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, January 06, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Jan. 6, 2017

Sen. Mazie Hirono meets with Secretary of Defense nominee General James Mattis today in Washington, D.C.
Photo from the Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO SECURED A COMMITTMENT from General James Mattis today to continue to strengthen America’s strategic interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region if he is confirmed to serve as the next Secretary of Defense under President-elect Donald Trump.
     “Hawai`i has a huge role to play in our strategic interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. General Mattis assured me that he shares my perspective that our actions and continued presence in the region are of critical importance to national security,” Hirono said.
     Hirono also pressed Secretary of Defense nominee to pledge to combat sexual assault in the military and to prevent retaliation against any soldier that lodges a complaint. “I have been very vocal in my support of making sure that we prevent and prosecute sexual assault in the military,” Hirono said. “I asked General Mattis to address allegations of sexual assault in an effective way, and to take action to prevent retaliation that occurs all too often when these crimes are reported.”
    Hirono identified a number of areas of concern in her meeting with the General, saying she will also address them directly during his confirmation hearing.
     “I continue to have serious concerns about how the incoming Trump administration will repair the damage caused by the President-elect’s comments about our Asian allies during his campaign, and his approach to conflicts in the Middle East. I look forward to asking these and other questions during General Mattis’ confirmation hearing."
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Rear Admiral Craig Faller presents Senator Hirono with the Navy Distinguished 
Public Service Award. Left to right: Lieutenant Joe Buckley, Lieutenant Kaitlyn Bower,
 Colonel Andrew Mills, Rear Admiral Craig Faller, Senator Hirono, 
Captain Sara Joyner, Ms. Sandra Latta. Photo from Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono
THE DEPTARTMENT OF THE NAVY HONORED SEN. MAZIE HIRONO today for her advocacy for Navy and Marine Corps service members. Rear Admiral Craig Faller, on behalf of Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, presented the U.S. Senator with the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest honor that the Secretary of the Navy can award to a civilian who is not employed by the Navy.
    “It is an honor to fight for Navy and Marine Corps service members in Hawai`i and around the world,” said Hirono. “We will continue to work closely together to advance Hawai`i’s key role in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Rebalance, and to support service members, Navy and Marine Corps civilian employees, and their families.”
     Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said, "This award was presented to recognize Senator Hirono's tremendous support for our Sailors and Marines and her forceful advocacy for the resources needed to maintain a strong Navy and Marine Corps. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated leader in the U.S. Senate.”
     Hirono is the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, which oversees Navy and Marine Corps programs.
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MAYOR HARRY KIM'S APPOINTMENTS to date for department heads in his Hawai`i County administration have  almost all passed unanimously, with seven receiving County Council approval on Thursday. The department heads are:

Mike Yee
COUNTY OF HAWAI`I DIRECTOR OF FINANCE: The mayor chose a private industry professional, Collins Tomei, who had worked in banking since 1984, most recently as branch manager of Territorial Savings Bank in Hilo. Tomei holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Hawaii - Manoa.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I DIRECTOR OF PLANNING: Mike Yee, with a background in affordable housing and helping community members build assets and achieve economic security, was the mayor's choice. He recently left his post as Senior Director of Housing and Property Services for the YWCA in Seattle. Yee has over 27 years of property and asset management experience, working in public, private, non-profit and corporate sectors. In the early 1990s, Yee initiated community meetings with the Seattle Police Department in the Chinatown International District with help from Seattle Neighborhood Group. He has worked with the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority. Yee earned his Bachelor of Arts in in Architecture and Urban Planning from the University of Washington and a Master of Business Administration from Seattle University. His wife is from Hilo.
Diane Ley, with a strong background in agriculture, is the new
Director of Research & Development for Hawai`i County.
Photo from U.S. Department of Agriculture

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT: The mayor chose a person with a career in the  agricultural research and assisting farmers and ranchers in Hawai`i. Diane Ley was the U.S. Departmnet of Agriculture Executive Director for its Farm Service Agency in the Pacific Basin. She worked as deputy chair for the state Board of Agriculture and as administrative assistant for the Hawi`i Farm Bureau Federation statewide office in Honolulu. In the private sector, she has run a Volcano vegetable farm.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR: The mayor chose engineer Frank DeMarco who worked with the county for seven years, with experience in floodplain management, and as Environmental Management Director. In California, he worked more more than two-and-a-half decades for a water quality board.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I  DIRECTOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: The mayor selected civil and chemical engineer Bill Kucharski. During his career of four decades, Kucharski served in such positions as the head of the Departmnet of Environmental Quality for the state of Louisiana. He also headed a program after the 1980 Middle East War in which Kuwait made claims against Iraq for damages against its infrastructure and people.
Corporate Counsel has the tough job of serving both
the administration and County Council.
Joe Kamelmela is the nominee.
Photo from County of Hawai`i

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I DIRECTOR OF PARKS & RECREATION. The mayor brought back Charmaine Kamaka, parks director under former mayor Lorraine Inouye. With 20 years of government service, Kamaka has also been a program specialist with the county Department of Human Resources.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION & PLANNING: The mayor chose Jules Ung who worked at Research Corp. at University of Hawai`i and more recently as a contractor on such projects as a EnVision Maunakea website to promote and inspire community online discussions about Maunakea's future.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I MANAGING DIRECTOR: The mayor chose Wil Okabe who was confirmed in December.

COUNTY OF HAWAI`I CORPORATE COUNSEL: The mayor has nominated Joe Kamelamela, who worked in the county Office of Corporate Counsel from 1987 to 2014, including a stint as Senior Deputy Corporate Counsel. Several council members talked about the difficulty of the Corporate Counsel position requiring the attorney to serve two masters, the mayor and the council. The council members voted 7-2 to keep his appointment alive and had numerous questions for Kamelamela. The questioning will continue ton Jan. 25 before deciding on the mayor's nomination.
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DIETRICH VAREZ ILLUSTRATIONS of Hawaiian folklore and customs of the islands as well as stories from Pele's heartland go on display Saturday, Jan. 7 at Volcano Art Center Gallery.

MAUNA LOA SOUTHWEST RIFT ZONE hike to the overlook on Upper Palm Trail, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, near Ocean View.

CLAY HIGH-FIRE SERIES  on Sundays beginning Jan. 8 at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Space limited. Fee. 967-8222.

MEDICINE FOR THE MIND. Buddhist healing meditation teaching for beginners through advanced, Volcano Art Center, Sunday, Jan. 8 at 4 p.m.. Free. 985-7470.

SENIOR ID's available, Monday, Jan. 9 from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Pahala Housing Center and 11 a.m. to noon at Na`alehu Community Center. For residents 60 and older. 928-3100.