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.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Oct. 18, 2013

With the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park reopened, Ka`u residents and visitors can enjoy the guided
Palm Trail Hike Sunday morning. Photo by David Boyle
“I AM TRULY THANKFUL TO HAVE BEEN ON HAND in our nation’s capital as an agreement was reached,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who traveled to Washington, D.C. to urge Hawai`i’s congressional delegation and his former colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to take action to resolve the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. 
      “Strong fiscal management has been a cornerstone of my administration,” Abercrombie said. “Since taking office, I have made tough choices to improve the state’s financial condition, strategically cutting spending in some areas while investing in others. I am pleased to report that we had a roughly $833 million positive balance in the state budget for the 2013 fiscal year. This strong liquidity, our prudent fiscal management and the overall health of Hawai`i’s economy enabled the state to weather the federal shutdown.
      “Unfortunately, challenges remain, and the current agreement on the federal budget and debt ceiling is only a stopgap measure. We must continue to manage the state’s finances wisely, foster our economy and work together across all levels of government if we are to withstand another fiscal crisis.”
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AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING WILL NOT BE HELD by the Public Utilities Commission regarding the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined in Ka`u from plants harvested and grown in Ka`u to the electric utilities for 20 years. 
      After several rounds of questions and answers by the parties involved in the docket, the utility companies, the Consumer Advocate and the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism had told the commission the docket was ready for a decision from the PUC. “The record in this Docket is sufficient to provide the commission with the requisite information needed for its evaluation of the overall reasonableness,” said Dan Brown, of Hawaiian Electric Company. Jeffrey Ono, of the state Division of Consumer Advocacy, said the department has “no additional information and data to supplement the instant docket record, it has no intention to enter into a stipulation, and that the subject proceeding is ready for decision-making.”
      The County of Hawai`i disagreed and asked that an evidentiary hearing be held if the PUC is still undecided. “We have not been proffered appropriate or adequate responses to our information requests and must seek a means to compel parties to provide that information,” the county stated in its proposed evidentiary hearing schedule.
      Life of the Land took a similar position: “Should the commission decide that the application should be denied immediately through Summary Judgment; that is, the applicant’s argument fails to meet minimal public interest, then that would eliminate the need for an evidentiary hearing,” director Henry Curtis said. “In the absence of such action from the commission, we believe that a hearing is needed.”
      According to the PUC, the utility companies, the Consumer Advocate, and DBEDT stated that an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary and that the County of Hawai`i’s participation in an evidentiary hearing is allowed only “if an evidentiary hearing is held” by the commission.
      In its decision, the PUC emphasized that an evidentiary hearing is subject to the commission’s discretion and said, “The commission finds that the docket record is complete. Thus, an evidentiary hearing is unnecessary and will not be held.”
      The decision, as well as all testimony regarding the case, is available at puc.hawaii.gov.
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Accomplishments at Ka`u Hospital include electronic records, improved
trauma readiness and being named a Top Ten Facility in Hawai`i
for nursing home care. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HOSPITAL WILL be reaching out through a community steering committee over the next three months to assess the health needs of Ka`u. Steering committee members, ranging from the principal of the Pahala schools to the head of Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, owners of local businesses, members of the Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation Board and the editor of The Ka`u Calendar, held their first meeting this week to help design a survey for the Ka`u community. The outreach is required through the federal designation of Ka`u Hospital as a Critical Needs facility. The steering committee will be meeting with community residents to fill out surveys regarding the hospital and the overall health care services provided to the community. The survey will also be online. 
      Presenters at the first meeting noted that Ka`u Hospital has a direct benefit to the Ka`u economy. While the facility employs 61 people, the multiplier impact on spending in the community brings the impact to employment of 82 persons. The operations income is $5.5 million, with a secondary income bringing the total economic benefit to the community of more than $6.6 million.
      Those working on the Community Health Needs Assessment for Ka`u Hospital include hospital staff and representatives from the state Department of Health Office of Primary Care and Rural Health. However, the assessment will come “from the community’s perspective as to health care needs and from analysis of data and information from the public health department, other data sources, survey results and an economic impact study,” according to the presentation by state Primary Care facilitators R. Scott Daniels and Gregg Kishaba.
      Many accomplishments at Ka`u Hospital, some of them not well known to the community, were discussed, including Ka`u becoming the first critical access hospital in the state to attest to “meaningful use” as required by the federal government for maximum reimbursement for costs of converting to electronic records. Ka`u Hospital has also improved readiness for trauma patients to become a Trauma Support Facility by providing on-site training and certification in Trauma Nursing for all RNs and purchasing portable ultrasound equipment. The hospital is the winner of the Performance Management Institute National ED Efficiency Award and is one of U.S. News & World Report’s top ten facilities in Hawai`i for nursing home care. It has earned the Five-Star Rating from CMS Nursing Home Compare website. The expenses of the hospital total approximately $7.98 million a year.
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Climate change will effect every part of the world ocean by 2100,
according to a new study. Map from wikimedia.org
EVERY CORNER OF THE WORLD OCEAN, which covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface, will be touched by climate change by 2100, according to a new study by lead author Camilo Mora, assistant professor at the Department of Geography in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa. The study factors in predictable synergistic changes such as the depletion of dissolved oxygen in seawater and a decline in productivity of ocean ecosystems. 
      Previous analyses have focused mainly on ocean warming and acidification, considerably underestimating the biological and social consequences of climate change.
      “The consequences of these co-occurring changes are massive – everything from species survival, to abundance, to range size, to body size, to species richness, to ecosystem functioning are affected by changes in ocean biogeochemistry,” Mora said.
     According to the study, human ramifications of these changes are likely to be massive and disruptive. Food chains, fishing, and tourism could all be impacted. The study shows that some 470 to 870 million of the world’s poorest people rely on the ocean for food, jobs, and revenues, and live in countries where ocean goods and services could be compromised by multiple ocean biogeochemical changes.
      The study was published in the journal PLOS Biology.
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KA`U HIGH’S GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAM takes on Hawai`i Preparatory Academy at Kamehameha School today at 4 p.m. during BIIF semifinals and finals in Kea`au. 

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION holds its monthly pancake breakfast tomorrow from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Ocean View Community Center. All-you-can-eat pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee/juice for $5. This is the final pancake breakfast this year due to Thanksgiving and keiki holiday events in November and December. To help, call 939-7033.

PALM TRAIL HIKE TAKES PLACE SUNDAY from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit. This relatively easy, guided, 2.6-mile loop crosses scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. For more information, call 985-6011 or see nps.gov/havo.