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.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs April 4, 2013

Ka`u Scenic Byways Committee and Ka`u Chamber of Commerce will place informative signs at the overlook on
Hwy 11 in Ocean View. Photo from hawaiiscenicbyways.org
HAWAI`I MAY FACE FEDERAL LEGAL ACTION for not changing streetlights to protect endangered birds, turtles and moths. According to U.S. Department of Justice, wedge-tailed shearwaters are being disoriented by the lights and, as a result, are getting injured and dying.
      Nathan Eagle, of Civil Beat, reports that the state Department of Transportation has used fixtures that reduce light pollution in new projects since 2007. “It would be really expensive to just go and change out everything at one time,” a DOT representative told him.
      See more at civilbeat.com.

Sen. Mazie Hirono is featured in a video from NRDC Action Fund.
U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO demonstrated in the 2012 elections that America’s leaders can run on and win with a clean agenda, according to NRDC Action Fund. “Sen. Hirono highlights how investing in clean energy job creation, protecting our environment and public health and conserving our natural resources is a winning political strategy,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund director. The organization releases Running Clean, its full report and videos of Hirono and other candidates on April 9. These “will be the roadmap for future candidates on how to support these issues because it’s not just good policy, it’s good politics,” Taylor-Miesle said.
      NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council that engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the NRDC faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. 
      A video featuring Hirono is available at nrdcactionfund.org.

Brenda Ford
KA`U’S COUNTY COUNCIL member Brenda Ford is pushing for technology upgrades in the county to bring higher security and millions of dollars in savings through efficiency. According to a story by Nancy Cook Lauer in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, “Ford, in particular, is pushing for asset management software that would pinpoint which of the county’s many facilities needed preventive maintenance before it escalated to costly repairs. She also wants more money for the Department of Environmental Management and the county prosecutor to restore unfunded positions.” The story reports Ford saying, “I think it’s time that we started applying the money very strategically.” 
      Cook Lauer writes that “Ford is willing to dip into the county’s fund balance, the estimated $16 million to $18 million left over from the prior year, to make changes she says will save money in the long run.” Cook Lauer also reports that “the county Information Technology Department is slated to get $1.6 million next year, the same amount as it had this budget year, and that Ford along with Hilo County Council member Dennis Onishi met with various county department managers this week. See more at www.westhawaiitoday.com.
      Public hearings are scheduled by the Council’s Finance Committee regarding each county department’s proposed budget. The hearings will be held April 10, 11 and 12 in Hilo Council Chambers. A County Council public hearing on the budget will be held in Kona at West Hawai`i Civic Center on April 16.
      The entire county budget for 2013-2014 proposed by the mayor would be $370.8 million.

KA`U’S SENATOR RUSSELL RUDERMAN visited federal detainee Roger Christie at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu yesterday. A statement from Ruderman says that he and Hawai`i state Sen. Will Espero met Christie “to discuss his incarceration, health and rights as a United States citizen under the United States Constitution. Mr. Christie has been held now for almost three years without a bail hearing or a trial.”
Senators Russell Ruderman, at right, and Will Espero met with Roger
Christie at the Federal Detention Center in Honolulu yesterday.
      Christie, who has long advocated legalization of marijuana, ran a cannabis ministry in Hilo and held a permit to sell marijuana for health purposes. He was charged by the federal government in June of 2010 along with 12 co-defendants with manufacture and possession with intent to sell marijuana. The other defendants have been released on bail pending trial.
       Ruderman said that he was given permission to visit Christie by the U.S. Attorney’s Office “after weeks of requests and assurances.” Permission was also given to Espero, who chairs the state Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs. Restrictions on the visit included “no media,” said Ruderman and noted that Christie “has not been allowed to meet with media despite requests from National Geographic, Newsweek and Honolulu Civil Beat among many others.”
       Ruderman said he questions the decision to hold Christie without bail, particularly in light of an interview by the Office of Pretrial Services and its release on July 13, 2010 of a report that “recommended that Mr. Christie be released on an unsecured bond of $50,000.”
       Ruderman said, “In the almost three years since that recommendation, all efforts to have Mr. Christie released pending trial or have access to a speedy trial have been denied. Visitations have been severely limited by the FDC including those by his wife, Share Christie, who has not been allowed to see her husband for almost a year. In recent weeks, additional charges have been added, and his trial postponed once again.
       “While the charges against Mr. Christie are federal in nature, holding a defendant without bail, while denying his/her constitutional right to a speedy trial, is virtually unheard of in our state. Even those accused of serious crimes such as large-scale distribution of ice, violent criminals, rapists, and murderers are routinely released on bail pending trial,” stated Ruderman.
       To urge President Obama and the Federal Government to release Christie pending a hearing, Ruderman authored two measures – Senate Concurrent Resolution 75 and Senate Resolution 42. Both measures have been passed by the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs.
Roger and Share Christie. Photo from medicalmarijuana411.com
      Ruderman reported after his visit that Christie “is content with the position he is in because he feels he is doing the right thing and looks forward to proving his innocence in a court of law, saying, ‘Dignity trumps longevity.’”
       Ruderman said he and Espero are concerned about “violation of his Constitutional rights and the implications for all persons facing non-violent federal charges and deemed dangerous by the federal judicial system, such has been the case for Mr. Christie since July 2010.
       “I have known Roger for over 25 years. He is one of the most peaceful persons I know. To anyone who knows him, the claim that he is a danger to the community is absurd.”
      Espero commented, “This visit was very enlightening. I still feel that Mr. Christie should be released pending a trial.”
      Ruderman and Espero said that they thank FDC Warden David Shinn, Asst. Warden Tom Blumm, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Kawahara and Public Defender Thomas Otake for their assistance and for the opportunity to meet with Roger Christie.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAYS COMMITTEE and Ka`u Chamber of Commerce have received a grant for $2,098 for erection of informative signs at the scenic point by mile marker 75 on Hwy 11. A letter from the Hawai`i Tourism Authority says, “We are excited about your project and believe it is the kind of work that can help make a difference in Hawai`i.”
      During this week’s meeting, the Byway Committee circulated appeals to public officials to save the Na`alehu Theater. The only response to date has come from the office of Sen. Russell Ruderman, “expressing support both for the byway and the theater,” say the Byway minutes. The minutes also note that the Ka`u Community Development Plan also incorporates possible Scenic Corridors on Hwy 11 and other Ka`u roadways.
      The next meeting of the Byway Committee is Monday, June 3, 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church Hall, with pupus. The public is invited.

EVENTS CELEBRATING MERRIE MONARCH continue at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. An `ukulele lesson with Patrick Inouye takes place tomorrow from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. `Ukulele are available, or participants can bring their own. Park entrance fees apply.

A rummage sale at Na`alehu School Saturday raises funds for new
playground equipment.
STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT continues Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers meet at Kilauea Visitor Center and cut invasive Kahili ginger along park trails.

NA`ALEHU ELEMENTARY SCHOOL Rummage Sale is Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. to raise funds for a new playground set and student incentives. For more information, call Denise Garcia at 939-2413, ext. 243.