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About Town | 8-15-14

August 15, 2014 - 6:33am

Shriners invited to lunch

All visiting Shriners are invited to join resident Shriners for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at The Fish Hopper restaurant.

Grant applicants sought

USDA is seeking applications for grants for organizations that help others develop housing, community facilities and economic development projects.

USDA is making nearly $6 million available to qualified organizations under the Rural Community Development Initiative. Recipients must be nonprofit organizations, low-income rural communities or federally recognized tribes. Intermediary organizations are required to provide matching funds at least equal to the grant. The grants do not go directly to business recipients but rather through qualified intermediaries.

The deadline for submitting applications is Nov. 12. Applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development state office. More information about the program and how to apply is available on page 47,427 of the Aug. 13 Federal Register.

Applications due today for agriculture contest

Short appications are due today for the 2015 Mahiai Match-Up – an agricultural business plan contest dedicated to finding farmers to grow food for Hawaii’s market.

Three winning teams will receive an agricultural lease for up to five years of waived rent from Kamehameha Schools and a prize pool totaling $50,000 in start-up money from Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation. Parcels are: 3.7 acres in Keei, South Kona, 9.5 acres in Pahoehoe on the Hamakua Coast and 5 acres in Paalaa on the north shore of Oahu.

For the next six weeks, Kamehameha Schools and Ke Alii Pauahi Foundation will review the applications and select teams to advance. The teams will then have two months to develop and submit their business plans for review.

All experienced farmers, aspiring farmers, entrepreneurs and anyone with innovative ideas are encouraged to apply.

For more information, visit

Observatory to offer live feed during astronomy talk

Support astronomer Michael Connelley will lead Imiloa Astronomy Center’s Maunakea Skies Talk at 7 p.m. today.

This talk will discuss the science done at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility. Weather permitting, the audience will remotely eavesdrop on observations being conducted at the observatory with a live feed directly to the planetarium. Learn what it’s like to use a world-class observatory, how astronomers conduct observations, and watch the data being taken in real time.

Maunakea Skies planetarium presentations are held on the third Friday of each month. Cost is $8 for individual, dual, kupuna and family members; $6 for patron members; free for silver, gold and corporate members.

The nonmember rate is $10. Pre-purchase tickets at the Imiloa front desk or calling 969-9703.

Woodturners meet Saturday

West Hawaii Woodturners, the local chapter of The American Association of Woodturners, is having its regular meeting from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday the PacRim tempering building, 73-4260 Hulikoa Dr.

New members and visitors of any skill level are welcome. Bring a chair and lunch. Contact Jack at 324-6802.

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival named among nation’s favorite food festivals

The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawaii’s oldest food festival, has been chosen by readers of USA Today and 10 Best.

The public has until noon Sept. 1, to vote for their favorite specialty food festival.

Author, editor and food writer Eric Grossman chose the finalists from across the country. He spends his year on the road in search of culinary experiences. The Kona Coffee Cultural Festival is held each November in Kona and explores roughly two centuries of the region’s coffee history. Events include the crowning of Miss Kona Coffee, farm tours and panel discussions on the coffee growing industry.

To vote, or for more information about the contest, visit