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, April 04, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, April 4, 2014

Kumu hula Ab Valencia presents a cultural exploration of plants used in hula as part of a field seminar presented by Hawai`i Volcanoes Institute next Friday. Photo by Dave Boyle
WEST KA`U STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN is the cover story on this past week’s Pacific Business News, under the headline, “Can this Man Cure Hawai`i’s Health Care Ills?” The story by Jenna Blakely notes that “an Emergency Room physician from the Big Island who saves lives on weekends and holidays, Green takes on a much larger patient load during the week as an advocate for system-wide health care policy in Hawai`i as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, a role he has held for the last four years.” 
      The story points out that Green was the only physician in the state Legislature until January, when Dr. Richard Creagan was appointed to a Big Island House seat. Creagan also represents West Ka`u, and he lives here.
Sen. Josh Green is also a physician.
      Ka`u residents remember Green when he lived in the Dahlberg house at Punalu`u Beach, drove a jeep and served as an ER doctor at Ka`u Hospital, supported by the National Health Service Corps. He began working in Ka`u in 2000 during a tough time for the community, with the sugar plantation shutting down and jobs eliminated just four years earlier. Alcohol and drug problems were fallouts of the initial unemployment before workers found new jobs and developed new industries such as Ka`u Coffee.
      The PBN story quotes Green saying, “Here I am, this Jewish guy from Pittsburgh, and when I landed in Ka`u, I was shocked at how great the need was.”
      The story says, “While many doctors might run from serving in a rural area plagued by a challenging physician shortage, Green decided to stick around, plant roots and do something bigger.” He told PBN, “What got me was the desperation I saw in people suffering, related to methamphetamine. I saw how hard it was for people to live their lives with addiction and the mayhem it was causing their children.”
      The story says his early political career focused on substance abuse, evolving to current issues that include access to care, physician shortages, keeping hospitals open, and environmental health policy, including pollutants, toxins and pesticides.
      Green ran for the state House a decade ago and won, later taking on the Senate seat that covers a district from Honu`apo, extending up the Ka`u and Kona Coasts.
      The PBN story quotes George Greene, president and CEO of Healthcare Association of Hawai`i, saying, “Josh is a visionary. He doesn’t look at things from a silo, which he could easily do as a physician with a particular set of eyes. Instead, he looks at operational issues, everything from public health to looking at transition care on a continuum.”
      The story also reports on Green’s legislation that would help partner such hospitals as Ka`u with institutions like Queens Health Systems and his work on a physician residency program to help reduce doctor shortages. The first four residents were chosen last month. See related Ka`u News Briefs below.
      See more in Pacific Business News at bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A BILL INTRODUCED BY WEST KA`U SEN. JOSH GREEN is progressing through the state Legislature. SB 3064 would allow for the transition of the Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation to a new healthcare management system organized as a nonprofit corporation or public benefit corporation. It establishes a transition committee to assist in implementation, review and negotiations of the transition to a new healthcare management system. 
      While the new system would change how the hospitals offer care and address staffing requirements, SB3064 would guarantee that existing contracts are honored and that all services the hospitals provide remain available.
      The bill also calls for the partnership to be with an organization already working in Hawai`i, such as Queens Health Systems.
      Both chambers have passed the bill, and it now goes to conference committee for further refinement.
      This and other bills being considered at the state Legislature are available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

BRINGING MORE PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS to rural areas like Ka`u through a residency program at Hilo Medical Center may be in jeopardy. While SB3091, co-introduced by Sen. Josh Green, is still alive at the state Legislature, $2.8 million in funding for the program has been deleted from the latest version of the budget.
      Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reports Lori Rogers, executive director of the HMC Foundation, asking the public to help convince legislators to fund the program. “This funding is crucial to help us further establish and sustain this much-needed program,” she said. “The Primary Care Training Program is a unique solution to the complex and growing problem of physician shortage on our neighbor island communities. We need your voice to help us build momentum and ask our legislators to reinstate the budgetary line item … back in to the governor’s budget.”
      Contact information is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u residents are invited to celebrate Kathleen Kam's
newest mural in Hilo today. Photo from DLNR
KATHLEEN KAM, whose mural art graces such Ka`u venues as Punalu`u Bake Shop, Ka`u High School Band Building, Ka`u Coffee Mill, Keauhou Bird Refuge and, in Volcano, Kilauea General Store, celebrates a new mural today in Hilo. The event starting at the KTA parking lot downtown features a parade with a nine-foot-tall palila bird and other puppets of flowers and mamane seeds, clouds and a rainbow that she and puppet maker Bonnie Kim created. 
      A statement from the state Department of Land & Natural Resources describes Kam’s latest work as “Hilo’s newest artistic treasure, a mural showcasing the palila (a rare native Hawaiian forest bird),” for which Kam teamed up with the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project, a project of DLNR and the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, to create the nine-by-12-foot mural.
      The painting is on the Hilo Loan Shop building in downtown Hilo adjacent to KTA Super Store and Hilo Farmers Market. The public is invited to celebrate the mural’s completion on today at 6:30 p.m. at 64 Mamo Street.
      “We are proud to support Kathleen’s gorgeous mural of this beautiful but highly endangered Hawaiian bird as well as the work DLNR is doing to conserve it,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s science coordinator for Hawai`i. “It has been exciting to already have people walking by the mural, stop and talk with us about the artwork and learn about the conservation of palila.”
      Palila are members of the Hawaiian honeycreeper family and are dependent upon native mamane trees for 90 percent of their diet. They were listed as endangered in 1973 under the Endangered Species Act as a result of a drastic population decline due to habitat destruction.
      “Palila live in a remote and rugged area of the island that not many people ever visit,” said Robert Stephens, MKFRP coordinator. “The goal of this mural is to inspire and educate the community about palila and how DLNR is preserving this special, native bird and the mamane-naio forest they depend upon.” 
Participants in Plants of Hula learn protocols in creating
pu`olo and ho`okupu. Photo by Jay Robinson
      Currently, palila only occupy a small area on Mauna Kea but used to also live on Mauna Loa, Hualalai and much more of Mauna Kea. Today, the population is estimated to be between only 1,300 and 1,700 individuals remaining on the planet.
      Kam’s numerous murals on Hawai`i Island and O`ahu have focused on Hawai`i’s native plants and animals. She was inspired to do this project because, “This mural’s visual information, which is fueled by a singular message to save a native species, will endure beyond its intrinsic value,” she said.
      Kam depicted the mural in the style of a 1940s-era fruit crate label. She said, “It was the perfect fit in its simplicity and aesthetics, and familiar to Hilo’s agricultural community.”
      To learn more about palila and how DLNR is protecting Hawai`i for generations to come, see RestoreMaunaKea.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT takes place tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers meet at Kīlauea Visitor Center to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply.

SPACE IS STILL AVAILABLE for Hawai`i Volcanoes Institute’s field seminar Plants of Hula: Na Mea Kanu o Ka Hula. The program, sponsored by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, takes place a week from today on Friday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when kumu hula Ab Valencia and botanist Tim Tunison team up for a cultural and scientific exploration of the plants used in hula.
      Program cost is $45 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are $25. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.
      To register, call 985-7373 or see fhvnp.org.