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, November 17, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Nov. 17, 2012

Beginning  Tuesday, citizens can testify from Ka`u during County Council and committee meetings. Sessions will be broadcast live to Ocean View Community Center  through an interactive system.
Photo from ovca.alohabroadband.com
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN NOW PARTICIPATE in County Council and committee meetings without traveling to Hilo, Kona or Waimea. A new County of Hawai`i remote testimony site opens next week at Ocean View Community Center, 92-8924 Leilani Circle.
      Councilmember Brittany Smart said, “It is extremely import for the people to participate in local government. The Ka`u region is underserved by County of Hawai`i services, and this is one small step in the right direction.”
      Council chair Dominic Yagong said, “Smart worked extremely hard to provide her district the opportunity to conveniently participate in government. The Council is pleased to support her vision and leadership."
      All are encouraged to attend these meetings and have their voices heard. The meetings begin at 9 a.m. Committee meeting agendas for Tuesday, Nov. 20 are available at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/lb-council-committee/. The Council agenda for Wednesday, Nov. 21, as well as information on how to submit testimony, can be viewed at http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/lb-council-meeting/. For more information, call Jen Knippling at 961-8536 or edistrict6@co.hawaii.hi.us.

A HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE for Hawai`i is expected to be in motion by Jan. 1 and available to the public by Jan. 1, 2014. Hawa`i was the first of 16 states and Washington, D.C. to announce its plans to proceed to create a health insurance exchange, under what has come to be known as Obamacare.
      The statewide Hawai`i Health Connector submitted a “blueprint” application to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services two weeks ahead of yesterday’s deadline. Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced that “Hawai`i was the first state to declare intent to have a state-based health insurance exchange, and now we are continuing to be a leader by submitting our blueprint ahead of schedule. We are working proactively as a team to ensure that all Hawai`i residents will have access to high-quality health care and insurance coverage in a seamless, efficient and fair system.”
      Hawai`i Health Connector executive director Coral Andrews said, “This marks another significant milestone in the establishment of the health insurance exchange in Hawai`i. Across the nation, states are racing to meet this deadline. We are all working under very strict timelines. For Hawai`i to have successfully completed this blueprint ahead of schedule reflects a high degree of collaboration at all levels.” Andrews, a retired Navy captain, said the exchange will provide the opportunity to sign up for health care online, somewhat like using Tavelocity, a website where travel industry providers are aggregated for easy selection.
Coral Andrews
      As part of the regulations implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, the federal Health & Human Services department is required to complete approval or conditional approval of state-based exchanges no later than January for operation in 2014. 
      A story by Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar explains that, by Jan. 1, 2014, “Individuals, families and small businesses will be able to buy private coverage through an exchange in their state, with most consumers getting government assistance to pay premiums. The exchanges will also help steer low-income, uninsured people into expanded Medicaid programs in many states.”
      The plan is to make sure everyone has health insurance and will pay for as much of it as they can, according to their income. Currently, many of the uninsured, with no preventive care, use expensive emergency rooms for medical care or wind up in hospitals with advanced illnesses that are expensive to treat and difficult to pay for without insurance.
      See more at HawaiiHealthConnector.com.

Dr. Nisha Parikh
SMOKE-FREE LAWS in Hawai`i are significantly reducing stroke and heart attack deaths, according to Dr. Nisha Parikh, a cardiologist at Queen’s Medical Center and assistant professor at University of Hawai`i Medical School. Parikh studies cardiovascular epidemiology and reminds readers that “heart disease and stroke are the number one and number three causes of death among men and women in both the United States and Hawai`i” and that smoking and second-hand smoke are major causes. Writing in Civil Beat, she notes that “Hawai`i celebrates our sixth year of comprehensive smoke-free legislation. Hawai`i was a leader in enacting smoke-free legislation in the United States, in being only the fourteenth state to go smoke-free through a comprehensive law that protects workers and patrons throughout our state from exposure to second-hand smoke.”
      The cardiologist attributes a 30 percent decrease in cardiovascular disease mortality rates in Hawai`i in part “due to our early enactment of smoke-free legislation.” Nationwide, a recent study showed a rapid 15 percent decrease in heart attack hospitalizations and 16 percent decrease in stroke hospitalizations following smoke-free legislation. Smoke-free laws were also quickly followed by a 24 percent decrease in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” she writes. See more at www.civilbeat.com.

SEN. DANIEL INOUYE’S fall and visit to the doctor this past week could have happened to anyone, according to his staff members who are reporting that he is well and up for the job. The fall happened Thursday morning. Inouye missed a vote in the Senate Wednesday night, which brought up concern for his health, but was reportedly attending a high-level meeting at the White House.

Mazie Hirono is front and center as the new senator to represent rural
Hawai`i at the Senate Women Power Workshop this week in Washington,
D.C. Hirono will be sworn in as a U.S. senator on Jan. 2.
Photo from Sen. Barbara Mikulski
U.S. SENATOR-ELECT MAZIE HIRONO, poised to serve all of rural Hawai`i, joined Dean of the Senate women Barbara Mikulski this week for the bipartisan Senate Women Power Workshop for the newly elected women senators. The workshop, said Mikulski, is a forum for Senate women to “discuss everything from how to set up their offices to getting on the power committees that make them effective advocates for their states, using the Senate rules to achieve their objectives and building coalitions to get things done in the Senate.” 

THE JOB OF HAWAI`I COUNTY CLERK may be taken by Stewart Maeda, of the state Department of Human Services, according to KHON News reports that quote incoming County Council chair J Yoshimoto. Maeda would replace Ka`u native Jamae Kawauchi, if the County Council confirms his appointment after its Dec. 3 swearing in ceremony.
      Kawauchi faced tough times as clerk when she fired several employees and shut down the voter registration office for an audit before the primary election. After some polling places opened late on primary election day, she was accused of running the elections division inefficiently. 

KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS hosts its Fall Fling today at Punalu`u Bake Shop until 4 p.m. with music, hula, creative corner, talent contest and arts and crafts sale. 

`OHANA CELEBRATION DAY takes place today at Pahala Plantation House, with exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a concert and lu`au at noon. Kama`aina rate is $50, and keiki are free. Call Kumu `Ola Leina`ala Brown at 961-3118 for more information.
CHRISTMAS IN THE COUNTRY begins today and continues tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Special holiday celebrations include art demonstrations and print and book signings by gallery artists, plus a selection of handcrafted decorations and gifts offered only during the holiday season. Dietrich Varez signs books he has written and illustrated, including Pele and Hi`iaka, as well as his 250-plus Hawaiiana prints, tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The event is also held Friday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park entrance fees apply. For more, visit volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-7565. 

ALSO OPENING AT VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY today is the 13th annual invitational wreath exhibit. Gallery artists, working in a wide variety of media, materials and techniques, present their concepts of “wreath,” from the whimsical to the traditional through Sunday, Jan. 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Park entrance fees apply. For more, visit volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-7565.