids at different Kona elevations and in Ocean View.

The event offers an outdoor sale of high-quality orchid species and hybrids grown by club members and select Big Isle commercial growers. Club members will sell home-baked goods and drinks and membership info will be available.

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 Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. Get club updates at www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Public Input Invited on Two Draft Forest Management Plans

The Division of Forestry and Wildlife is seeking public input and comments on two draft forest reserve management plans, one for Pūpūkea Forest Reserve on the island of O‘ahu, and the other for Kula Forest Reserve and the Papa‘anui tract of Kahikinui Forest Reserve on the island of Maui.

These plans are part of a series of site-specific plans to be prepared by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) for individual forest reserves throughout the State.

Generally, management plans include a brief history of the specific forest reserve, a complete record of land transactions and boundary changes over time, a description of natural and cultural resources, as well as an account of infrastructure and intended use(s) of the area.

Plans will serve to: (1) provide information on the natural resources of the reserve; (2) prioritize implementation of management objectives; (3) assist in preparation of regulatory compliance documents required to implement management actions outlined in the plan; (4) support DOFAW efforts to secure funding for plan objectives; and (5) solicit requests for proposals or bids to implement plan objectives.

The management plan approval process includes review by DOFAW branch and administrative staff, partner agency and public consultation, approval by the administrator of DOFAW, and finally, approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Pūpūkea Forest Reserve was established by Governor’s proclamation on May 5, 1910, to conserve and protect the remaining forest and increase local water supply.  Located on the north shore of Oʻahu, the reserve consists of approximately 782 acres of public land.

Vegetation is primarily composed of non-native species, although some native vegetation still exists in the southeast portion of the reserve.

Current management activities include the maintenance of infrastructure for public access and recreation. Hiking, camping, and hunting are allowed in Pūpūkea Forest Reserve.

Kula Forest Reserve was established by Governor’s proclamation on September 11, 1912, with a purpose different from most other forest reserves. The reserve was established with the intent to reforest the area that had been converted to pasture after 20 years of livestock grazing. Establishing forest cover around Polipoli Spring, which at the time was considered the only permanent source of water on the southern end of Haleakalā, was one of the underlying reasons for creating the Kula Forest Reserve.

Kahikinui Forest Reserve was established by Governor’s proclamation on December 22, 1928. The overarching goal at Kahikinui was to improve the vegetative cover in the area to “prevent excessive runoff and make water on the lower lands available for use in the intervening dry periods, where it is almost always at a premium.”

The Forest Reserve System in Hawai‘i encompasses approximately 684,000 acres of conservation land. It was created in 1903 to protect forests and other watershed areas to ensure an ample water supply for the people of Hawai‘i.

“The Forest Reserve System in Hawai‘i contributes to the public’s source of fresh water, provides recreational opportunities, forest products, and a wealth of cultural and natural resources,” said David Smith, Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator. “The management plans provide a historical context and current description of resources within these forest reserves, in addition to providing guidance for future management activities.”

Draft management plans will be posted on the DLNR DOFAW website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/frs/reserves/management-plans/  Please submit written comments by July 31, 2017, to:

Jan Pali, Forestry and Watershed Planner
Jan.N.Pali@hawaii.gov
Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Dept. of Land and Natural Resources
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI  96813

If anyone desires this information in an alternate format, please contact Jan Pali at 808-587-4166.

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle Found in Pearl City Peninsula

Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB) survey crews from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) have detected an infestation of the plant-damaging beetles in small mulch piles on a farm located on Waiawa Road on the Pearl City Peninsula. This is north of the previously known infestation zone which involved mainly military property. Because this is in a residential and agricultural area, HDOA is asking the cooperation of property owners to allow CRB response crews to enter their properties to survey for the beetle, which destroys palm trees and other plants.

The new infestation was found during routine surveillance activities by the CRB team. That particular area was surveyed in April 2017 and a cursory survey on June 19th found a few larvae in a mulch pile. CRB crews were immediately dispatched to the area to conduct a more extensive search. Since then, about 206 larvae and two male adult CRB have been found in three small areas. HDOA entomologists estimate that, given the developmental age of the beetles found, it is likely the eggs were laid in April. Additional barrel traps were deployed to attract CRB in the area and more extensive surveys are already occurring.

CRB crews report that area farmers and residents have generally been cooperative with the surveys so far; but crews request continued access to check their mulch piles and other green waste.

Traps

“We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for residents to allow our crews to survey their yards if we have any hope to control the spread of this serious pest,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “As evidenced in the past, the cooperation of residents is key to the success of eradication and control efforts.”

