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, February 07, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Feb. 7, 2014

Ka`u students, teachers, coaches and parents are invited to submit testimony via videoconferencing during a Senate Education Committee hearing on a bill relating to school athletics. The hearing takes place at the state Capitol Monday. Ka`u's Sen. Russell Ruderman, at left, is on the committee. Photo from Senate Communications Office
KA`U’S STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN, who will hold a talk story at Pahala Plantation House Monday, Feb. 24, is a member of the Legislature’s newly formed Aerospace Caucus. At a press conference yesterday, Ruderman said he is excited about possibilities of an aerospace industry in Hawai`i, including education and jobs in technical fields. He said much of the experimentation and development would likely take place in his district, which includes Ka`u, and that he hopes that “we are proactively engaged in issues such as public safety and privacy, which are bound to arise as we go forward. I think we’ll have a more successful industry and a smoother path if we address those issues,” he said.
      Rep. Gene Ward, one of the caucus’ four chairs, said, “We are a state of navigators. Ancient Hawaiians were the first navigators without instruments. He also said, “NASA’s in love with our Big Island.” He cited a lunar park, space tourism, economic development and cultural sensitivity as aspects of aerospace development. “The ancient Hawaiians started as navigators, and we’re going to end as navigators,” he said.
Bills relating do drones and other aerospace technologies are being considered
at the state Legislature.
      Other co-chairs are Sens. Will Espero and Glenn Wakai and Rep. Angus McKelvey.
      Membership also includes Hawai`i Island Reps. Cindy Evans, Faye Hanohano, Mark Nakashima and Clift Tsuji.
      The caucus has identified many bills in the Legislature that are related to aerospace.
      SB3092/HB1967 would appropriate $450,000 for a program coordinator and technical support staff member to complete planning required for an international flight training center and associated aeronautical training programs at University of Hawai`i at Hilo and Hawai`i Community College.
      HB2151/SB2583 would appropriate $500,000 for an engineering assessment of a proposal to establish a laser optical communications ground station in Hawai`i.
      HB2150/SB2584 would appropriate $250,000 to support planetary sustainability technology demonstrations and university-based competitions.
      HB2152/SB2585 would appropriate $1,500,000 to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems to support administrative and general tasks, strategic program initiatives and preliminary development of the PISCES Research and Development Park.
      HB2614 would exempt from the general excise tax amounts received from the construction of a space launch facility in the state.
      More bills being considered relate to unmanned aircraft, or drones. SB2608 would place limitations on use of the technology in information gathering. SB2582 would require consent or a search warrant to track an individual using drones. It would also prohibit weapons onboard the unmanned aicrafts.
      Information on these and other bills is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. David Ige
KA`U STUDENTS ARE INVITED TO PARTICIPATE in the legislative process by providing testimony for a school athletics funding bill. Sen. David Ige, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committe, has introduced SB3083 that would restore many athletic programs and positions that were cut after the economic downturn. 
      Ige spoke with many coaches, parents and teachers about the important role athletics play in overall student development. “For many students in our public schools, the opportunity to play sports motivates and positively impacts their success in the classroom,” he said. 
      Ige also urges public school teachers and coaches to submit testimony. During the hearing, scheduled for this Monday, Feb. 10 at 1:15 p.m., schools across the state will be able to provide live testimony via the Hawai`i State Senate’s Statewide Videoconferencing Pilot Program. Lawmakers initiated the program last year allowing neighbor island residents the opportunity to provide testimony using technology. Many people, especially students, are unable to travel to the state Capitol to provide testimony in person.
      “The advent of videoconferencing technologies within the Senate gives students easier access to the legislative process,” said Ige, “allowing them to be stewards of their own education and to voice opinions on how school sports have personally affected their lives.”
      Those wishing to submit testimony or to sign up to provide testimony via teleconferencing can do so by visiting capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.     

LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PROVIDE the Public Utilities Commission with more funding passed its first hearing yesterday. SB2924 provides for more funds, which are derived from public utility company revenues and are, thus, paid directly by utility ratepayers for the purpose of providing regulatory oversight, to remain in PUC coffers.
PUC chair Mina Morita
      Most of the funding comes from an annual fee of one-half of one per cent of the gross income of the public utility's previous year’s business. Currently, over half of the revenue in this special fund is diverted to the state’s general fund, according to testimony from Blue Planet Foundation. 
      According to a story in Civil Beat, the Legislature usually provides the PUC with about half of money in the special fund and has used nearly $50 million from it over the past four years for unrelated programs.
      “The complexity and size of the Commission’s workload has drastically increased over the last few years as advancements in state policy and utility technology has required, and is causing, a critical review for regulatory reforms,” PUC chair Mina Morita said in her testimony. “Increasing the annual carryover amount in the PUC Special Fund would support the PUC and the Consumer Advocate (as they) fulfill their respective statutory duties during these challenging times.”
      Jeff Mikulina, head of the nonprofit Blue Planet Foundation, told Civil Beat, “The utility has always had the upper hand in terms of resources when they’re at the table, so they should at least have a good counterbalance on the other side. Otherwise the onus is on intervenors like us to try to bring those resources to the table.”
      Information on SB2924 is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      See more at civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Today is the deadline to enter Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Ka`u Peaberry Pageants.
ENTRIES FOR MISS KA`U COFFEE PAGEANT are due today. Those interested in participating can call chair Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or director Nalani Parlin at 217-6893. 
      To donate scholarship money for the pageant, call Julia Neal at 928-9811. To reserve a vendor or educational booth for the Ho`olaule`a, call Brenda Iokepa Moses at 928-0550. To become a sponsor, call Chris Manfredi at 929-9550.
      See kaucoffeefest.com for more on the festival.

BAKED GOODS, CRAFTS AND QUILTS are on sale today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Punalu`u Black Sand Beach as the Ka`u Red Hat Ladies and Ka Lae Quilters hold their tenth annual fundraiser for Ka`u Hospital emergency room.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND sponsors a Ka`u Coast cleanup at Kamilo tomorrow. Volunteers meet at Wai`ohinu Park at 7:45 a.m. Bring sturdy shoes, bag lunch, sun and wind protection, plenty to drink and four-wheel drive vehicles. Those without 4WD can pool with other volunteers. Call 769-7629 or email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

POTTERS SHOW AND SELL their functional and sculptural work tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The show features works by TR Andrews, Ron Hanatani and Carol Yamashita. Email ron@ryhpottery.com for more information. 

LOVE THE ARTS, the annual fundraiser and gala for Volcano Art Center, takes place tomorrow at the Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The event features champagne and wine and a gourmet dinner to honor Volcano Art Center’s 40th Year in its Hawaiian Home, Hawaiian-Style. There will be a live and silent auction. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door, which includes a $10 credit toward an auction item. Call 967-8222.

SEE FEBRUARY’S ISSUE of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper online at kaucalendar.com.

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