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.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs July 14, 2012

Police officers help firefighters by pulling hose during yesterday's outbreak of a blaze
 between Pahala Transfer Station and Hwy 11. Photo by Julia Neal
FORGIVENESS BETWEEN FAMILIES emerged after a sentencing hearing yesterday. The case involved marijuana, beer and 70-miles-an-hour reckless driving by a 17-year-old on Kama`oa Road. The modified Honda Civic crashed into a utility pole and flipped, killing 12-year-old Gaycen Jara. According to a story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, 21-year-old Kevin R. Galigo was sentenced to one year in prison and five years probation. West Hawai`i Today reporter Chelsea Jensen wrote: “Galigo’s mother, Barbara Galigo, and Jara’s mother, Kekoa, embraced for several minutes outside the courthouse following the hearing. Kekoa said she hopes not only Galigo, but the whole community, will learn from the accident. ‘We were good friends, and I’m so sorry for what happened,’ said Barbara Galigo, who said the two families had been close prior to the accident and forgiveness had since been exchanged. ‘I hope (my son) will come out and go on and be a better person,’” the Chelsea Jensen story reported.
      The crash happened in 2008, and Galigo was indicted this February. His sentence includes yet-to-be-determined restitution, letters of apology to Jara’s family, 200 hours of community service and $860 in fees, the story said. See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

Ka`u Hospital's long-term care facility has received high ratings.
KA`U HOSPITAL IS A FIVE-STAR FACILITY for long-term care services, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The recent ratings are based on health inspections, staffing and quality of care. Ka`u Hospital administrator Merilyn Harris received the accolade, saying, “It’s a great source of pride for the staff that problems such as pressure ulcers, falls and infections, such as methicillin resistant staphaureus - MRSA, which are common in most long-term care facilities, are extremely rare occurrences here.” CMS monitors quality of care through monthly mandatory reporting on a host of indictors of residents’ physical and emotional wellbeing. 
      “The focus on consistently improving quality and patient safety spreads across all departments, and this year’s patient satisfaction surveys bear this out,” said Harris. “Ninety-seven percent of our patients who used the ER were either satisfied or very satisfied with the care they received, and 97 percent would recommend our ER to friends and family. The same high rate of satisfaction has been reported for laboratory, clinic and x-ray services,” reported Harris.
       “Having a staff that really cares is a huge component, and when you add the community support – family members, volunteers and those who raise funds for the hospital – the combination makes for a real success story for a small rural hospital,” said the administrator.
      Improvements for Ka`u Hospital in August will be physical ones thanks to Capital Improvement Funds from the state of Hawai`i, Harris pointed out. The parking lot that has been too dark since the lighting system failed will be safer with new solar lights. A much larger project is renovation of the clinic and outpatient entrances with an ADA compliant wheelchair ramp and automatic doors. “The clinic doors have long been a source of complaint from patients, so this is particularly important,” Harris said. New automatic doors will be installed in the main and ambulance entrances.
      During clinic entrance renovation, patients going to clinic, lab, x-ray or Long’s Pharmacy will enter through the main hospital, she said.

`AINA KOA PONO has gone off the Internet with a message that says: “Coming Soon Aloha! Welcome to `Aina Koa Pono. Thanks for stopping by. We’re working hard on creating a new site with news and updates. Stay Tuned!” The company is reorganizing with new partners, and Hawai`i Electric Co. said in testimony to the state Legislature that it expects `Aina Koa Pono to reapply to the Public Utilities Commission to sell biofuel to the utility. 
      According to the last `Aina Koa Pono plan, the hui wanted to build a refinery along Wood Valley Road and to put thousands of acres into biofuel crops between Wood Valley and Na`alehu. The biofuel would be hauled in tanker trucks up Hwy 11 to the oil-burning power plant near Kona Airport.
      The PUC turned down the proposal, contending that it would have required raising electric rates that are already some of the highest in the country and that the PUC was looking for proposals that would lower electric rates. `Aina Koa Pono is apparently looking at possibly building a smaller test plant of its microwave technology for the mill before considering a full-scale refinery above Pahala. During public meetings in Pahala last year, `Aina Koa Pono said it also was looking to market the biofuel not only for electricity but also for transportation to help relieve Hawai`i’s dependence on fossil fuels.

A 16-YEAR-OLD DRIVER apparently fell asleep, veered off the highway and struck and killed a bicyclist on a tour with overnight stays around the island, including Pahala.  The victim was a 52-year-old marathoner and cyclist from Kailua-Kona identified as Jessie Taylor. The accident happened in North Kona on Akone Pule Hwy near Hawi Thursday afternoon, and no alcohol or drugs are suspected.

Crews battle a fire that broke out near Pahala Transfer Station yesterday. Photo by Julia Neal
A FIRE BURNED INTO THE NIGHT Friday between the highway and the gulch just west of Pahala Transfer Station, shutting down one lane of Hwy 11 and requiring numerous firefighting crews to dampen the flames. The fire started near the transfer station in a gulch where Pahala residents dumped trash for years. Whether the cause was arson or combustion ignited by strong winds is under investigation.

POLICE STATIONS IN PAHALA, NA`ALEHU AND OCEAN VIEW are accepting donations of new and used backpacks from the community July 17 to Aug. 31 to provide to students for fall semester. A statement from the county says: “Once again, the Hawai`i Police Department is proud to participate in a backpack drive to assist less fortunate children in these hard economic times. All police stations around the island will double as drop-off points for those interested in helping children in need.” 
      Backpacks have been identified as the most requested non-food item for charities in Hawai`i. The donated backpacks will be distributed to children at women’s shelters, homeless shelters and transitional housing facilities. This is the fourth consecutive year the Police Department has worked in partnership with HOPE Services Hawai`i (formerly known as the Office for Social Ministry) and From Kids For Kids in the collection and distribution of these items. HOPE Services Hawai`i provides a continuum of homeless and transitional programs from outreach to emergency shelters, including permanent supportive housing placements.
Police Chief Harry Kubojiri
      From Kids For Kids was founded in 2006 by Big Island resident Nani Welch-Keliihoomalu, then 10, who was responsible for distributing backpacks containing books, clothing, art and school supplies. 
      Police Chief Harry Kubojiri offers police stations as drop-off points to make it convenient for anyone who wishes to donate backpacks for the project. “I again ask those of you who have backpacks your child is no longer using to consider donating them to this worthy cause,” Kubojiri said. “In past years your generosity has proven that the aloha spirit is alive and well when it comes to opening our hearts and lending a helping hand.”

Hilo One Photo from NPS
KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s is the site of a 2.5-mile moderately difficult hike tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. Called People and Land of Kahuku, the three-hour hike over rugged terrain focuses on the area’s human history. The gate between miles 70 and 71 on Hwy 11 opens at 9 a.m. 

HILO ONE PERFORMS Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The group includes R. Likeke Teanio on lead guitar and `ukulele, Aaron Agres on electric upright bass and Kahele Miura on electric 12-string rhythm guitar. Five-dollar donations support park programs, and park entrance fees apply.