Due to the new detections, HDOA is expanding the survey areas from the H-1 freeway south to the Pearl Harbor Bike Path and between Lehua Ave. and Leeward Community College.

CRB boring damage

CRB response crews will be clearly identified with HDOA-issued badges and in marked state  vehicles. If residents have any question about survey crews in their area, they should contact the CRB Response Headquarters at 832-0585.

Currently there are 3,079 CRB traps deployed and maintained all over Oahu. The traps, which contain a CRB-attracting pheromone, are designed for early detection of the pest.

The CRB was first detected on Oahu in December 2014 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor – Hickam. So far, CRB has not been detected on other islands.

Adult CRB are dark brown in color and measure 1 ¼ to 2 ½ inches long. CRB larvae are white in color with a brown head and up to three inches long.

CRB Larvae

CRB are capable of killing all palm species and have been found to attack banana, taro, pineapple and sugarcane. The grubs live exclusively in decaying plant material such as green waste, mulch, compost and manure. Residents on the entire island of Oahu are urged not to move any green waste or mulch from any location as CRB do not move long distances on its own, but may be transported by humans. Oahu residents are also asked to inspect their mulch piles periodically for CRB larvae and adults.

Currently, the CRB team involves 27 staff which conducts surveys throughout Oahu. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) and HDOA.

Headquartered at HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch, the team includes personnel from several agencies, including USDA, the U.S. Navy and Air Force, Hawaii National Guard, HISC, Oahu Invasive Species Committee, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the University of Hawaii – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

For more information, go to HDOA’s CRB Information webpage: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/main/crb/

Aloha Green Receives Department of Health’s Notice to Proceed for Growing on Oahu

Aloha Green Holdings Inc. (Aloha Green) received its Notice to Proceed to Acquire and Cultivate Marijuana from the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) for Aloha Green’s second production center on Oahu – a purpose-built cannabis greenhouse the company has been developing with engineers and architects since the application. This is the first structure of its kind in the State of Hawaii for cannabis cultivation, allowing for a 400% increase in current production capability.

Aloha Green is currently leading the industry as the only licensee on Oahu to receive notice from the DOH for both production centers, in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements. Aloha Green was the first Oahu licensee to receive a Notice to Proceed to begin cultivation in Production Center #1 on February 1, 2017. Production Center #1 is a computer controlled, environmentally sealed indoor cultivation nursery with advanced cannabis cultivation equipment. The Aloha Green also has opened the first and only dispensary in the state, though there are no cannabis products currently available for sale.

Aloha Green is now authorized to expand cultivation into Production Center #2, which was designed specifically to provide a stable environment for cannabis cultivation while taking advantage of the natural growing conditions in Hawaii and reducing carbon emissions. The greenhouse’s state-of-the-art opaque roof materials provide for superior natural sunlight diffusion for optimal plant health. It has computer controlled environmental systems, light deprivation, supplemental lighting, fan controls, heating, and cooling.

“By bringing our state-of-the-art greenhouse online, Aloha Green is able to meet current and future patient demand for safe lab-tested cannabis medicine,” states Tai Cheng, Chief Operating Officer of Aloha Green, “Aloha Green hopes to become a world leader in sustainably grown greenhouse cannabis.”

James H.Q. Lee, Chief Executive Officer, adds, “Aloha Green’s goal is to provide value-priced medicine to qualified patients. Greenhouse grown cannabis will use significantly less electricity than indoor grown cannabis. These savings are being passed on to the patients. The cost of living is already high in Hawaii, and the cost of medicine should not force patients to make the hard choice of whether to seek relief from their symptoms.”

Hawaii Farms Count! 2017 Census of Agriculture

The Census of Agriculture is coming in December and to prepare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit Hawaii farm and ranch properties now through the end of June. The agency will conduct an area survey across Hawaii to determine crop acreage and livestock inventories for 2017 to make sure every farm is counted for the Census of Agriculture later this year.

“When farmers and ranchers participate in the area survey in May and June, they provide essential information that helps us determine the prospective production and supply of major commodities in Hawaii for the 2017 crop year,” said Kathy King, Hawaii State Statistician. This year, the area survey is especially important because it will ensure there is coverage of every farm for the Census of Agriculture. King added, “With the information from the area survey in Hawaii, we will have the most accurate and reliable data in the Census of Agriculture, covering key demographics, crop diversity, and value of production.”

