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, March 18, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday March 17, 2017

Teen Alert is one of the many programs represented at Ka`u Rural Health Community Association's
annual meeting on Friday. Photo from Teen Alert
EXPERTS ON HELPING COMMUNITIES, VICTIMS AND PERPETRATORS of drug abuse and domestic violence came to Pahala on Friday with a lot of skills and hope. They participated in the 19th Annual Rural Health Conference and General Membership Meeting of Ka`u Rural Health Community Association. The public meeting was held at Pahala Community Center. Many of the participants wore black tee shirts promoting the word "Respect."
     Honorable Chief Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibara talked about the Drug Court helping to improve the lives of drug users going in and out of jail, as if they were in a revolving door. Ibara is known for his idea of "training the entire person," and working with drug court teams to help drug users complete drug rehabilitation, establish stable housing, become educated, work, and stay away from the social groups that would lead them back into trouble.
Ka`u Coffee farmer and Ka`u Rural Health
Community Association board member
Delvin Navarro wears the conference
tee shirt that promotes respect.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Ibara brought the program to the Big Island and it has been successful, producing a low recidivism rate. The police officers serving with the drug court are perceived of more as case workers, he noted. They encourage and provide structure for persons convicted of drug crimes to help them solve their problems rather than just sit in jail and go back on the street to resume an unhealthy and dangerous lifestyle.
    Danielle Ortiz Padilla, of the Teen Alert Program, stressed the importance of helping teens to gain the strength to make good choices to avoid becoming victims of violence, abuse and drugs. The organization stresses separating young people from brain damaging drugs such as methamphetamine. Padilla noted that meth does physical damage to the brain that can make it impossible for a person to recover full mental and emotional functions, even after quitting. The damage can lead to impaired thinking and the inability to make the right decisions.
     Gary Shimobokura of Laulima, LLC. shared his experience of working with businesses, families and community groups on drug and domestic abuse, as well as sexual violence problems.
     Shimobokura has worked with Pa`a Pono Molili`i and its youth camps. His programs help youth to choose a positive path,  away from the bad habits they may have witnessed or experienced as children.
     Ed Flores, of the Boys to Men program, talked about the natural ability of athletic coaches to help youth in their overall life development. He said he planned to meet with coaches at Ka`u High School.
     Also making presentations were David Nishthal, Education Coordinator of the Sex Abuse Treatment Center; Valerie Mariano, of the Department of the Attorney General Community and Crime Prevention division; and Auntie Jessie Marques, Executive Director of Ka`u Rural Health Community Association.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

MEALS ON WHEELS, which are available to homebound persons 60 years and older in Ka`u, are at risk of losing funding under the proposed budget cuts that Pres. Donald Trump has sent to Congress. The meals are delivered to homes through the Hawai`i County Nutrition Program which also provides meals in group settings at such places as Pahala Senior Center.
     The county receives some Meals on Wheels funding through federal Community Services Block Grants each year - a program Trump's budget eliminates entirely.
     About 35 percent of Meals On Wheels funding comes from another federal source, through the Older Americans Act, which is also likely to be cut, according to a statement from Meals on Wheels of America.
     Ellie Hollander, President of Meals on Wheels, said the budget cuts "would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America, which in turn saves billions of dollars in reduced health care expenses."

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

FILLING JOBS AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MEDICAL CENTERS is the aim of bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Mike Bost (IL-12). The bill to address the growing problem of VA medical centers operating without permanent directors unanimously passed the House on Friday as an amendment to VA reform legislation.The bill now moves to the Senate for further consideration.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard introduced legislation that passed
Congress on Friday to push for VA jobs to be filled.
Photo from Tulsi Gabbard
     "The mission of the VA is to take care of our veterans, and to do so they need strong, accountable leaders who are committed to that mission. In Hawaiʻi and many other states, veterans have gone without a permanent VA health center director for more than a year. Our bipartisan legislation that passed today will direct the VA Secretary to prioritize hiring qualified, accountable leaders to serve our veterans and their families," said Gabbard.
     She explained that more than 20 VA medical centers currently lack a permanent director, including some that have not been staffed by a permanent director in almost two years. "In lieu of a permanent director, these facilities have been managed by interim directors who may only serve in that capacity for a short time, with the average tenure of an interim director being 120 days. The revolving door of directors serving in an acting capacity undoubtedly hinders the ability to engage in long-term planning and other functions necessary to improve service delivery to our veterans," said Gabbard.
     The VA Health Center Management Stability and Improvement Act, which passed as an amendment to H.R.1367 t would: Require the Secretary of the VA to develop and submit to Congress a plan to hire highly-qualified medical directors for each medical center that lacks a permanent director within 120 days of enactment; identify possible impediments to staffing facilities with permanent directors; and assess the possibility of promoting and training qualified candidates from within the VA for promotion to Senior Executive Service positions.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
Wilderness Hike to Nāpau Crater, Sat, Mar 18, 9 a.m., Mauna Ulu parking lot, off Chain of Craters Road in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Journey through the wilderness of Kīlauea Volcano’s East Rift Zone on this challenging 14-mile, seven-hour, round-trip interpretive trek. Free; park entrance fees apply. 985-6017 

Writing for Inner Exploration & Life Reflection, Sat, March 18, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. With Tom Peek. $75/$65 VAC members. 967-8222 

Hula Kahiko, Sat, Mar 18, 10:30 a.m., hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. With Kumu hula Pele Kaio, Unukupukupuku, and the students of Unulau and Papa Hu`elepo. Na Mea Hula with Kumu hula Ab Valencia and members of Hālau Hula Kalehuaki‘eki‘eika‘iu, 11a.m. – 1 p.m., gallery porch.