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.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014

Ka Lae Quilters and Ka`u Red Hat Ladies will be at Punalu`u Beach Park pavilion today until 4 p.m. or earlier if they sell out of their quilts, potholders and other creations as well as baked goods, jellies and jams. The two organizations cooperate each year to raise money for the Ka`u Hospital emergency room. The next fundraiser is the Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Photo by Julia Neal
HOME BIRTH IS THE SUBJECT of one bill that the Senate Committee on Health will hear Monday at 1:15 p.m. SB 2569 includes several proposals to improve the safety of home births in Hawai`i. The bill would establish a home birth safety board and require home birth providers to be licensed and to meet minimum educational and training requirements. It also calls for providers to follow record keeping and reporting requirements. 
      “Home births are an important and valuable option in maternal care and in the range of women’s reproductive choices in Hawai`i,” said Ka`u’s state Sen. Josh Green, M.D., who chairs the committee. “We must preserve and honor every woman’s right to deliver her child at home with her family and her chosen healthcare provider, while ensuring it is done as safely as possible to protect the mother’s health and the health and well-being of the newborn infant.
Quilted items, crafts and baked good are still available at a fundraiser for Ka`u Hospital
emergency room taking place at Punalu`u Beach Park pavilions. Photo by Julia Neal
      “The intent of Monday’s hearing is to bring together all members of the home birth community,” Green continued, “including lay midwives and Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, certified professional midwives, certified nurse-midwives and obstetricians in order to generate a meaningful discussion about whether we are doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of mothers and newborns during home births in Hawai`i. It is not the intention of the committee to recommend any policy regarding home birth without listening carefully to the concerns of the entire home birth community and respecting every woman’s reproductive rights, cultural values and religious traditions. It is our hope that we can begin a productive dialogue in which all voices can be heard on this issue, so that we can reach a consensus within the entire home birth community to determine the best way to protect the health and safety of mothers and infants during home births, while honoring and respecting women’s reproductive rights and cultural traditions.”
      Another measure under consideration will be SB 2574, relating to medical marijuana, a measure intended to expand access to the medical marijuana program for patients in Hawai`i by allowing pain specialist physicians to prescribe medical marijuana beginning January 2, 2015.
      Other measures being heard Monday include SB 3064, relating to Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. The bill would allow for the transition of the state hospital system to nonprofit hospitals incorporated in Hawai`i before January 1, 2000 and would require the acquiring nonprofit hospital to maintain equivalent hospital services in acquired regions. It would also require the state to continue to meet all financial obligations to public employees, including all benefits, pensions and other financial obligations negotiated with public employees’ unions.
      The Committee on Health will also hear SB 2521, which would require labeling of foods that have been genetically engineered, provide a penalty for violations and authorize private civil enforcement.
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Chocolate cake is on the menu at Punalu`u Beach Park
pavilions today. Photo by Julia Neal
A BILL THAT WOULD CREATE a task force to determine whether the state should regulate agricultural use of genetically modified organisms has passed its three Senate committees so far at the state Legislature. Senate Committees on Agriculture, Higher Education and Judiciary & Labor all approved the measure, with amendments. 
      Testimony in favor of the bill came from Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation, Hawai`i Department of Agriculture and University of Hawai`i. Chamber of Commerce of Hawai`i and Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association also testified in favor, with amendments.
      One amendment proposed by HCIA asks that “any reference to GMO be replaced with ‘genetically engineered crops’ or agricultural biotechnology’ embraced by the scientific and regulatory community.”
      Another amendment asks that presidents of Hawai`i Papaya Industry Association, Hawai`i Floriculture Industry and Hawai`i Crop Improvement Association be added to the task force “to allow farmers growing GE crops the opportunity to provide perspective on the work that they do.” 
      In its original form, SB2454 called for members of the task force to include 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, president of Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation 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. One person testified, “The state has done a very poor job of taking care of our health, environment and well being on almost every level. Each county has its own challenges, and we must meet them individually.”
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THIRTY-SIX STATES DON’T TAX FOOD SALES, and Hawai`i would join them if Senate Bill 2169 passes the state Legislature. Supported by grocers and anti-poverty groups, the bill, introduced by Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican, would help reduce the high cost of living, which keeps many people here in poverty. Fourteen other states tax food at a lower rate than Hawai`i. According to an Associated Press story this morning, Kelii Akina, president of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai`i, told the Senate Committee on Human Services on Thursday that a family of four in Hawai`i spends on average $1,000 per month for groceries. The tax cut would save them $450 a year.
Patricia McManaman
      Hawai`i Appleseed Center for Law and Economic Justice, Jenny Lee, testified, “It’s simply counterintuitive and inefficient policy to tax households deeper into poverty and then have expensive social services provided in order to try to alleviate the impact of poverty.”
      The bill would also exempt medical care from the excise tax.
      In another anti-poverty measure, the state would double the tax credits for renters earning under $30,000 a year.
      The Tax Foundation offered a different approach – cut the excise tax rate across the board.
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PATRICIA MCMANAMAN, DIRECTOR of state the Department of Human Services, is stepping down from her position due to personal reasons. McManaman has served under the Abercrombie Administration since its inception in December 2010. She said it has been an “incredible honor” to serve the people of Hawai`i. 
      “The Department of Human Services exists to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and needy in our communities,” stated McManaman. “I have worked alongside dedicated people in the department who truly believe in the work of helping others. I am extremely humbled and grateful to have served with them and know there will be a seamless transition to continue the work started under this Administration.”
      Gov. Neil Abercrombie expressed his gratitude for McManaman’s service, saying, “Pat has been a leader in our community for decades and has directly and indirectly touched many lives. Her persistence in doing what’s just, and her experience and knowledge has helped to right many a ship.”
      The governor is placing deputy director Barbara Yamashita as acting director. “Pat will be missed as our director, but she has laid solid foundation for moving forward,” said Yamashita.
      Prior to her directorship position, McManaman practiced law in Hawai`i for more than 30 years, holding a variety of public interest legal positions. She also served as a per diem judge in the District Court and Family Court of the First Circuit, state of Hawai`i for 17 years.
      McManaman has received a variety of awards and recognition for her leadership in social and public health issues.
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Nene nest is hidden in guinea grass.
Photo by Royden Okinishi
AT LEAST ONE PAIR OF NENE have been raising their family this winter at Ka`u Coffee Mill with the keiki swimming in the reservoir. The nest was hidden in guinea grass in a composting area of the farm. Nene are endangered and the state bird of Hawai`i. Generations ago, this Hawaiian goose was on the menu of Volcano House dining room.
      When the nene first arrived at Ka`u Coffee Mill, employees worked to eradicate mongoose, which eat nene eggs.

A pair of nene is raising a family
at Ka`u Coffee Mill.
Photo by Royden Okinishi
BAKED GOODS, CRAFTS AND QUILTS are on sale today until 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. 

LOVE THE ARTS, the annual fundraiser and gala for Volcano Art Center, takes place today from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 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.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK hold their Sunday Walk in the Park tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tim Tunison leads a three-mile, round-trip walk exploring the Mauna Ulu area. Free for Friends members; non-members can join the organization in order to attend. 985-7373, admin@fhvnp.org
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.