For the area survey, agency representatives visit randomly selected tracts of land and interview the operators of any farm or ranch on that land. Growers provide information on their crop acreage, farm demographics, livestock inventory, and value of sales. King emphasized, “Everyone involved in Hawaii agriculture looks forward to the Census of Agriculture data, which provides the complete picture of farming and ranching in our state. With everyone participating in this area survey, we will have top quality data for the Census of Agriculture.”

Farmers can be assured all individual information provided to NASS is confidential and only used for statistical purposes as required by law.  For more information on NASS surveys and reports in Hawaii, please give Kathy King a call at the NASS Pacific Region-Hawaii Field Office at 1-808-522-8080. All reports are available on the NASS website:  http://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications.

Commentary – Dream to Bring Hawaiian Noni to the World in Jeopardy Thanks to DEA Form 452

As 2016 wound down, and 2017 began, the Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative sensed something amazing was just around the corner. They had bulk orders for their all natural, made in Hawai‘i, noni powder from several companies in Japan and on the mainland—with potential clients in China and South Korea. Their consumer products were packaged and ready for sale. Their website was up and getting traffic. Investors continued to write checks.

Then, on April 3rd, everything changed. Don Gleason, CEO of the Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative, received notice that their new encapsulating machine (the one they had ordered back in January to satisfy customer demand for smaller capsules and to replace the aging, temperamental machine currently being used) had been “detained.” Making it impossible, once the current inventory was exhausted, to fulfill any new orders.

Don was not sure what to do. He had spent the past nine days doing everything in his power to get the encapsulating machine from Honolulu to Hilo and now, despite his best efforts, Customs had detained it, without any explanation as to why.

Back on Sunday, March 26th, when the encapsulating machine first arrived in Honolulu, Don received a call from Peter Mainz of Triple B Forwarders. Peter informed Don that the shipment had arrived and gave him the contact information for customs broker Daniel Kim. (Customs brokers are persons who assist businesses with international imports and exports. Whenever you need a middleman to complete a transaction, you know there are way too many regulations for any ordinary businessman to stay on top of.)

On Monday, Don contacted Daniel Kim and gave him all the information requested with regards to the encapsulating machine. Daniel said he would check on the status of the shipment and call back.

The following day, Daniel Kim informed Don that before the new encapsulating machine could be shipped to Hilo, customs needed a copy of DEA Form 452. Don assured Mr. Kim that he would get it taken care of before the end of the day.

Sometimes our optimism gets run over by bureaucratic red tape. Don’s belief that filling out DEA Form 452 would be a simple task was about to meet that fate.

Don tried but was unable to locate DEA Form 452 online, so he picked up the phone and called the DEA office in Virginia, where he spoke with a Mr. John Kronebusch. John had recently given a presentation entitled “Tablet Press & Capsule Filling Machine Transaction Regulations” so if anyone was in a position to help with DEA Form 452 it was John. Unfortunately, Mr. Kronebusch informed Don that DEA Form 452 doesn’t exist.

It seems the new DEA regulations governing the sale of tablet presses and capsule fillers were scheduled to be effective January 30, 2017, but were delayed until March 31, 2017. Compliance with these new DEA regulations was originally June 28, 2017, and has been revised to July 31, 2017.

John did send Don a copy of the regulations (CFR 1310.05(b)(2)) and was as helpful as anyone can be when explaining how to comply with a regulation whose compliance date has yet to arrive. As Don put it, “It’s like getting a ticket today for going 45 on a stretch of road where even though the speed limit remains 45 today, it will be dropped to 35 next month.” Making you in violation of a regulation that has yet to take effect.

While trying to figure out just how to provide the DEA with a form that does not yet exist, Daniel Kim informed Don that a “Notice of Detention” had been filed with the stated reason of “DEA Permit Pending.” The very permit that Don had just been told did not exist—yet.

Don did learn, in a roundabout way, the identity of the local DEA agent in this case: Alex. It seems that before the Notice of Detention was issued Alex had made an unannounced visit to the factory (understandable if you suspect the factory might be doing something illegal). But, since the Hawaii NoniPower facility is only staffed when there are orders to fill, no one was there to let Alex in. So, the DEA agent left a business card with one of the employees at A&A Storage (to get to the Hawaii NoniPower facility, you must pass through A&A Storage).

The business card contained contact information for Kelly Mayne (Investigator, County of Hawai‘i, Office of the Prosecuting Attorney) along with the words “and Alex” written in blue ink.

