About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs July 12, 2011

The County Office of Research and Development encourages consumers to Think Local First.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE LABOR DISPUTE BETWEEN the state administration and public school teachers will be reviewed by a court, but the focus is on improvements for the next school year, said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “The new school year brings the promise of improvements through President Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, capital improvement projects slated for schools across our islands, the hard work and commitment of our state’s educators and through the shared leadership of the Governor, the Board of Education and Department of Education,” said a release from the governor’s office.
     The Abercrombie Administration came into office needing to cover a state budget deficit of $1.3 billion. Abercrombie called on everyone in Hawai`i to make a shared sacrifice to emerge from these challenging times. For many months, the DOE, BOE, and state bargained with the Hawai`i State Teachers Association negotiators to reach a new two-year agreement for July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013.
     In April, both sides agreed to a temporary five percent wage reduction and an equal share of health care premium costs, reflecting terms agreed to by other public employees. 
     In June, both sides agreed to terms on a final offer that HSTA negotiators would recommend to the HSTA board. This included the five percent wage reduction, equal health care premium costs and other items, such as increased planning time, which reflect tentative agreements that had been made during negotiations through June.
     The HSTA board rejected the entire proposed agreement that its negotiating team had authorized. The teachers were prevented from having the opportunity to vote on the proposed terms, and HSTA did not present a counter-offer. HSTA had earlier rejected the state’s offer of federal mediation, the administration contended.
     Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi sent a letter to DOE teachers, notifying them that the state would be implementing the terms agreed to by HSTA negotiators, referred to as the “last, best, and final offer” beginning on July 1. That letter to employees provided information for teachers so they could prepare for the upcoming school year.
     Abercrombie said he is supportive of teachers, noting that they have sacrificed over the years and, like all public employees, they have faced a lot of criticism. According to the statement, the governor believes teachers should have been given the opportunity to vote on the agreement reached by their negotiators. But since that opportunity was denied, implementation of the agreed terms is the only way forward that puts education above all else in a time when all people of Hawai`i are being asked to contribute their share, the statement said.

The lava lake in Pu`u `O`o crater.
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY has a new link on its website with video of lava rising and subsiding at Pu`u `O`o since May. The Quicktime movie shows a time-lapse sequence taken from a thermal camera on the rim of Pu`u `O`o crater. The movie spans from May 26 to today and shows the rising level of the lava lake in the crater. In the first part of the movie, covering most of June, the level of the lava lake rises primarily due to overflows building the steep levee walls higher. In the last portion of the movie, from about July 1 to today, much of the rise of the lava lake has been due to uplift of the crater floor, carrying the lava lake upward. This uplift has been especially pronounced over the past few days, shown by the final few moments of the movie. 

GAS PRICES rose again over the last week. In Ka`u this morning, regular gas cost $4.06 at Kahuku Country Market in Ocean View, $4.12 at Kahala Gas Station in Ocean View, $4.13 at Ocean View Market, $4.20 at the 76 station in Na`alehu and $4.20 at Ka`u Gas in Pahala.

JAMES GLOVER CONSTRUCTION COMPANY has begun improvements on roads used by visitors to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Parking lots at the visitor center, Jaggar Museum, Volcano House and other sites will be repaved along with roads. One-lane traffic will remain open as the project progresses.

PTA commander Lt. Col. Rolland Niles
Photo courtesy of Big Island Video News
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA AND FACILITIES could be rebuilt and expanded, according to Lt. Col. Rolland Niles, the base commander on the Saddle Road facility. The Army is writing an Environmental Impact Statement to be released in the fall. The Army wants to remove the old Quonset huts used for housing, replacing them with energy-efficient buildings. Its long-term plans include more ammunition storage, a gunnery range for planes and helicopters, and a new sewer system. During a meeting at Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co. this week, he said more training on this island would save the military millions of dollars it spends on sending Hawai`i troops for training on the mainland, according to a report by Stephens Media. The Army wants to spend $29 million on an infantry platoon battle area, which would include a course for soldiers on foot with objectives and targets, a live-fire shoothouse, and a 24-building military operations on urban terrain, or MOUT, site that replicates a village. The existing area is “undersized” and doesn’t meet current training requirements, said Niles, according to the Stephens Media report. Between 10,000 and 20,000 Army, Marine and Hawai`i National Guard troops use Pohakuloa each year. 

This pie is made with local ingredients.
Photo by Julia Neal
THINK LOCAL FIRST is the slogan of a campaign being designed by the Hawai`i County Office of Research and Development to demonstrate to Hawai`i Island consumers how their purchasing choices affect their families and the local community, and to drive consumers to choose to purchase more locally produced products. The intent is to keep more money circulating in the local economy, thereby strengthening our Hawai`i Island economy. Campaign organizers are asking consumers to complete an online survey to gather information the department can use in designing the campaign. The survey can be accessed at surveymonkey.com/s/buylocalconsumersurvey. 

REDISTRICTING OF HAWAI`I COUNTY is the topic at a District 6 Matters meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Cooper Center in Volcano Village. County Council member Brittany Smart and attorney Michael Udovic, from the office of Corporation Counsel, will be on hand to answer questions.