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.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs, Thursday, July 31, 2014

Berta Miranda clutches her Bible, fearing her coffee farm was obliterated during the 2012 fires around Pahala. Fortunately
 she was spared. Photo by William Neal
FUNDING IS AVAILABLE FOR FIRE PREVENTION projects in Ka`u, according to Elizabeth Pickett, Executive Director of Hawai`i Wildlife Management Organization. At a presentation about wildland fires given at Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School this week, Pickett said residents and groups can come up with ideas and apply for funding with a match in volunteer time. One idea she mentioned was chipping of waste to reduce vegetation. An idea brought up at the meeting was using fire resistant plants to beautify and protect the east entrance to Pahala, where a fire in 2012 jumped mauka over Hwy 11 and marched up Kamani Street to threaten Ka`u Hospital.
Firefighters spray retardant to
protect entrance to Pahala town.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Percentage-wise compared to every other state, at least as much, and perhaps more, land burns in Hawai`i every year. Between 2002 and 2011, Hawai`i experienced 900 wildland fire ignitions per year, and 17,000 acres burned per year. Also, the number of large fires is increasing along with their intensity. While in such places as California, the natural maturation and renewal of the wildlands can be through range fires, Hawai`i's native plants are not built to reproduce after fires.
      One quarter of state land in Hawai`i is now covered in nonnative grasses that are prone to fire, Pickett said. These grasses grow during rainy seasons, then dry out during dry periods and create fuel for wildfires. They also crowd out seedlings of native plants that are less fire-prone. Fire prone grasses can even become a problem in areas fenced off from ungulates to protect native species.
      Pickett and her colleague Pablo Beimler focused on the organization’s Ready, Set, Go Wildland Fire Action Guide, with information about saving lives and property through advanced planning.
The 2012 fires around Pahala threatened the hospital and homes, burning
macadamia orchards, some coffee lands and pasture. Photo by Julia Neal

     Preparing property for fire threat includes landscaping and limiting access points where fire can enter homes. Creating defensible space around homes involves removing dead and dying vegetation within 100 feet of homes and managing vegetation where fire could jump from grass to shrubs to trees.
      Windows are the most vulnerable entry points, Beimler said, because they break from heat of fires. He suggested remove shrubbery from under windows or cutting it low and maintaining it well. Screening lattice below houses will help prevent the embers from blowing through the pukas.
      Securing any point that is vulnerable to embers is also important, he said. Gutter guards and vents covers with openings one-quarter inch or less prevent embers from entering. Enclosing eaves also prevents embers from landing in rafters, where they can easily ignite lumber.
      During a wildland fire, being aware of the situation and changing conditions is crucial. The HWMO personnel emphasized that smoke, wind and fire conditions can change rapidly and residents need to have and evacuation plan. “Find out where you should go, and leave early,” they said.
      HWMO is planning a Ka`u Fire Preparedness meeting in November when experts will update a list of community concerns, priorities and project ideas.
      Established in 2002, HVMO is the only nonprofit organization in Hawai`i that focuses specifically on wildfire prevention, preparedness and mitigation projects. It was started by fire chiefs, fire captains, land owners, land managers and conservationists. See more about it and the Ready, Set, Go program at hawaiiwildfire.org.  To comment on or like this story, go tofacebook.com/kaucalendar.