It took several emails and phone calls before Don finally heard back from Kelly Mayne. It turned out that Kelly merely escorted the DEA agent (the “and Alex” scribbled on Kelly’s business card) to the factory. Kelly had no other involvement in this case and did not offer a way to contact Alex.

Eventually, Alex contacted Daniel Kim informing him that the DEA had seized the encapsulating machine. Daniel relayed this information along with Alex’s contact information to Don. Once again, after leaving several messages, Don finally heard back from someone.

Don got to speak with Alex and explain how the new encapsulating machine was so that smaller capsules could be created for Hawaii NoniPower’s Asian customers. The new machine would also replace the existing machine which was not very reliable. Don offered to pay all expenses to fly Alex back out to Hilo for a tour of the facility as well as send Alex any documentation necessary to demonstrate that Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative is a legitimate business in need of the encapsulating machine that he had detained.

Alex replied, “it is in Customs hands now. Please contact Lisa Young whose name is on the detention notice.” (Bet you can guess what transpired next.)

Don has been calling Lisa’s number for days now, only to hear the message, “not at my desk right now please leave your name and number and I will call you back.”

“I have not received a callback,” Don said. “Our machine has been in Honolulu for almost two months now. Our customer, who wanted smaller capsules, could not wait any longer and has gone and found another supplier.”

So, in a last-ditch effort to stay in business and provide customers with the best noni powder in the world (their dehydration process is patented) they have resorted to selling their noni powder in plastic baggies.

“We had to order baggies and get labels made so we could still deliver product to our customers,” Don explained. “We still have a few bottles of our Sp02 and Foundation products on hand, but once those run out we have no way to make more until our new encapsulating machine arrives. We cannot sell those products in baggies like we do the 100% pure noni powder.” And there is no telling now when—or if—the new encapsulating machine will arrive.

In the meantime, the Hawaii NoniPower Cooperative is reaching out to politicians, the media, and anyone who might be able to help cut through the red tape. They are also hoping people will support them by buying out their current inventory as well as purchasing their baggies of 100% pure noni.

Who would have imagined that a small nutritional supplement provider in Hawai‘i would face extinction due to the actions of a lone DEA agent and a DEA Form that does not exist?

Don Gleason, Hawaii Noni Power (HawaiiNoniPower.com)

K’au Coffee Festival Names Presenter Lineup for Annual Coffee College

Leaders in the specialty coffee industry present a host of educational opportunities for island coffee farmers at the annual Ka‘u Coffee College 9 a.m.-pau Sunday, May 28 at the Pahala Community Center.

“This year’s college offers a number of hands-on workshops.  The first is on how to breed the flat bark beetle to make the insect act as a biological control to fight the coffee berry borer,” explains long-time festival organizer Chris Manfredi. “Second is an introduction to the science of coffee fermentation and we cap it off with a workshop on how to maximize efficiency and quality of your wet mill.”

Courtesy photo from the 2016 Coffee College

The Ka‘u Coffee College has proven to be a place of learning, sharing and networking—and has featured some of the industry’s leading professionals from around the globe. The 2017 program follows in this tradition with the theme, “Boosting Coffee Quality and Profits.”

The Ka‘u Coffee College is part of the ninth annual Ka‘u Coffee Festival through May 28.

The college opens with “Rearing and Releasing Flat Bark Beetles on Your Farm” presented by Andrea Kawabata and Jen Burt with the University of Hawai‘i CTAHR cooperative extension service. Working out of the Kona Research and Extension Center, Kawabata is an associate extension agent who provides outreach to the coffee, tropical fruit and nut industries. She has been coordinating coffee berry borer integrated pest management recommendations to statewide growers and conducts research applicable to farmers.

Also located at Kona’s Extension Center, Burt provides technical support to the Areawide Mitigation and Management for Coffee Berry Borer and Flat Bark Beetle Projects.

Dr. Peter Follett presents “Flat Bark Beetle Predators-Behavior in the Field and Next Generation Breeding Stations.” Follett, a research entomologist with Hilo’s USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, studies integrated pest management, biological controls and postharvest technology in support of Hawai‘i’s tropical fruit and coffee industries.

“Understanding the Science of Fermentation,” by Dr. Shawn Steiman, delves into the science of coffee fermentation and its importance. A coffee scientist, consultant, entrepreneur and author, Steiman’s research has focused on coffee production, entomology, ecology, physiology, biochemistry, organoleptic quality and brewing.

