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.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs April 14, 2013

Hawai`i's 2013 state Legislature is moving into its final weeks.
HAWAI`I’S 2013 STATE LEGISLATURE is moving into its closing weeks. On April 25 and 26, bills must be in their final forms and made available to members of the Legislature for 48 hours prior to being voted on for passage. Adjournment day is May 2.

Rep. Richard Onishi
A GMO LABELING RESOLUTION introduced by several lawmakers including East Ka`u Rep. Richard Onishi was unanimously approved by the state House of Representatives yesterday. The resolution requests the U.S. Congress to support legislation requiring the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration to come up with a nationwide system for monitoring, labeling and enforcing the labeling of all whole and processed genetically engineered foods. 
      According to the resolution, polls have indicated that ninety percent of Americans favor labeling genetically engineered foods in order to make informed choices about whether or not to purchase or eat these foods. It also says that, as of this year, twenty-five states have introduced legislation to require the labeling of genetically modified or engineered foods.
Russell Kokubun 
      The resolution states that transparency and accuracy regarding the genetic and nutritional composition of food we eat is a right that should be protected by law.
      Testimony from Russell Kokubun, chair of the state Board of Agriculture, said the Department supports this measure. Kokubun said that while, in recent years, there has been a push to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered foods at the state level, “the enormity of such a task is beyond the scope and expertise of the various state agencies and would be better served if done at a national level. Furthermore, a national standard for labeling would provide consistent application across the states, making it easier to monitor and enforce and creating a level playing field for all food producers from farmers to processors.

THE STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES yesterday also approved SB858 with an amendment to add a gender equity section introduced by Rep. Cindy Evans that asks appointing authorities for boards and commissions to strive to achieve the goal of equal gender representation. The bill was originally written to clarify that members of boards and commissions whose reappointment to a second consecutive term has failed to receive the consent of the Senate are prohibited from serving as holdovers. 
Rep. Cindy Evans
      The section on gender equality reads: “The governor or relevant appointing authority, as far as practicable, shall strive for the goal of equal gender representation when appointing members to boards and commissions and shall give priority to achieving the goal of gender equity when appointing members to vacancies, at-large positions, and as alternates.”
      Evans said the amendment is a “policy statement requesting the appointing authority to strive to achieve gender equality; it is not a mandate. While I realize that qualified individuals need to sit on boards and commissions, the glaring discrepancies in the makeup of these boards and commissions need to also be recognized and addressed.”
      “Half of our state’s population is female and working. Yet there exists great disparities on several boards and commissions responsible for overseeing our industries and institutions that play significant roles in Hawai`i.”
      Evans cited examples: University of Hawai`i Board of Regents has 12 male members and three females; Hawai`i Tourism Authority has 10 males and two females; and the Land Use Commission has eight males and one female.
      “We need to be mindful of under representation and strive to correct it where it occurs,” Evans said.

Brenda Ford
IN COUNTY BUDGET DISCUSSIONS regarding mass transit, Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford suggested dedicating money to the agency from an increase in highway taxes. 
      Can we do that?” Ford asked deputy Finance director Deanna Sako. Sako said the county could do that, and gave, as an example, the Department of Public Works considering making a request to increase the fuel tax to increase the pool of funds for highway and road repair around the island.
      Erin Miller, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, reports that, according to Tiffany Kai, Mass Transit Agency acting administrator, it currently costs $5.87 per passenger to run the county public transportation system, and, because of added costs, that number is expected to rise to about $7 per passenger in the fiscal year beginning July 1. Passengers pay $1 per ride, with students, seniors and people with disabilities riding free.
      A County Council public hearing on the budget will be held in Kona at West Hawai`i Civic Center this Tuesday.
      The entire county budget for 2013-2014 proposed by the mayor would be $370.8 million.

Dogs and other pets are not allowed in many areas of Hawai`i Volcanoes
National Park, remind park managers. Photo from NPS
MANAGERS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK remind the public that dogs and other pets are not allowed in many areas of the park for safety reasons and for the protection of threatened and endangered species.
      “During my career in national parks, I have witnessed dogs go over the sides of cliffs chasing birds, and in the past year at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, we have had incidents of dogs off leash in nene areas, and most recently, falling into steam cracks, all while seemingly under control of their owners,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “Pets are like our family, and the best way to protect them is to not expose them to the unnecessary hazards and risks prevalent in a national park,” she said.
      Pets are prohibited in the following areas of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park:
  • All undeveloped areas of the park, including designated wilderness areas; 
  • All trails, including backcountry trails; 
  • All backcountry campgrounds, including Kulanaokuaiki;
  • `Ainahou, Kipuka Nene and all of Hilina Pali Road. 
      Authorized service animals are permitted, but may be prohibited from certain areas if their presence is detrimental to park management programs, such as nene recovery.
      All pets and service dogs in the park must be leashed at all times. Recently, hikers have reported being bitten by dogs off leash on park trails. In 2012, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park law enforcement officers cited, warned and responded to 24 dog incidents in the park.
      Dogs are used by the park to support ungulate control programs and by law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties, in accordance with federal and state laws.

Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger portrays Thomas Jaggar
this Tuesday and every other Tuesday. Photo from NPS
ON TUESDAY, A WALK INTO THE PAST features living history presenter Dick Hershberger, dressed in period costume, bringing back to life Dr. Thomas A. Jaggar, founder of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and a prominent figure in the history of volcanology, the study of volcanoes. 
      The program takes place in the Whitney Vault, a 16’ x 12’ underground laboratory that still has original equipment, and is located under a mound in front of the Volcano House.
      Performances are every other Tuesday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Participants meet at Kilauea Visitor Center.

ARTIST AND HAWAIIAN CULTURAL practitioner Greg West teaches different Hawaiian cultural art techniques and offers insight into the deeper meaning of Hawaiian arts and crafts Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The program is free. Call 967-8222 for more information.