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.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013

Hawai`i Legislature's Public Access Room offers training on the lawmaking process Thursday at Pahala Plantation House.

WEST KA`U’S STATE REP. DENNY COFFMAN is resigning. Coffman recently lost his wife after a long illness, and his daughter is currently battling cancer. He plans to move to the mainland to help care for her and his grandchild.
Denny Coffman
      “I am extremely honored to have been elected by the people of Hawai`i Island and to serve three terms in the Legislature,” he said in a statement. “It is with a heavy heart that I made this decision, but as a father and grandfather, I am firmly committed to my family and will be there for my daughters and grandchildren in their time of need. I leave knowing that I have represented the communities of Hawai`i Island and the state to the best of my ability.”
      Coffman was chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection during the 2011 and 2012 sessions. He also currently serves on the Judiciary, Water & Land and Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs committees.
      “Denny served our country and state with great honor and strength of purpose,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “He represented the people of Hawai`i Island well and helped set the state on a viable path to a responsible and economically sustainable energy policy, which will benefit generations to come.”
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HAWAI`I DEMOCRATIC CHAIR DANTE CARPENTER said Coffman “has done a helluva job for West Hawai`i and the state of Hawai`i. We wish him well in tending to his daughter’s physical ailment at this time.”
      According to a story in Civil Beat, Carpenter said talks are underway regarding the process of nominating Coffman’s replacement.
Brenda Ford
      Hawai`i’s Democratic Party has 30 days to submit a list of three names for consideration by the governor, who, according to Hawai`i law, has 60 days from the time of the resignation, Dec. 20, to appoint a replacement.
      Sen. Josh Green said, “Denny stands out in how analytical and nonpolitical he was as a legislator.” Green and other lawmakers pointed out Coffman’s contributions to ethical standards and energy policy, including development of renewable sources such as geothermal.
      See civilbeat.com.
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HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER BRENDA FORD said she does not plan to pursue the seat being vacated by state Rep. Denny Coffman. “I am staying on the council through the end of this term,” Ford said. “That is all that I am planning for at this time. I feel I can best serve my constituents by district and the island by staying on the County Council.
      “I feel a strong sense of duty here. I think I can do more here at this time.”
      Other names being considered, according to Civil Beat, are County Council District 7 member Dru Kanuha, representing portions of South and North Kona; former District 6 Council member Brittany Smart, who sought state Rep. Bob Herkes’ vacated seat in the last election; and Maile David, a candidate for County Council District 6 in the previous two elections.
      See civilbeat.com.
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KA`U HOSPITAL COMMUNITY NEEDS SURVEY is available for area residents to fill out online to help guide the future of health care in the district.
      Survey questions ask where Ka`u residents are receiving health care, from emergency services to cardiology, cancer and other ailments. There are questions about insurance and needs for improvements as well as the satisfaction of Ka`u residents with current services. The short survey can be taken at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX.
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THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAS HELPED 15,318 seniors in Hawai`i save a total of $35,300,393 on their prescription drug costs so far this year, according to U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. “The Affordable Care Act is saving Hawai`i’s seniors real money on their prescription drugs,” Schatz said. “The implementation of the law needs to be improved, but this is good policy that is helping seniors, and we can’t go back to a time when seniors were choosing between food and prescriptions. We need to all work together to make sure the law works and keeps delivering benefits to seniors and people across Hawai`i.”
      The data, released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reveals that beneficiaries have saved an average of $921 each – equivalent to the national cost of approximately four months’ worth of groceries for Americans 71 and older.
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MORE THAN TEN PERCENT ARE UNINSURED. That’s the word on Hawai`i Island population’s health insurance coverage. Statewide, as of the end of last week, 574 residents had signed up for health insurance through the local insurance locator service, Hawai`i Health Connector, said its spokesman Bobby Lambrix.
Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. helps local
residents sign up for health insurance.
      In a press release yesterday, Hawai`i Health Connector’s new manager Tom Matsuda said, “I’m committed to devoting my full attention and energy to continuously improve the Connector. Although the Connector has made major strides forward in comparison to some of the other state marketplaces, we have more room for improvement. The Connector team will continue to focus on ongoing process improvements, and I will be responsible for keeping all of our stakeholders apprised of our progress on a regular basis.” Health Connector representatives said they hope many people will sign up by Dec. 23.
      Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. has received a $125,000 grant to help sign up people locally. Call 928-0101. The organization’s offices are at 96-3126 Puahala St. in Pahala. Email krhcai@yahoo.com. Its website is krhcai.com. Hawai`i Health Connector's website is hawaiihealthconnector.com.
     The Kokua role for KRHCAI is to reach and educate individuals, families and small business owners. The grant also supports providing jobs in the local community and providing impartial information about health insurance plan options.
    “Partnering with Hawai`i Health Connector allows us to work directly with our community to provide critical health coverage information," said Jessie Marques, KRHCAI executive director.

KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is asking constituents to support an increase in the minimum wage. “Millions of people in our communities go to work every single day and still come up short, relying on social programs to support their families. Right now, a family with two children and a parent earning minimum wage lives below the poverty line.
      “For over four years, the federal minimum wage has been frozen at $7.25 an hour, even though the prices of everyday necessities are going up. Congress has the opportunity right now to raise it.
      “Now is the time to raise the minimum wage. It’s the right thing for our hardworking families, and it’s the right thing for our economy.
Tulsi Gabbard
      “There’s just no way that families can survive on $7.25 an hour. As we’ve watched our economy grow, the minimum wage has remained the same.
      “The solution is simple, but despite the clear benefits and overwhelming support by a majority of Americans, opponents in Congress continue to block minimum wage legislation. We can’t stand by and allow this to happen.”
      Gabbard asks interested persons to add their names to the list of people supporting an increase to the minimum wage at increasetheminimumwage.com.

BLAISE DE LIMA, FROM REP. TULSI GABBARD’S OFFICE, meets with Ka`u constituents tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center to hear ideas and concerns and bring them to Gabbard’s attention. For more information, call 808-541-1986.

AFTER SPENDING MORE THAN A DECADE on the mainland teaching `ukulele and guitar at Santa Barbara City College and performing throughout California, Hilo native Carl Ray Villaverde performs music from his new CD Hawaiian Magic this evening at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park program.

Participants weave lauhala bracelets tomorrow.
NPS Photo by Jay Robinson
LAUHALA WEAVING IS THE TOPIC tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the lanai of Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park when members of `Aha Puhala O Puna share the art. Participants weave their very own bracelets from leaves of the hala (pandanus) tree. Lauhala ornaments crafted by the club will be available for sale.

HANA HOU RESTAURANT’S KEIKI CHRISTMAS PARTY is tomorrow from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The annual event includes buffet dinner, lucky number prizes, keiki ID and photos with Santa. Call 929-9717 for more information.

HAWAI`I LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU’S Public Access Room offers free training to help the public follow the 2014 state Legislature Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. The training demystifies the state lawmaking process and demonstrates ways people can participate in the Legislature.

KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE holds its annual dinner and meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12 at Tiki Mama's, near the corner of Aloha and Hwy 11 in Ocean View. Cost is $12 per person for dinner. Entertainment at 5 p.m. will feature live music by The Last Fling Dance Band and magic by Allan Humble. Dinner and voting are at 6 p.m. RSVP to cytodbd@aol.com or 930-4697.