If you’re wet-milling coffee, you won’t want to miss “Getting the Most Out of Your Wet Mill” presented by Diego Botello, which will be followed by a field visit for a hands-on demonstration of wet milling equipment. Botello is with Penagos Hermanos y Compania S.A.S., a leading manufacturer of agricultural processing equipment. Penagos wet mills are used globally—including in Ka‘u.

“This wet mill presentation affords a rare opportunity to meet first-hand with the manufacturer—to achieve the best possible results from their equipment—from an efficiency and quality perspective. Even if you’re not using Penagos equipment this is must-see event if you’re wet-milling coffee,” notes Manfredi.

Admission to the Ka‘u Coffee College is free, though donations are appreciated.

All activities at the Ka‘u Coffee Festival are open to the general public; some require a fee. Find details at www.KauCoffeeFest.com. Call 808-929-9550 or visit www.KauCoffeeFest.com.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival: Founded in coffee traditions hailing to the 1800s—plus the hard work of former sugar plantation workers—Ka‘u coffee burst onto the specialty coffee scene by winning numerous coffee quality awards. These accolades highlight the unique combination of people and place that makes Ka‘u coffee a favorite across the globe. The festival’s mission is to raise awareness of Ka‘u as a world-class, coffee-growing origin.

Ka‘u Coffee Festival vendor and sponsorship opportunities are available. For more information and festival updates, visit kaucoffeefest.com, follow Ka‘u Coffee Festival on Facebook and @kaucoffeefest on Twitter, or call 808-929-9550.

Public Informational Meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease on Molokai

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH), Maui District Health Office, will hold a public informational meeting on rat lungworm disease on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center on Molokaʻi from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The meeting will include an opportunity for the public to ask questions.

A number of public health experts and community partners will be present to share their findings and recommendations on preventing the spread of rat lungworm, including Lorrin W. Pang, M.D., Maui District Health Officer; Sara Routley, Health Educator; Alton Arakaki from the University of Hawai‘i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Harmonee Williams of Sustʻaina-ble Molokaʻi; and Lori Buchanan from the Nature Conversancy of Hawai‘i.

Rat lungworm is a rare disease caused by the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis which is found in rats, slugs and snails. The disease affects the brain and spinal cord and occurs when a person ingests raw or undercooked snails or slugs or unwashed raw produce such as leafy greens. To date, DOH has confirmed 15 cases of the illness in Hawai‘i for 2017, including nine (9) from Hawai‘i Island, four (4) Maui residents and two (2) Maui visitors.

DOH has launched a number of initiatives to address rat lungworm. Together with partner agencies, community meetings have been held across Maui to educate the public on rat lungworm and to share best practices on the prevention of this disease, including the proper care and washing of produce, as well as rodent and slug control. DOH food safety inspectors have also worked with permitted food establishments on hygiene and food preparation, and medical advisories were sent to physicians and hospitals to increase awareness of the disease. DOH is planning future public information efforts to educate residents and visitors about rat lungworm.

The informational meeting on Moloka‘i is also supported by Rosie Davis from Huli Au Ola Area Health Education Center (AHEC); Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa and staff; Luana Alcon from the Maui County Parks & Recreation-Moloka‘i District; Margaret Makekau and DOH staff-Moloka‘i Office; State Senator J. Kalani English; and State Representative Lynn DeCoite.

Please call the AHEC at (808) 646-9037 or the DOH Maui District Health Office at (808) 984-8201 for more information on the meeting.

Learn How to Divide Cattleya Orchids

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club demonstrates how to divide cattleya orchids during the May 10 meeting. Betty Matsuo, one of the club’s original members, will lead the presentation. Open to those interested in orchids, the meeting is 7 p.m. at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. Bring a potluck dish to share. For info, phone 808-328-8375.

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 Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Big Island Chocolate Festival Names Winners

Culinary entries from Maui and the Big Isle were tapped winners at last night’s Big Island Chocolate Festival gala. A sold-out crowd of 600 attendees sprawled inside and out of the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel for the sixth annual fundraiser to benefit four island non-profits.

The event theme “Worth Its Weight in Gold-The History of Chocolate” was depicted at culinary stations and the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai was tapped Best Decorated Booth.

From Left: Big Island Chocolate Festival founder Farsheed Bonakdar presented the professional culinary winners with their plaques: Michelle Yamaguchi of Wailua Estate for Best Bean-to-Bar, Chef Dayne Tanabe of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Savory, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company for Best Plated Dessert and People’s Choice Best Sweet, Chef Eddie Enojardo for Best Bonbon and Chef Alan Heap, Mara Masuda and Albert Asuncion of Huggo’s for People Choice Best Savory. Photos by Kirk Shorte

Creations by chefs, chocolatiers, college and high school culinary students were critiqued on taste, texture, appearance and creativity by a team of celebrity judges at competitions during the two-day festival.

