About Town 2-25-13


Tsunami debris is symposium focus

A symposium to discuss the effects of tsunami debris resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 will be held in conjunction with the Honolulu Festival from 9:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Hawaii Convention Center, Room 323, Honolulu.

The symposium, “3/11 Tsunami Debris: Japan-U.S. Collaborative Effort,” will bring together experts from Japan and the United States to discuss ocean debris management, how agencies on each side are dealing with the debris and ways for future cooperation. The event is also intended to inform the public about the state’s response and actions, and is free and open to the public.

The Government of Japan has provided funding to the United States through the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration to deal with the tsunami debris. Other than NOAA, symposium participants are expected to include the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, state Department of Health and the U.S. Coast Guard. Representatives of the Japanese government — a former deputy chief cabinet secretary, cabinet counselor for ocean policy and director of the Ministry of Environment’s Office of Marine Environment — will attend. Consul General at Honolulu Toyoei Shigeeda completes the Japanese representation. All sessions will be translated to both English and Japanese and include time for questions.

More information is available at honolulufestival.com/eng/events.php. Symposium information is available through the Japan-America Society of Hawaii at 524-4450.

Breadfruit history, culture app available

The Hooulu ka Ulu project has developed and released “Talking Trees,” a free application for iPhone and Android platforms.

The app offers the opportunity to learn about culture and history through stories of ulu, or breadfruit, with photos, articles and interviews with cultural practitioners. The app also features breadfruit recipes and links to information about cultivation and use of breadfruit and Hawaiian mythology.

The app was developed with support from the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Kukulu Ola-Living Hawaiian Culture Program administered by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. Hooulu ka Ulu is a project of the Hawaii Homegrown Food Network and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

Download the app at breadfruit.info or from the iTunes store.

Federal funds granted for trail improvements

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $12.5 million in grants for 29 projects in 20 states to improve access to America’s national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. The funds are provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Paul S. Sarbanes Transit in Parks program.

The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail will receive $275,000 to improve infrastructure and access to the historic 175-mile trail by installing road, parking and trail signs and trail treatments to improve safety, protect cultural and natural resources, and enhance visitors’ experiences, while honoring Native Hawaiian culture and the environment.

FOLK receives Ironman grant

Friends of the Libraries, Kona has received a $1,000 grant from the Ironman Foundation and World Triathlon Corp. in support of its Friendly Bus to the Library Program.

FOLK provides bus transportation for second-grade students in area schools to visit the library. When they visit, the children’s librarian takes students on a tour, provides a story hour and helps them receive their library cards.

Keaau resident serving on tax advocacy committee

Ralph Boyea of Keaau has been selected to serve on the nationwide Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. The federal advisory committee is charged with providing taxpayer suggestions to improve IRS customer service.

He will join returning members to round out the panel of 77 volunteers for 2013.

Taxpayers can contact Boyea by calling (888) 912-1277 or via improveirs.org. Taxpayers can also send written correspondence to the panel at Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, TA: TAP, Room 1509, 1111 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20224.

Individuals interested in volunteering to serve on the panel for 2014 may submit an application at improveirs.org.