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, May 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs May 29, 2012

Ka`u Hospital will be assisted through federal funding directed to HHSC by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HOSPITAL WILL BENEFIT from federal funding for medical care for the poor. Gov. Neil Abercrombie has directed $6.8 million away from private hospitals to the quasi-state Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. to help pay for its $10.5 million shortfall. The story, by Derrick DePledge, was reported in this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser and quotes state Department of Human Services chief Patricia McManaman, who said that HHSC provides “services across the state to some of our most vulnerable populations.” It manages Ka`u, Hilo, Kona, Hamakua and Kohala medical facilities, and other remote hospitals on Lana`i, in Waimea on Kaua`i and Kula on Maui.
Sen. Josh Green
      In other funding, private hospitals and large nursing homes will likely receive more money through a bill passed by the 2012 Hawai`i Legislature to authorize a provider fee. The new law, which the governor is yet to sign, would qualify the state for millions of dollars in additional Medicaid fees. According to the Star Advertiser story, “private hospitals would pay about $42 million in fees and get $77 million in return. The state would get a seven percent cut — or $2.8 million — in the transaction.”
      Sen. Josh Green, who is running for Senate in communities from Honu`apo to Kona Airport, is urging the governor to sign the bill. The Star Advertiser story credits Green with saying that more federal Medicaid money is necessary for private hospitals since the administration chose to use most of the federal charity care money for HHSC. The Star Advertiser quotes Green: “It is critical for the governor to support both the public and private hospitals, so if he is committed to this change in funding plans, he must let the hospital sustainability bill become law.” Green said in an email, “Any other approach would be irresponsible and wrong.”

Pew Project on National Security, Energy & Climate recommends biofuel
for the military. Photo from Pew
PLANS FOR GROWING BIOFUEL CROPS for military and airline transportation took a hit in Congress last week when the U.S. Senate Armed Service Committee voted 13 to 12 to restrict military use of biofuel. The committee was working on the National Defense Authorization Act 2013, the military budget. The U.S. House of Representatives also dampened enthusiasm for buying biofuel by writing restrictions into its version of the military budget. The result is Congress directing the military to refrain from using biofuel until its cost goes down to equal or less than such fossil fuels as coal, natural gas and oil. 
      The Associated Press headlined its story: The Pentagon’s investment in green energy requires too much green paper for some in Congress. It quoted Sen. John McCain: “In a tough budget climate for the Defense Department, we need every dollar to protect our troops on the battlefield with energy technologies that reduce fuel demand and save lives.” McCain, top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said that “spending $26 per gallon of biofuel is not consistent with that goal. The committee’s action corrects this misplacement of priorities.”
Sen. John McCain
      Last year, the state of Hawai`i’s Public Utilities Commission turned down a proposal from Hawai`i Electric Co. to purchase biofuel that would be produced from crops in Ka`u. The PUC concluded that using biofuel would be too costly, causing electric rates to go up, and unfair to utility customers, even with the expectation that the cost of biofuel would be under the cost of fossil fuel in years to come.
      Biofuel for the growing military presence in Hawai`i and the expanding Pacific Theater was also considered as another use for biofuel crops that could be established on cattle-grazing lands between Pahala and Na`alehu. Test plantings for the kinds of grasses and canes that might work in the Ka`u environment are growing, and `Aina Koa Pono proposes a refinery just off Wood Valley Road.
      Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew Charitable Trust’s Project on National Security, Energy and Climate, supports biofuel for the military: “The Department of Defense is one of the largest institutional energy users in the world, consuming more than 300,000 barrels of oil a day.” She described the action in Congress as a “step backward,” saying, “This will hurt the Department of Defense’s efforts to protect its budget from oil price shocks, diversify its energy mix and ensure security of supply.” See more of the analysis at http://www.pewenvironment.org/campaigns/pew-project-on-national-security-energy-climate/id/8589935509.

Iwao Yonemitsu and Toku Nakano, Ka`u vets of the
442nd, were honored at yesterday's Memorial Day
ceremonies at Kilauea Military Camp.
Photo by Julia Neal
MEMORIAL DAY CEREMONIES honored 442nd veterans yesterday afternoon at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Rep. Jerry Chang gave the keynote speech, praising the “Go for Broke” Japanese American members of the 442nd Regiment during World War II. Honorees Iwao Yonemitsu and Toku Nakano enjoyed special seating near Rep. Bob Herkes. 
      Chang noted the excellent health care and educational opportunities given to veterans in past wars and called for more help for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He said there is a new epidemic in mental health problems and that many vets wind up in the judicial system. Major Darrin Cox, executive officer of the 1st Squadron, 299th Calvary, also spoke. A high school Naval JROTC posted colors, with member Jayko Cheney singing Freedom is Not Free. Patrick Inouye sang Amazing Grace, God Bless America and This Land is Your Land.

KEN CHARON teaches basic drawing techniques on Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants meet at Volcano Art Center Gallery before walking to a scenic location suitable for sketching. Sign up on a first-come, first-served basis that day and bring paper and pencil, or borrow supplies for a donation. The event is free, and park entrance fees apply. For more information, call Emily at 967-7565.

Josh Ortega, top left, with his team.
BOYS VOLLEYBALL COACH Josh Ortega has hauled home the Red Division’s Coach of the Year award to Ka`u High School. Division Player of the Year went to Trojan Donald Garo, Jr. in the BIIF volleyball awards voted by league coaches. Ortega, who was on Ka`u High’s volleyball team and graduated in 2003, is a PTP teacher at the school and moved from assistant to head coach this season. He earned his volleyball coaching stripes with the assistance of former girls volleyball head coach Elijah Navarro and veteran high school and college coach and volleyball camp owner Guy Enriques. 

Fencing of the reserve's central portion is the preferred alternative in the Ka`u Forest
Reserve Draft Management Plan.
KA`U FOREST RESERVE’S Draft Management Plan is the topic at a public meeting this Saturday, June 2 at Na`alehu Community Center. The reserve, located between 2,000 and 7,000 feet in altitude above the villages of Pahala, Na`alehu and Wai`ohinu, has some of the most pristine native Hawaiian forest in all of the Islands. It is managed by the state Department of Forestry & Wildlife.
      The plan would be implemented over a 15-year time frame. To help preserve native species, it includes options for fencing portions of the 61,641 acre Ka`u Forest Reserve mostly in the upper elevations. The plan would provide trails for hunters and hikers.
      Copies of the plan’s Draft EA can be read at Pahala and Na`alehu Public Libraries and online at http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Hawaii/2010s/2012-05-23-DEA-Kau-Forest-Reserve-Management-Plan.pdf.
      Saturday’s meeting takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Food and childcare will be provided. For more information, contact Ron Terry at 969-7090 or rterry@hawaii.rr.com.