Gala winners were Chef Dayne Tanabe of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Savory, Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company for Best Plated Dessert, Chef Eddie Enojardo of Hilton Waikoloa Village for Best Bonbon and Michelle Yamaguchi of Wailua Estate for Best Bean-to-Bar Chocolate.

People’s Choice Awards went to Chef Alan Heap of Huggo’s for Best Savory and Guittard for Best Sweet. In the farm awards division, Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm earned Best Cacao while J. Bennett of Nine Fine Mynahs took Best Criollo.

Gini Choobua of Likao Kula Farm in Kona earned Best Cacao.

Six high school culinary teams participated in the gala with Kea‘au High School winning first, followed by Waiakea in second and Konawaena in third.

Earning first place in the high school culinary division were students from Kea‘au High School.

Students at Waiakea High School placed second in the high school culinary division.

Taking third place in the high school culinary division was the Konawaena team.

Three students earning culinary scholarships were Hannah Norman and Mina Acosta-Cabamungan of Waiakea and Rhoma Dai of Kea‘au.

From Left: High School scholarship winners included Hannah Norman and Mina Acosta-Cabamungan of Waiakea and Rhoma Dait of Kea’au.

For Friday’s college competition, UH-Maui College took first and second while UH-Palamanui came in third. Due to a mix up in the judging process, the incorrect winners were named during the gala and the judges later made the correction.

The team of judges for the various competitions were Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Company, Chef Alicia Boada of Cacao Barry, Paul Picton of Maverick Chocolate, Chef Elizabeth McDonald of B3 a Beach Bunny Bakery, Chef Ricky DeBoer of The Fairmont, Kea Lani; Chef Yoshikazu Kizu of Ritz Carlton Kapalua, Chef Teresa Shurilla of UH-Maui College, Chefs Connor Butler and Frank Kramm of the Kona Butcher Shop, Chef Krista Garcia of UH-Maui College, Chef Stephane Treand, Nat Bletter, Neal Campbell, Weston Yap, Paul Picton, Farsheed Bonakdar and Chef Bruce Trouyet of Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea.

The real winners of the annual festival are the four beneficiaries: the ACF Kona Kohala Chefs Assn., Kona Dance & Performing Arts, Kona Pacific Public Charter School and Waimea Country School’s Na Keiki Aloha ‘Aina.

Presented by the Kona Cacao Association, the Big Island Chocolate Festival not only heralds Hawai’i’s growing cacao industry, but also the professional and student culinarians who masterfully create foods featuring chocolate.

In addition to last night’s gala, the festival offered a full lineup of chocolate decadence from planting to plating: a Kona cacao farm tour, plus growing and processing seminars and how-to culinary demonstrations by chocolate industry experts.

Visit www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com for updates on next year’s event.

The Big Island Chocolate Festival is presented by the Kona Cacao Association, Inc. The mission and goal of KCA is to promote the cacao industry on the Big Island of Hawai‘i by presenting BICF as an educational and outreach opportunity for local cacao farmers, the hospitality industry and cacao enthusiasts. Mahalo to 2017 event sponsors Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, Guittard Chocolate Company, Prova, Valrohna USA, Cacao Barry, Barry Callebaut, ChoiceMART, Kona Auto Center, Dolphin Journeys, Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory, Hawaii Community Federal Credit Union, Amoretti, Cocoa Outlet, Kona Brewing Company, Young’s Market, Waialua Estate Coffee & Chocolate, XPress Reprographics, The Spoon Shop, Island Asphalt Maintenance, DHX, Island Air, Republica Del Cacao, The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i, Pivotal Shift Consulting Group, Hawaii Coffee Connection and TheWave@92FM.  www.bigislandchocolatefestival.com. #BIChocoFest, #ChocolateGold

Four Meetings on Rat Lungworm Begins Tonight on Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa and the Maui District Health Office jointly announced two community meetings to provide information on safety measures and vector control practices to help prevent Rat Lungworm Disease (Angiostrongyliasis):

  • Haiku Community Center: Monday, April 17, 2017; doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.
  • Hannibal Tavares Community Center (Pukalani): Wednesday, April 26, 2017; Doors open at 5:00 p.m.; session begins at 5:30 p.m.

