By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH College of Tropical Agriculture
The recent deaths of horses, mules and cattle on the island believed to be caused by consuming poisonous plants mixed in hay brings attention to the many poisonous plants we have on the island. The most obvious suspect is one of the deadly nightshades, Jimson Weed or Datura stramonium, seen throughout Ho`olehua. It is known by many names, including Stink Weed, Devil’s Apple, Thorn Apple, and Moonflower. This plant resembles the Apple of Peru, Nycandra physalodes, a common weed in Ho`olehua, and one in which animals eat without any negative effects. It has a similar flower and leaf shape, which could cause animals to eat Jimson Weed by mistake.
A member of the tomato family, or Solanaceae, the poisonous nightshades caused edible members of this family, especially tomatoes, to be viewed for generations with apprehension because people thought they were poisonous. Jimson weed or Jamestown Weed has a reputation that goes back centuries. Its scientific name, stramonium, means ‘mad nightshade’ due to its reputation for making people delirious or mad.
Its common name originated from Jamestown, Virginia where, in 1676, the British were sent to crush a rebellion, called the Bacon’s Rebellion. The British made a boiled salad from the Jimson Weed leaves, and were delirious for 11 days. When they came to their senses, they couldn’t remember a thing. Continue reading
Secretary Chu Announces Six Projects to Convert Captured CO2 Emissions from Industrial Sources into Useful Products
$106 Million Recovery Act Investment will Reduce CO2 Emissions and Mitigate Climate Change
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selections of six projects that aim to find ways of converting captured carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from industrial sources into useful products such as fuel, plastics, cement, and fertilizers. Funded with $106 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act -matched with $156 million in private cost-share -today’s selections demonstrate the potential opportunity to use CO2 as an inexpensive raw material that can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions while producing useful by-products that Americans can use.
“These innovative projects convert carbon pollution from a climate threat to an economic resource,” said Secretary Chu. “This is part of our broad commitment to unleash the American innovation machine and build the thriving, clean energy economy of the future.”
Converting captured CO2 into products such as chemicals, carbonates, plastics, fuels, building materials, and other commodities is an important aspect of carbon capture and storage technology. Converting CO2 into other useful forms can help reduce carbon emissions in areas where long-term storage of CO2 is not practical. It is anticipated that large volumes of CO2 will be available as fossil fuel-based power plants and other CO2-emitting industries are equipped with CO2 emissions control technologies to comply with regulatory requirements.
The projects announced today were initially selected for a first phase funding in October 2009 as part of a $1.4 billion effort to capture CO2 from industrial sources for storage or beneficial use. Over the succeeding months, the project teams have performed experiments on innovative concepts and produced preliminary designs for pilot plants to study the feasibility of capturing and using CO2 exhausted from industrial processes. The selected projects now enter a second phase in which researchers design, construct, and operate their innovations at pilot-scale and evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of applying them commercially.
The projects selected to demonstrate the beneficial use of CO2 include:
Phycal, LLC (Highland Heights, Ohio)-Phycal will complete development of an integrated system designed to produce liquid biocrude fuel from microalgae cultivated with captured CO2. The algal biocrude can be blended with other fuels for power generation or processed into a variety of renewable drop-in replacement fuels such as jet fuel and biodiesel. Phycal will design, build, and operate a CO2-to-algae-to-biofuels facility at a nominal thirty acre site in Central O’ahu (near Wahiawa and Kapolei), Hawaii. Hawaii Electric Company will qualify the biocrude for boiler use, and Tesoro will supply CO2 and evaluate fuel products. (DOE Share: $24,243,509) Continue reading
The firing of Shirley Sherrod — and the cowardice of Tom Vilsack
From everything I’ve read, I’m told that the firing of Shirley Sherrod, the once and probably future Agriculture Department official in Georgia, is about race or dishonest journalism or the vagaries of the 24-hour, incessant news cycle. Permit me a dissent. It is mostly about cowardice.
The coward in question is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack who, even though from Iowa, fired Sherrod in a New York minute, and by extension and tradition –“The buck stops here,” remember? – Barack Obama himself. Where do they get off treating anyone so shabbily?
Sherrod was caught on video supposedly telling an NAACP meeting last March that she had not given a certain farmer the service he deserved because he was white. A clip of that speech made the rounds of right wing blogs and media outlets — Fox News, for instance — and in no time Vilsack ordered the woman canned. He moved with what would have been commendable dispatch had he first heard her side of the story, viewed the entire video and asked what its source was. The answers should have stopped him in his tracks.
