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 17, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

County of Hawai`i Civil Defense offers warnings and tips for viewing the lava flow into the ocean. This photo was taken Jan. 3.
See story below. NPS Photo/J. Wei
NEW CHIEF OF THE EPA is Scott Pruitt, confirmed Friday by the U.S. Senate with a 52 to 46 vote. One Republican voted against him. Two Democrats voted for him to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Ka`u's Sen. Mazie Hirono took to the Senate floor before she, along with Hawai`i Sen. Brian Schatz, voted "no."  Putting into the record her view that Pruitt's own "record of fighting EPA's work disqualifies him from leading the agency charged with protecting the environment," Hirono stated: "Mr. Pruitt’s record paints a clear picture. His priorities directly conflict with the EPA’s mission to protect public health and the environment. He is much more concerned about protecting corporate interests than keeping our communities healthy and safe from pollution."
Scott Pruitt became the EPA administrator Friday,
opposed by both Hawai`i Senators Mazie Hirono
and Brian Schatz. Photo from Wikipedia
     Declared Hirono, “We’ve come too far over the past eight years to let someone like Scott Pruitt destroy the progress we’ve made.”
     "No one wants to live on a dirty planet," said Hirono. "Before we created the Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, nearly 50 years ago, rivers actually caught fire from pollutants, the power plants spewed arsenic and mercury into the sky with impunity. In the years since, the EPA has been at the vanguard in the effort to protect the air we breath and the water we drink. This work is not easy and the person who leads the EPA has a tough job.
     "It requires toughness and fortitude to fight back against polluters and special interests but in all the years the EPA has been around we would be hard pressed to find someone more hostile to the agency's fundamental mission or less suited to leading it than Scott Pruitt is. As Oklahoma's Attorney General, Mr Pruitt organized, led or participated in virtually every challenge to the EPA's work during his time in office. His lawsuits have, among other things, sought to prevent EPA rules that keep our water safe, protect our air from harmful pollutants, like mercury and arsenic, and limit the carbon pollution that causes climate change. These lawsuits beg the question: Does Scott Pruitt believe that the EPA should even exist?"
     She called his record "troubling" and claimed that Pruitt has been "very cozy with fossil fuel companies and affiliated interest groups. A 2014 investigation by the New York Times revealed that energy lobbyists drafted letters for Mr. Pruitt to send on state stationery to the EPA against the Obama administration's environmental regulations." She also said that the CEO of Continental Energy and Oil and Gas Company based in Oklahoma served as the campaign chairman for his reelection bid."
     Hirono reported that a judge in Oklahoma ordered the AG's office to turn over as many as 3,000 documents related to Pruitt's communication with oil, gas and coal groups during his time in office. She said she believes the documents will show his close ties to the fossil fuel interests.
     She said Pruitt fought relentlessly against EPA efforts to establish basic limits on smog, arsenic, mercury and other dangerous air pollutants. She noted that he sued the EPA twice to overturn mercury and air toxic standards, "which would prevent 40,000 pounds of mercury emissions every year and would help keep our food supply safe from contamination." She said that Pruitt has repeatedly questioned whether climate change is real and "refused to accept, several times, that humans contribute to climate change. He said there is 'a wide range of viewpoints regarding the extent to which man contributes to climate change.' He also said scientists 'continue to disagree on the extent of global warming.'" Hirono said, "the fact is that 97 percent of scientists agree that climate change is real and that human beings contribute to it.
Mazie Hirono recorded her objections to Scott Pruitt before he was voted to
become the new EPA administrator on Friday.
Image from U.S. Senate
      "From his perch as Oklahoma's Attorney General," said Hriono, " Mr. Pruitt sued to prevent President Obama's clean power plan to cut carbon emissions from taking effect. He argued that the federal government doesn't have the authority to regulate carbon emissions. This is wrong. The Supreme Court ruled twice, first in Massachusetts v EPA in 2007, then again in Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA in 2014: Does the EPA Have the Authority to Regulate Carbon Emissions as Pollution Under the Clean Air Act? "
    Hirono predicted that Pruitt will attempt to "kill the Clean Power Plan and undo much of the positive work Pres. Obama did to address climate change." She pointed to Pruitt's track record of undermining environmental laws and regulations.
      She said as AG in Oklahoma, he eliminated the environmental protection unit within the Oklahoma AG's office, which for years investigated water contamination from refineries, lead paint waste and illegal dumping. In its place, he created the Federalism Unit, which handled all of Pruitt's legal challenges against the EPA, increasing the department's budget by over 700 percent, "and the taxpayers of Oklahoma get to foot that bill."
    Hirono testified that Pruitt, "is much more concerned about protecting corporate interests than keeping our communities healthy and safe from pollution."
    She quoted a constituent named Keiko, who wrote to Hirono that the issue is "as much an American issue as it is a Hawaiian issue, a human issue, and an issue of all inhabitants of Papa, mother earth. I ask that you continue to  be vigilant and onipa`a in the face of climate change deniers. Mahalo for looking out for everyone living today and going to be born tomorrow."