At these two town hall-type meetings, presentations will be given on the Rat Lungworm parasite, current research and measures for controlling slugs, rats and snails; a demonstration on how to wash and care for vegetables and fruits; a personal story of one person’s experience with Rat Lungworm Disease; and Q&A.

Dr. Lorrin Pang (center, standing) talks with Sara Routley, DOH Health Educator, in a standing-room-only crowd gathered for the Hana community meeting on Rat Lungworm Disease held April 6th. Credit: Dept. of Health / Maui District Health Office.

Presenters include Maui District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang; Dept. of Health staff; and Adam Radford, Manager, Maui Invasive Species Committee. For more information on these meetings, call ph. 984-8201.

Informational sessions also have been scheduled by the UH Manoa Cooperative Extension for Thursday, April 20 at 6:00 p.m. at the Kula Elementary School Cafeteria and on Tuesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. at the Univ. of Hawaii-Maui College Community Service Building.

  • Thursday, April 20, 2017 at Kula Elementary School Cafeteria, Maui at 6:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at the UH – Maui College Community Service Building at 5:30 p.m.

These sessions will target growers, landscapers and gardeners and will focus on managing rat, snail and slug populations, as well as inspection and sanitation measures to minimize the spread of Rat Lungworm parasites. Presenters include Cynthia Nazario-Leary, Kylie Wong, Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, and Dept. of Health staff. For more information on this meeting, call Kylie or Lynn at ph. 244-3242.

Local and State agencies participating in the above joint outreach efforts include the Maui District Health Office including Public Health, Vector Control and Environmental Health; the County of Maui; the Office of Mayor Alan M. Arakawa; the Maui County Emergency Management Agency (formerly Civil Defense); the State Dept. of Agriculture; Maui Invasive Species Committee (MISC); the Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa Cooperative Extension; The Univ. of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR); Univ. of Hawaii-Hilo; the Maui County Farm Bureau; and the Hawaii Farmers Union United.

For general information on Rat Lungworm Disease, visit www.mauiready.org.

University of Hawaii Researcher Awarded $3M to Study Cancer Treatment Potential of Ironweed Plant

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded a five-year $3 million grant to a University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center researcher to study how natural compounds in ironweed plant extract can be used to treat breast and brain cancers.

James Turkson holds ironweed plant extract.

“It would be life changing for cancer patients if ironweed extract could help fight aggressive types of breast and brain cancers. Since the compounds are found in the plant, they are less toxic than traditional forms of treatment such as chemotherapy. This gives cancer patients a better quality of life when developed as drugs,“ said James Turkson, awardee and director of the UH Cancer Center’s Cancer Biology Program. “Glioblastoma is an aggressive brain cancer that currently has no cure. In addition, the types of breast cancers we are targeting are some of the most life-threatening breast cancers with few successful treatments.”

“The vast natural resources of Hawai‘i give our researchers a rare opportunity to make scientific discoveries of unique and significant proportions in treating cancer,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center’s director. “This significant NCI award recognizes the breadth and depth of the natural product research focus of the UH Cancer Center, and highlights the national impact our research in Hawai‘i has in the fight against cancer.”

Turkson, along with collaborators Leng Chee Chang, Dianqing Sun and Supakit Wongwiwatthananukit at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, published a study a year and half ago showing that the natural compounds from the ironweed plant were effective in killing breast cancer and brain tumor cells and blocked the development and growth of these cancers in the laboratory. In recognition of these preliminary findings, the funds were granted to continue and expand the study.

“Our team of researchers at the UH Cancer Center and UH Hilo will now be able to probe deeper into the cancer treatment potential of ironweed. The plant’s extract is currently used in Southeast Asia for smoking cessation because of the affects the compounds have on the brain. Some of our initial findings suggest the plant’s natural compounds interfere with key cancer-causing biological pathways in the cancer cell, thereby shutting down the ability of the cells to grow and multiply,” said Turkson.

Breast and brain cancer in Hawai‘i

  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in Hawai‘i.
  • An average of 125 women die from the disease each year in the state.
  • On average 41 people in Hawai‘i die each year from brain cancer.