The full video showed that Sherrod, after repressing some racial antipathy, treated the farmer with dignity and efficiency — and, anyway, the entire event took place more than 20 years ago. Had Vilsack seen the entire video, he would also have learned that Sherrod’s story had a moral: She learned that poverty, not race, is what mattered. Since this is America, it is God who taught her that.
But that full video was not shown by the right wing blogger Andrew Breitbart.
The 2010 Hawaii State Farm Fair, at Bishop Museum this weekend, will feature a celebrity cook-off and the Ag-Tastic Expo.
The cook-off will involve an Island Beef Stir-fry, starting at 12:15 p.m. Saturday. The beef comes courtesy of Michelle Galimba’s Kuahiwi Ranch in Kau, and all other food ingredients will come directly from the fair’s farmers market.
The expo will showcase samples of Hawaii-grown and locally made products from farm bureau members on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai. They include Naked Cow Dairy; Hanalei Taro and Juice Co.; Maui’s Ono, producer of specialty dressings; honey producers from Molokai; Haliimaile Pineapple Co.; Lorie Obra, producer of award-winning Rusty’s Hawaiian coffee; and Will Tabios of Rising Sun coffee, another award winner.
The farm fair features a 4-H livestock exhibit with competition in lamb and beef categories, agriculture displays, the farmers market and exotic tropical plant displays and sales.
Admission is $7, $3 for children ages 4 to 12. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Purchase tickets at the door or beforehand at the museum box office or the Hawaii Farm Bureau office, 2343 Rose St. in Kalihi. Call 848-2074 or visit www.hfbf.org.
BANDIPORE, Kashmir — In this high Himalayan valley on the Indian-controlled side of Kashmir, the latest battle line between India and Pakistan has been drawn.
Laborers who work long hours in Bandipore said the work is not merely a matter of electricity. National pride is at stake, they said.
This time it is not the ground underfoot, which has been disputed since the bloody partition of British India in 1947, but the water hurtling from mountain glaciers to parched farmers’ fields in Pakistan’s agricultural heartland.
Indian workers here are racing to build an expensive hydroelectric dam in a remote valley near here, one of several India plans to build over the next decade to feed its rapidly growing but power-starved economy.
In Pakistan, the project raises fears that India, its archrival and the upriver nation, would have the power to manipulate the water flowing to its agriculture industry — a quarter of its economy and employer of half its population. In May it filed a case with the international arbitration court to stop it.
The sentencing hearing for the owners of Aloun Farms on forced-labor charges will continue in September because brothers Alec and Mike Sou refused to admit to committing acts to which they had pleaded guilty in January.
Alec Souphone Sou, president and general manager of the Ewa farm, is facing 46 to 57 months in prison for conspiring to commit forced labor in connection with the importation of 44 farmworkers from Thailand in 2004, according to federal sentencing guidelines.
Mike Mankone Sou, vice president and operations manager, is facing 41 to 51 months in prison for the same crime.
The sentencing guidelines are based on a number of factors, including the seriousness of the crime and a defendant’s actions and criminal history. Alec Sou has a higher prison range because he has prior DUI convictions.
The guidelines are also advisory, and U.S. Chief Judge Susan Oki Mollway could sentence the brothers to prison terms outside the recommended range. Continue reading
Maui County today announced a settlement today of a dispute over an environmental impact statement for a proposed stream water treatment plant.
Mayor Charmaine Tavares said the county will “revisit” the study.
Maui Tomorrow and Hui o Na Wai `Eha filed a lawsuit in Maui Circuit Court on June 21, challenging the adequacy of the Waiale Treatment Facility’s study.
The two groups also appealed a decision by the state Commission on Water Resource Management to restore only about one-fifth of the total flow from four streams.
A decision on the appeal is expected to take years and could affect plans for the Waiale plant, so the county has decided to take another look at the proposed project, county officials said.
Hui o Na Wai `Eha President John Duey said his group was glad the county agreed to carefully examine the costs and benefits of the treatment facility.
A&B Properties Inc., which developed the study, said the firm will continue to support the county’s effort to find water for residents.
Federal agricultural secretary Thomas Vilsack has designated all four Hawaii counties as agricultural disaster areas because of financial losses from the drought.
The declaration, issued last week, makes farm operators and producers in the counties eligible applicants for supplemental assistance and emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency, Congresswoman Mazie Hirono said today.
Farmers have eight months from the declaration date of July 14 to apply for emergency help.
Island ranchers may apply for the Livestock Indemnity Program for producer losses.