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, January 31, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Jan. 31, 2014

Kung Hee Fat Choy. Today marks the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Horse. Photo entitled Paniolo Pride by Lorilee Lorenzo
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK RANGERS rescued a lone hiker stranded on Mauna Loa yesterday after a winter snowstorm pummeled the summit and lower elevations with heavy snow and high winds. Jessica Ferracane, Public Affairs Specialist for the park tells the story:
Rescued hiker Alex Sverdlov (middle) stands with his rescuers, park rangers John
Broward (right) and Tyler Paul (left) outside the Visitor Emergency Operations
 Center yesterday. NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane
           On Sunday, Jan. 26, New York resident Alex Sverdlov, 36, began the grueling 18-mile trek from the top of Mauna Loa Road at 6,662 feet toward the summit of Mauna Loa. He reached the 13,677-foot summit on Tuesday after dropping off his heavy gear at a lower elevation. The snowstorm struck on his late-afternoon descent, creating a blinding white-out. Night fell, and after a few futile attempts to locate his pack, Sverdlov decided to hunker down in the snow until daylight. His only protection was the clothes he had on and a bottle of frozen water.
           Earlier Tuesday, park management closed the mountain to visitors because of the dangerous weather. Sverdlov was the only registered hiker, and park rangers tried unsuccessfully to call his cell phone. They drove up Mauna Loa Road and confirmed his car was there. When Sverdlov’s car was still there Wednesday afternoon, park ranger John Broward decided to search for him by helicopter Thursday morning. Sverdlov was located by 9 a.m.
           “I’ve done many crazy hikes, but this one pretty much tops the bill,” said Sverdlov, an experienced hiker who successfully walked up Mauna Loa last winter. After locating his pack Wednesday morning, the deep snow made it impossible to gain much ground, and he spent a second frozen night on the mountain. Sverdlov worried that he’d die on Mauna Loa and was astonished when he heard the helicopter
Snow-covered Mauna Loa with the cindercone Pohaku o Hanalei in foreground is near
where Sverdlov was spotted. Snow-covered Mauna Kea is in the distance.
Photo by search-and-rescue pilot David Okita
            “Even the most experienced and prepared hikers can get into trouble in the park,” said Broward, who serves as the park’s search-and-rescue coordinator. “What saved Alex is that he had a backcountry permit so we knew he was up there, he is extremely fit, and he stayed calm. We’re all fortunate this had a happy ending.” On Thursday afternoon, his face sunburnt and wind-whipped, Sverdlov applied for another backcountry permit for the park’s remote coastal area. “This time I’m going to the sunny part of the park,” he said.
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NINETY PERCENT OF LOBBYISTS may not be reporting expenditures to influence the state Legislature, according to those who want to close the regulations gap. Lobbyists can spend up to $25 a day per person. Regular breakfasts, lunches and small gifts are allowed – up to $150 per person per reporting period under current law, notes state Sen. Les Ihara, who recently introduced new legislation. 
    The Associated Press reports in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning that Ihara, the state Senate’s majority policy leader, also noted that “lobbyists in Hawai`i operate under a longtime interpretation of the law by the state Ethics Commission that if the money they spend comes from an organization such as a business or advocacy group, they don’t have to report it in the disclosure system. The ethics panel’s position, Ihara said, holds that requiring that level of reporting would be duplicative. But ‘the Ethics Commission has misinterpreted the law,’” he said.
    “The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative journalism organization, gave Hawai`i a D-minus for its lobbying disclosure practices on a 2012 report. The state’s system has not changed since that review,” reports AP. “The public should ‘know what gifts or entertainment that lobbyist provided to individual legislators,’ said Gordon Witkin, the center’s managing editor.”
     Lobbyists report expenditures in January, March and May. “Critics say this reporting schedule creates another problem, one that doesn’t give taxpayers and government watchdogs timely information about the influence exerted on lawmakers,” the AP reports, quoting Ihara: “When it’s months later people are going to forget.”
      See staradvertiser.com.
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Hawai`i state Senate, seen here on opening day Jan. 15, has introduced 1,127 bills.
Photo from Hawai`i state Senate
THE STATE SENATE HAS INTRODUCED 1,127 bills in this second year of the 27th Legislature. The deadline for bill introductions was Thursday, Jan. 23. 
      The measures are now being sent to their respective committees for consideration.
      The Hawai`i Senate and House Majorities recently announced a joint majority package of priorities for the 2014 legislative session. The last time a joint majority package was unveiled was during the 2008 legislative session. Lawmakers are focusing their combined efforts on supporting seniors and protecting the environment.
      Lawmakers have five weeks before First Decking deadline on Friday, Feb. 28. The wide array of bills under consideration includes everything from combating invasive species to looking at changes in minimum wage.
      For more information on bills and on the Legislature, see capitol.hawaii.gov.
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A BILL THAT WOULD CREATE A TASK FORCE to study whether the state should regulate the use of genetic engineering in farming is making its way through the state Legislature, with the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Higher Education approving it yesterday.
      Supporters of the proposal include the Department of Agriculture, the Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association and the Hawai`i Chamber of Commerce.
