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.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 19, 2012

Holland America Line's m.s. Rotterdam is the site of a luncheon benefitting Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
on Friday, March 9. Photo from Holland America Line
A BALANCE BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND COST has to be attained in the state building code, according to Rep. Bob Herkes, who is working on the issue in the 2012 state Legislature. He said this morning that there is some strong opposition from his proposal to “blow up the building code” and take it back to an earlier time when construction was more affordable. The opposition is coming from the statewide Fire Council and some civil engineers, he said. “We have to allow affordable homes to be built and to put people to work,” said Herkes. When proposing the building code changes, Herkes said he doesn’t want people living in vans, buses, tents and under tarps when they could be building their own homes – four walls and a room.

Rep. Bob Herkes, with his wife during Volcano's Fourth of July parade,
will run for state Senate. Photo by Julia Neal
THE TOUGHEST FORECLOSURE LAW in the country, which was championed by Rep. Bob Herkes and passed last year, is getting some revisions, said Herkes. About 100 pages of recommendations from a task force are being reviewed at the Legislature before passing amendments to Act 48. He said amendments will “correct some deficiencies we found after it passed.” Herkes said he wants to “make sure that the mediation program will work” between lenders and homeowners who face foreclosure.

REP. BOB HERKES confirmed this morning that he will run for the newly proposed state Senate district. “I think the significance is there is no training needed for me,” said the longtime state member of the House of Representative. Herkes took Sen. Richard Henderson’s place for one year back in the 80s. After working as a member in the state House and knowing most of the members of the Senate, “It won’t take me any time to be effective,” said Herkes, a resident of Volcano. His new Senate district would run from Punalu`u through Pahala and Volcano and into Puna.

A VOG TASK FORCE MEETING will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Pahala Community Center at 5 p.m. The task force was proposed by Rep. Bob Herkes to tackle the problems with air quality events and volcanic emissions in connection with agriculture, human health and the effects of vog on infrastructure, like metal buildings, fencing and vehicles. Herkes said he wants people to come to the meeting and share their experiences with vog so that the state government and Legislature will understand its effects on Ka`u residents and the environment.

New state Senate and House of Representative districts
will be presented at County Council chambers.
NEW STATE REAPPORTIONMENT MAPS for Hawai`i County will be presented at a public hearing on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in County Council chambers in Hilo. A fourth state Senate seat was established by the state Reapportionment Commission after the state Supreme Court ruled that the one-person, one-vote rule be followed after the 2010 census showed a 24.5 percent population growth on the Big Island. 
      Rep. Bob Herkes has announced his candidacy for the new Senate seat. His departure opens up opportunities in the state House of Representatives for candidates to fill seats in House Districts Three and Five, with the boundary between the two districts being west of Punalu`u.

INSTRUCTION TIME IN KA`U SCHOOLS will increase by one hour per day, four days per week, under a tentative agreement reached between the state and the Hawai`i State Teachers Association. Ka`u is in one of the zones targeted by Race to the Top reforms. In order for the state to hold onto federal Race to the Top grant funds, progress must be made on requirements of the program.
      The agreement also calls for 12 additional days of teacher training. Teachers would get compensation in salaries totaling 18 percent.
      The previously proposed contract had competency requirements for teachers that include tying their status to the success of students. Some teachers said this could be unfair to teachers in schools and classrooms where students have many challenges. It also called for pay increases after keeping pay cuts in place for several years. The Hawai`i State Teachers Association leadership had approved the contract and sent it to a vote, but teachers rejected it in a two-to-one vote.
      A vote on the tentative agreement by union members in the zones is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Park rangers practice a short-haul search-and-
rescue by helicopter. Photo from HVNP
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK urges hikers to plan carefully. Officials want to reduce the number of search-and-rescue operations in the park. Last year, there were 21 SARs.
      Emergency Operations coordinator John Broward said that “hikers need to be aware that SAR missions take time, and that launching a helicopter in the dark or in inclement weather is extremely dangerous. If it’s not worth the risk of flying, we have to wait for daylight, or for better weather, or try to get the injured person out on foot. Hikers should be prepared to spend the night, as it’s a very real possibility.
      “Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is an inherently wild place, and not just a walk in the park,” Broward said.
      Information on how to prepare for a backcountry adventure is available at www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/hike_bc.htm and from park rangers.

NA`OHULELUA HISTORICAL CHURCH’S monthly Plant and Seed Exchange takes place today from noon to 3 p.m. The church is 1.7 miles from Hwy 11 on Kama`oa Road.

DONATIONS FOR A RUMMAGE SALE to benefit Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation’s scholarship fund are being accepted this week. The scholarship fund assists any Ka`u student enrolled in any medical training program. Items can be dropped off at Kama`aina Kuts behind Na`alehu Ace Hardware through Saturday. Call Ursula at 896-2624.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK invite the public to experience the nostalgia and aloha of Hawai`i’s old-time boat days, replete with colorful flower lei, graceful hula `auana, and lively Hawaiian music. Their benefit luncheon takes place aboard Holland America Line’s m.s. Rotterdam, docked in Hilo Harbor, on Friday, March 9.
      Tickets are $65 and must be purchased by March 5. Call 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org.