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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
SPEAKING AT THE KEYSTONE PROGRESSIVE SUMMIT on Friday, Ka`u's U.S. House of Representative member Tulsi Gabbard addressed an annual meeting of liberal leaders from across Pennsylvania. She spoke in Harrisburg, PA on Rural Organizing as the Key to Winning a Progressive Mandate. She responded to the group's concern about interacting with President Donald Trump and his agenda: “We must stay focused and rooted, and grounded as we navigate the path forward,”  she said, as reported in Politics PA.  The publication quoted her as saying “Rather than burning bridges, we need to focus on building bridges. Focus on providing leadership, focus on providing vision and taking action in a positive direction.”   
     Editor Paul Engelkemier wrote: "Her speech echoed the tone of the event, with activists determined to move the Democratic party to the left. Last year’s featured guest was Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders."
     Regarding her willingness to interact wiith Trump, she said, “This in no way means giving up principles, this in no way means stepping away from our values. Actually it is the opposite, it is taking a stand strongly now for our principles.”
     Politics PA reported that "Despite a reputation as a progressive hero, Gabbard has taken heat from the left in recent months for signaling a willingness to work with President Trump. She had a high-profile meeting with Trump in November. She pushed back on that criticism Friday." Gabbard said, “There are some who think that the best way to approach the next four years is through constant and consistent obstruction at every step and every turn. I disagree with that. We can best serve our communities, our state and our country by stepping up as leaders.”  See www.politicspa.com.

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Layton Ka-ne Kala demonstrates keeping
a Hacky in the air at the Friday morning
during a Kindness Campaign.
Photo by Nalani Parlin
ALOHA AND FRIENDSHIP WERE SCHOOL THEMES at Nā‘ālehu on Friday morning. The elementary school day started off the with a Kindness Campaign mini-celebration. The entire school and staff took time out to enjoy each other's company, playing with Hacky Sacks. As part of the school's annual year-long campaign to encourage aloha and friendship on campus, each student was awarded their very own Hacky Sacks in January. Second-grader, Layton Ka-ne Kala, demonstrated how to keep the hackey in the air.

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A COMMUNITY INPUT MEETING FOR KA`U HOSPITAL is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m. at the hospital. Kurt Corbin, Chair of the East Hawai`i Regional Board of the Hawai`i Hospital System Corp, which oversees the hospital and clinic operations, said that "Personal conversations and dialogue with our community stakeholders are absolutely essential in helping guide the decisions that the Regional Board must make."
     Board members and administrators will be on hand and a financial overview and future outlook will be presented.  For more information, contact Terry Larson, Regional Board Secretary at 932-3103.

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THE CIVIL DEFENSE AGENCY OF HAWAI`I COUNTY issued a reminder Friday covering precautions for viewing lava flowing from Puʻu ʻŌʻō in the East Rift Zone and entering the ocean at Kamokuna inside Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
     Civil Defense spokesperson Kanani Aton noted that additional surface flows are active near Puʻu ʻŌʻō and more recently moving beyond the National Park eastern boundary onto private property near the abandoned Royal Gardens subdivision. "Bright incandescence is visible from the active lava flow field, and the lava flow does not pose a threat to any community at this time."
    However, the public is urged to stay on the road and wandering off toward the light of the lava.
Civil Defense is urging volcano watchers to stay on the designated
roads and trails and to avoid dangerous places and private property.
Photo from USGS
     "The road is unpaved and surrounded on all sides by rough lava flows on private property. Public access is restricted to the graded roadway and viewers are asked to respect private property and the rights of local residents," warns Civil Defense with the following reminders:
     *Viewing area hours are from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with the last car allowed to park at 9 p.m.
     *It is about 8.5 miles round-trip from end of the pavement on Highway 130 to the ocean entry at Kamokuna and back. The flow can be seen starting from just beyond the parking lot all along the viewing area route.
     *Restroom facilities are limited and lack running water.
     *Dress appropriately with boots or sturdy, covered shoes, long pants and a hat.
     *Be prepared for rain, wind, sun, heat and dust exposure.
     *Bring lots of water (1-2 liters per person), there is no potable water available.
     *Bring a flashlight for walking at night.
     "Our goal is to maintain public safety, protect the interests of Kalapana residents, and extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130. We ask for your patience and kokua (help)," says the Civil Defense statement.
   Aton reminds the public that to maintain public safety and to extend the use of the emergency road or Highway 130, the County of Hawai‘i opened the emergency road to lava viewing on June 30, 2016. Vehicular traffic on the emergency road is limited to local residents and emergency vehicles, and is being monitored by security guards posted along the viewing area.

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Recycling at Nā‘ālehu School, Sat, Feb 18, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Nā‘ālehu School Gym. Redeem your HI-5 sorted by type; receive 5 cents per container and additional 20 cents per pound on all aluminum. Atlas Recycling donates 20 cents per pound on all aluminum redeemed to the school. 939-2413, ext. 230

Life of the Lands, Sat, Feb 18 – Mar 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Acrylic paintings by David K. Hayes and Daniel VanZyle feature Hawaiian flora and fauna. Opening reception Sat, Feb 18, 5 p.m.

Pele & Hi`iaka, Sat, Feb 18, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants discover the Hawaiian goddesses and the natural phenomena they represent on this free, moderate, one-mile walk. nps.gov/havo

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day, Sat, Feb 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Keiki 17 and younger and their families are invited to explore Upper Palm Trail and learn to weave a lei. Free. Register by Feb 2 at 985-6020.

Zentangle Inspired Art: Five Ferns, on Sat, Feb 18, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Dina Kageler helps tanglers get inspired by nature. 967-8222

Mongolian BBQ, Sat, Feb 18, 5 – 8 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. $.85/ounce with complimentary rice and beverage. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356

Rebecca Folsom Concert, Sat, Feb 18, 7 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. $25/$20 VAC members. 967-8222