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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 12, 2012

A crew from All Island Fencing sets up fence and tarp along the boundary of the construction site for the new Ka`u Gymnasium & Disaster Shelter. Photo by Julia Neal

PREPARATIONS FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW KA`U GYMNASIUM & DISASTER SHELTER have begun with barrier fencing of the site between the tennis courts next to Ka`u High School and the school cafeteria. The purpose is for safety and to cut down on dust and noise with a black material covering the fencing. The project is being build by Summit Construction with numerous local subcontractors. The gym will have an auxiliary room to protect sensitive people from unhealthy air during vog alerts. The complex is designed to be a regional disaster shelter, and it will be hardened for hurricanes. The project is expected to cost more than $18 million.

The Hawaiian Islands sit between the Eastern and Western Pacific
Garbage Patches. Image from biologicaldiversity.org
THE CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY has filed a petition with the Environmental Protection Agency to designate parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument as a Superfund cleanup site. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates that 52 tons of debris accumulate in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands every year.
      Ocean currents also deposit material from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on the Ka`u Coast, where Hawai`i Wildlife Fund conducts several cleanups each year.
      “Plastic waste harms the environment by suffocating animals and coral reefs, entangling and damaging ocean vehicles, and concentrating harmful pollutants,” the petition states. “The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and surrounding seas are demonstrably harmed as a result of the release of plastic pollution into our environment.”
Monk seal and green sea turtle bask on the Ka`u Coast.
Photo by Donna Masaniai
      The petition says ingestion and entanglement are ways plastic pollution directly harms marine animals. “Marine debris is arguably the largest documented anthropogenic impact to the recovery of the endangered Hawaiian monk seal. From 1982 to 1998, researchers documented 173 entanglements, with pups and juvenile seals more likely to become entangled than older seals.”
      It also refers to plastic pollution as a toxic hazard, referring to a recent analysis of samples of plastic debris collected from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that found high concentrations of PCBs and DDT. “The toxicity of these plastic particles affects not only the initial organism that ingests the plastic, but also the organisms within its food web,” the petition states.
      The petition also calls for determining the source of the pollution and eliminating it. “Abating the flow of land-based plastic debris into the marine environment, combined with a cessation of fishing equipment dumping, would be the most effective remedial strategy,” it says.
      “Because a considerable body of scientific evidence demonstrates the harms suffered by the wildlife and ecosystems around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a result of plastic pollution, the Center believes these areas should be assessed for their suitability for inclusion on the National Priorities List,” the petition concludes.
      See the full petition at biologicaldiversity.org.
      Hawai`i Wildlife Fund’s next Ka`u Coast Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12. For more information contact Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

HAWAI`I STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION has rejected a settlement offer made by the state’s negotiating team. 
      The state’s offer for a 2013-15 contract included:
  • $49 million of new compensation including two percent raises in each year of the contract for all teachers 
  • Restoring the five percent reduction in teacher compensation that was instituted in 2011 
  • Additional support, compensation, and incentives for professional performance 
  • 24 bargaining items, which HSTA had previously agreed to over the 26 prior months of bargaining 
  • An advisory committee, including HSTA representatives, to review the new teacher evaluation system and continued recognition of all teachers’ due process rights.
      “HSTA leaders were unwilling to accept more than $49 million of new compensation for our teachers,” Board of Education member Jim Williams said. “This proposal was $11 million more than what was offered in any previous state proposal. We are disappointed since the offer included more compensation and was also in line with proposals that HSTA leaders have previously approved.”
      HSTA president Wil Okabe said, “There were many points of agreement in the state’s offer. However, rather than continue working on the tough issues together, the state, in an “all or nothing” position, withdrew its proposal, requiring the parties to start once again.” The state proposed to resume negotiations Dec. 19. Okabe said the parties “have tentatively agreed to resume bargaining in early January.”
      See more at hawaii.doe and contractforthefuture.org.

Graph compares Hawai`i's health to national health.
HAWAI`I IS NUMBER TWO THIS YEAR in a ranking of all 50 states’ health data, according to United Health Foundation’s 2012 America’s Health Rankings. Last year, Hawai`i ranked as number three. For 23 years, the report has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings.
      “America’s Health Rankings from United Health Foundation is an incredibly valuable tool for us to clearly understand health trends facing us as a nation and here in Hawai`i,” said Ron Fujimoto, M.D., chief medical officer of United Healthcare’s Community Plan for Hawai`i. “By identifying the key opportunities we face as a state we can pursue innovative approaches to those challenges.”
      This year’s report finds that, like every other state, Hawai`i has both strengths and challenges. Hawai`i’s strengths low prevalence of obesity, low prevalence of smoking
and low rate of preventable hospitalizations. Hawai`i’s challenges are high prevalence of binge drinking, low high school graduation rate and high prevalence of low birth-weight.
      United Healthcare has several programs in place that seek to address the health concerns underscored in this year’s America’s Health Rankings.
      See more at americashealthrankings.org and unitedhealthfoundation.org.

HANA HOU RESTAURANT’S Keiki Christmas Party is today at 5 p.m. in Na`alehu with buffet dinner, lucky number prizes, keiki ID and photos with Santa.

KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards field office in Pahala. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

LEGISLATIVE TRAINING for the public takes place tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Na`alehu School Cafeteria. Suzanne Marinelli, Public Access coordinator for Hawai`i State Legislature’s non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau, teaches how to follow legislation being considered during the 2013 session and how to give input. See more at hawaii.gov/lrb/par.

Olson Trust employees put up lights for Christmas in Pahala celebration
this Friday evening on Kamani Street. Photo by Julia Neal
CHRISTMAS IN PAHALA, WITH MUSIC, is set for Friday at 5:30 p.m. around the Christmas tree at Pahala Plantation Cottages at the corner of Kamani and Ohia Streets. `O Ka`u Kakou provides food and gifts, with many additional donors from the Ka`u community including Olson Trust and contractor Mike Munnerlyn. 

CHRISTMAS IN KA`U, Thy Word Ministries’ annual holiday event, takes place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Hongwanji Hall with a craft fair, live entertainment and free lunch while supplies last. For more information and to sign up for a booth, call Kahu John at 854-7406 or Pastor Bob at 936-9114.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER’S Keiki Christmas Party is Saturday at 11 a.m. The event features food, face painting, storytelling and games including a mac nut toss and a fishing pond with prizes. Each child receives a photo with Santa, a gift and one ticket for a drawing for six bicycles.

TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR Ho, Ho, Ho! Volcano Comedy Show! Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The shows are expected to sell out. Tickets are $12, or $10 for Volcano Art Center members, and can be purchased in person or by calling 967-8222.