      Ka`u resident Chris Manfredi, president of Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, submitted testimony saying the task force would create “an environment in which emotion and politics can be removed from the debate and a careful and comprehensive examination of the facts, issues and law surrounding biotechnology in our world may be examined, and sensible recommendations made.”
Gary Hooser
      SB2454 calls for the president of Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, or the president’s designee, to be one of the members of the task force. Other members would be dean of University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, chair of state Department of Agriculture, director of state Department of Health and president of Hawai`i Farmers Union United or their designees. The governor would also select “four experts with scientific knowledge in the use of” GMOs in agriculture.
      Critics of the measure see the composition of the task force as biased and suggest that the proposal is an attempt to bypass recently approved county regulations on Kaua`i and Hawai`i Island.
      In his testimony, Jim Albertini said, “As a Big island farmer of 34 years and part of an organization that grows food to share with people in need, I oppose this bill as part of the pre-emption efforts to offset Bill 2491 passed by Kaua`i on pesticide regulation and our island Bill 113 (banning GMOs, with some exemptions).”  
      Kaua`i Council member Gary Hooser testified, “I support this measure in principle if representation on the task force includes members from each county and from small farmers that utilize conventional and organic methods, not just GMO technology. I believe including all affected parties is imperative and will constitute a more accurate and impartial outcome.
      “In addition, any statewide regulatory scheme must represent “a floor not a ceiling,” and not pre-empt counties from enacting greater protection if circumstances specific to that county warrant such action.”
      See this and other bills at capitol.hawaii.gov.
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THE HAWAI`I BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL has announced its strong endorsement of Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard for re-election in 2014 for Hawai`i’s Second Congressional District.
Tulsi Gabbard
      “In these divisive times, it is more important than ever for Hawai`i to have a strong leader in Washington,” said Reginald Castanares, Jr., president of the council. “Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has shown she has what it takes to bring people together to deliver real results for Hawai`i’s working families. Her deep commitment to service and proven leadership make us proud to endorse her re-election.”
      Gabbard said, “I am honored and so grateful to have the support of the Hawai`i Building and Construction Trades Council because they understand that to move Hawai`i forward we must focus on creating good jobs and strengthening our local economy to build a stronger future for all of Hawai`i.”
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TWO SUSPECTS IN A ROBBERY ON SOUTH POINT ROAD have been arrested. Trinety Crapser, of Ocean View, was arrested Monday after she allegedly threatened a Discovery Harbour resident with a hatchet on Sunday.
      Yesterday, police arrested the male suspect, also of Ocean View, but have yet to release his name.
      Police reported that a 47-year-old Discovery Harbor woman walking near her parked car on South Point Road had been threatened with a hatchet by another woman who got out of a white Toyota sedan. After a scuffle, the victim was able to take the hatchet away and throw it into brush on the side of the road. During the scuffle, the victim suffered a bite on her right forearm. A man then exited the Toyota, reached into the victim’s car and removed a bag containing a laptop, a cellular telephone and a wallet.
      The male suspect fled in the Toyota after a passerby stopped to intervene. The female suspect entered the victim’s car and unsuccessfully attempted to start it. She then ran into the bushes.
      Detectives have charged Crapser with first-degree robbery, third-degree assault and unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle.
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KA`U HIGH BOYS JUNIOR VARSITY basketball team won its last home game of the season yesterday. Final score was Ka`u 70, Kealakehe 41. Titan Ault was high scorer with 19 points. 
      Kealakehe overcame Ka`u’s varsity team, 63 – 83. Larry-Dan Al-Navarro scored 16 points.
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HUNTER EDUCATION CLASS is scheduled at Na`alehu Community Center tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Limit is 40 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Birth certificate or photo ID required both days. Participants must be at least ten years of age. No-shows may be replaced with stand-bys. Responsible adult must attend with those under 16 years of age.

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT TAKES PLACE tomorrow, when volunteers meet at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. The Stewardship at the Summit program is ongoing, with more scheduled each Friday in February. Park entrance fees apply.

PARTICIPANTS EXPLORE THE FIVE RHYTHMS – Flowing-Staccato-Chaos-Lyrical-Stillness – during Ecstatic Dance tomorrow at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The two-hour practice is guided by music that ignites creativity, connection, personal awareness and healing. Fees are $25 or $10 VAC members.
      For more, call Jo Caron at 443-6993.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline is today.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2014 ONLINE. For a page-turning version, see kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf. For a pdf version, see kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.pdf.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.