Range fire swept to the shore from macadamia orchards below Pahala in 2012. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
WALK IN VOTING CONTINUES IN KA`U TODAY at Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m until noon and 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. on weekdays through Thursday, Aug. 7. On Saturday, Aug. 9, the Primary Election will take place at local polling places: Miloli‘i Halau, Ocean View Community Center, Nā‘ālehu Elementary School Cafeteria, Ka‘ū High & Pāhala Elementary School Cafeteria and Cooper Center in Volcano. Polls are open on election days from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
Maile David campaigned yesterday in Pahala with her supporters.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Registered Ka‘ū voters cast ballots for the following offices in the primary election: U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives District Two, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, state Senate District Three, state House of Representatives Districts Three and Five, Office of Hawaiian Affairs At-Large Trustees and Hawai‘i County Council District Six. Sample ballots are available at hawaii.gov/elections.
     On the ballot for Hawai‘i County Council District Six are Richard Abbett, of Ocean View; Maile Medeiros David, of Captain Cook; and Jim Wilson, of Volcano. 
     On the ballot for state Senate District Three are incumbent Josh Green, of Kailua-Kona, and Michael Last, of Nā‘ālehu.
      State House of Representatives District Three candidates are Bill Dickson, of Mountain View; Fred Fogel, of Volcano; and incumbent Richard Onishi, of Hilo.
Richard Abbett runs in the primary for council and Dave Bateman, along with
 Jon Lalanne and Randy Ruis, takes on the winner of the House Democratic
primary contest between Bucky Leslie and Richard Creagan.  Photo by Julia Neal
   Incumbent state Rep. Richard Creagan, of Nā‘ālehu, faces a challenge in the primary by fellow Democrat Gene “Bucky” Leslie, of Holualoa, in state House District Five. The winner goes on to the general election to face Republican Dave Bateman, of Holualoa, Libertarian Jon Lalanne and nonpartisan Randy Ruis, both of Ocean View.
   Creagan said that during the League of Women Voters forum, he talked about his goals for the next legislative session, should he be elected. They include working on health care, integrating affordable health care with prepaid health care and getting a new hospital for Kona. He said one issue is the possible privatization of the Ka‘ū, Hilo and Kona Hospitals. Creagan said he and others support privatization but only if the company is Hawai‘i-based and unionized. He said that the private, mainland company that proposed taking over the system of Hawai‘i Health Systems Corp. clinics and hospitals statewide is non-union and its “anti-union rhetoric can be found on its website.”
       Creagan said another concern is that an outside hospital corporation could close Ka‘ū Hospital. “The safety net hospitals such as Ka‘ū and Kohala have to be preserved. One of the fears of bringing in the outside organizations is that they might want to shut them down.”
       Creagan said that a more agreeable merger would be with a hospital like Queens Medical System, based on O‘ahu. Queens is already unionized and would not have a problem preserving the union jobs at Ka‘ū, Hilo and Kona, he said.
        During the forum, Creagan, a physician, brought up the medical marijuana issue, saying he supports the expansion of indications for medical marijuana. He said later that he sees it as important especially in the case of veterans with post traumatic stress disorder. “Marijuana can be very helpful. It is approved for PTSD in five or six other states,” he told The Ka‘ū Calendar newspaper. Creagan is on the House task force to study setting up dispensaries for medical marijuana.
Incumbent Richard Creagan is on the ballot for the state House for West Ka`u,
incumbent Richard Onishi for East Ka`u. Photo by Julia Neal
       A topic with consensus of apparently all the candidates is labeling of GMO foods. Creagan said that among the candidates, there are some differences, such as whether the federal government should take the lead on the issue – with federal proposals initiated by Ka‘ū’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Creagan said that in addition to federal measures, Hawai‘i should lead and establish a state requirement. “Hawai‘i should lead, not follow, but in the future the federal government should do it, too.”
         Creagan said after the forum that one important issue not discussed was public funding for elections. He said that he supports public funding, but it is hard to pass at the Legislature because it does not favor incumbents. He said he will continue to push for it. “Our experience on the Big Island showed the power of public funding, brought more candidates out, allowed them to really compete with the big money interests. That is why Brittany Smart was able to win against candidates supported by big money. Brittany (Smart), Maile (Medeiros David) and Brenda (Ford) were able to get over $30,000 in funding.” Their campaigns for County Council brought out local issues and built awareness in the public, with Maile Medeiros David well recognized as she competes for County Council this year following two races with public funding. There is no public funding for any political positions in Hawai‘i this year, he noted.
            Leslie said he wants to have a fresh approach to campaigning. He emphasized how his ‘ohana approach influences his way of getting things done.
            Leslie said he wants to listen to constituents’ thoughts, concerns and ideas, “finding productive ways of working together as we strive and sometimes struggle to accommodate the change in our history.”
             Leslie mentioned his experience as president of the Hawai‘i Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and said he and the club have written and sent bills and resolutions to the Legislature that have passed.  He said his top priority in the Legislature would be “working with other people” and referred to the Legislature as an “elected ‘ohana.” He said, “Working together, we’ll get much more done than we can (individually). Together we can; together as one.” 
Bucky Leslie, a Democrat, is running in the primary against Richard
Creagan for the west Ka`u House seat. Photo by Nalani Parlin
             Regarding education, Leslie said educational opportunities for everyone – keiki and kūpuna – are important. He said, “The system is not working with us” and suggested reinstating programs “issued many years ago. Revise them and bring them back to the table.” He also said, “We need people who leave for education to come back.”
             On the topic of health, Leslie said he thinks Kona Hospital is adequate but that more doctors and nurses are needed.
              Leslie said he wants to “bring balance to the Legislature.” He characterized balance of working with legislators as “knowing how we can get things done.” He said the Legislature has “cut this balance off, that balance off” regarding bills that get modified to the point that they are no longer recognizable.
             When asked how he would make Hawai‘i a more attractive state to do business in, Leslie answered, “How do they balance?” He again stressed his ‘ohana approach to how to work on the issue.
             Regarding labeling of GMOs, Leslie said, “We should stand up and say ‘let’s go for it – let’s label this.’” Pointing to the audience, he said, “It’s all about you; it’s not about us.”
             When asked about legalized gambling in Hawai‘i, Leslie said he had previously written a resolution for the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs supporting gambling, but that he now doesn’t support it and wants more education about it.
             In closing, Leslie stressed his desire to “continue to work with our people here and bring home a plate of wonderful things.” To comment on or like this story, go tofacebook.com/kaucalendar.

SUNSET HULA TOMORROW AT 6 P.M. graces the kahua hula (platform) near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This month’s event features Manu Josiah and Leilehua Yuen, who are known for their blending of storytelling, science, chant and hula to create a journey through Hawaiian history and culture. Some of their students join them for an evening of traditional chant and hula. Free; park entrance fees apply.

ZENTANGLE: THE BASICS are taught Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This pre-requisite for subsequent Zentangle classes provides a foundation in the philosophy, ceremony and benefits of tangling. $40 VAC members/$45 nonmembers. Call 967-8222 to register.



See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.