*According to the Hawai‘i Tumor Registry

NCI grant: 1R01CA208851

The University of Hawai‘i Cancer Center through its various activities, cancer trial patients and their guests, and other visitors adds more than $54 million to the O‘ahu economy. This is equivalent to supporting 776 jobs. It is one of only 69 research institutions designated by the National Cancer Institute. Affiliated with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the Center is dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, and improved patient care. Learn more at www.uhcancercenter.org. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UHCancerCenter. Follow us on Twitter @UHCancerCenter.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhcancercenter.org/

Kupu Unveils “The ʻŌhiʻa, the Story of Hawaiʻi’s Tree” on Hawaiian Airlines

Starting this month through July, Hawaiian Airlines will air a special short film, “The ʻŌhiʻa, the Story of Hawaiʻi’s Tree,” as part of its Hawaiian Skies domestic in-flight programming. In partnership with Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, USDA Forest Service and Hālau ʻŌhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training program on Hawai‘i Island, the video highlights the cultural and ecological significance of ʻōhiʻa and the impact of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD).

ʻŌhiʻa are the most abundant native tree species throughout the state of Hawaiʻi and hold significant biological, cultural and economic value. (Photo by JB Friday)

“This video project presented an opportunity not only to address a major conservation issue, but also share the important work that is being done by our partners, program participants and the community on Hawai‘i Island,” said John Leong, Kupu CEO. “We need to continue to work together to increase awareness about these types of issues, while empowering the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders who will continue to protect our environment and develop more resilient and sustainable communities in Hawai‘i.”

The short film features scientists, conservationists, kumu hula, dancers and families of Hawai‘i Island’s community, who are bound by their aloha for and commitment to ʻōhiʻa. Each share personal stories about ʻōhiʻa and the vital role this tree plays in the environment, Hawaiian culture and community. Featured speakers include: USDA Forest Service Research Ecologists Christian Giardina and Flint Hughes, and Natural Resource Specialist Kainana Francisco; USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant Pathologist Lisa Keith; Hālau ‘Ōhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training Founder and Trainer Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani; Kupu Interns Ardena Saarinen and Kawehi Lopez, and Program Coordinator Malia Heimuli; and Lahela Camara and her daughter Hāwelelani.

“As a destination carrier, we strive to provide our guests with warm hospitality and unique in-flight offerings,” said Renee Awana, senior manager of product development at Hawaiian Airlines. “As part of that, we also understand the importance of educating visitors about our pristine and fragile island habitat. Together with Kupu, we believe this film will shine a light on an important issue that all travelers should be aware of.”

Five species of ʻōhiʻa are endemic to Hawai‘i, one of which, Metrosideros polymorpha, is the most abundant native species in Hawai‘i, making up 80 percent of native forests. As one of the first plants to colonize an area after a lava flow, ʻōhiʻa trees are instrumental in developing soil and forming new ecosystems. They dominate old soil and most everything in between, providing critical habitats for countless native species throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Not only is ʻōhiʻa considered one of the most ecologically significant plants in Hawai‘i, it is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture through moʻolelo (stories), mele (song), ʻoli (chant) and hula (dance).

“ʻŌhiʻa is as old as the volcanic islands,” said Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa. “When we talk about their significance, we may talk about objects of the culture. But, what we need to begin talking about seriously, is if the ʻōhiʻa were not here, what about our lifeway might change.”

Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD) is a disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis Fimbriata. Since it was discovered in 2014, ROD has wiped out ʻōhiʻa trees across 50,000 acres on Hawai‘i Island, at an average loss of 10 percent per year.

“It’s impossible for me to imagine a Hawaiʻi without ʻōhiʻa,” said Kainana Francisco of the USDA Forest Service. “Losing ʻōhiʻa would have devastating ripple effects on our forest landscapes and watersheds, the health of our islands and our communities, and Hawaiʻi culture and lifeways. So it’s important for everyone, Hawai‘i stewardship agencies and organizations, our communities, and even our visitors to our islands, to continue to work together to prevent the disease from spreading, and protect Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources and unique ecosystems.”

While the disease is currently isolated to Hawai‘i Island, it has the potential to spread to other islands and affect ʻōhiʻa and the health of ecosystems statewide. Simple ways that anyone can prevent the spread of ROD include:

  • Not moving any parts of the ʻōhiʻa plant;
  • Not transporting ʻōhiʻa interisland per the State Department of Agriculture’s quarantine rule preventing ROD from reaching other islands;
  • Avoid wounding or pruning ʻōhiʻa plants, which make them vulnerable to the fungus;
  • Decontaminate gear and tools (including shoes and clothes) before and after entering forests; and
  • Wash tires and undercarriages of vehicles when traveling off-road and to any areas affected by ROD.

For more information about ʻōhiʻa, ROD,and other updates on the work that needs to be done about ROD, visit www.rapidohiadeath.org.

“I prefer not to say Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death,” added Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani. “That’s not what we want. What we want is Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Health. Without them, there is no life in the Hawaiʻi Islands.”