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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017

Hawai`i Public Radio's new tower at Kulani helps reach farther into Ka`u, with more improvements promised as
HPR-1 and HPR-2 change their programming. Photo by Don Mussell
HAWAI`I PUBLIC RADIO, with two stations that can be heard in Ka`u at 89.1 FM and 91.3 FM, launched two separate and distinct formats on HPR-1 and HPR-2 today, as well as a new mobile app for IOS and Android devices and a new logo.
      Gov. David Ige and Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui proclaimed Feb. 14-21 Hawai`i Public Radio Week. The proclamation asks the public to “join us in tuning in to the two locally grown HRP stations” and recognizes HPR for delivering “the highest standards of independent broadcast journalism, music and entertainment.” HPR has been operating for 35 years and Ka`u completes its coverage of the inhabited Hawaiian Islands with the recent activation of broadcasting from a tower at Kulani. HPR plans to expand its coverage in this district. See the proclamation at bit.ly/hprweek.
     The new mobile application was developed by Public Media Apps and, besides live streaming, gives on-demand access to individual stories and programs, including some no longer carried on HPR. The app also includes a donation link which gives the user the option to immediately connect to the station via phone or online form.
 The new format at HPR-1 focuses on news and information programming, augmented by local and national talk shows, as well as entertainment, jazz, blues, and world music. HPR-2 has been dubbed "your home for classical music" and provides an uninterrupted classical music environment 24 hours a day. Detailed program schedules may be found at hawaiipublicradio.org.
        Flagship programs Morning Edition on HPR-1 and Morning Café/Morning Concert on HPR-2 are extended by half an hour. New programs include the widely syndicated midday news program from WBUR and NPR Here and Now on HPR-1, as well as a new HPR-produced music program Classical Pacific on HPR-2, which features the orchestras, opera companies, and classical artists of the Pacific region. The entire suite of local talk programs, from the public affairs/arts and culture show The Conversation to the showcase of Hawai'i's tech industry Bytemarks Café are scheduled with encore broadcasts to make them accessible to more radio listeners.
Hawai`i Public Radio's new
President and GM José Fajardo 
     HPR’s new President and General Manager José A. Fajardo explains, "The goal of this program realignment is, first and foremost, about our mission to enrich our community with the unique news and cultural programming we offer. There is another goal, however, and we'll be completely transparent about it: we want our audiences to listen longer, because that leads to station loyalty, and loyalty leads to financial support."
     HPR has a corps of "phone concierges" to answer listeners' questions about program realignment. Special hours for the phone lines at (808) 955-8821 are listed at hawaiipublicradio.org. Comments and questions may also be submitted online at bit.ly/hprrealign.
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IMMIGRANTS HAVE A HUGE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY IN HAWAI`I, reports a new study, according to Pacific Business News. Reporter Anna Hrushka writes that  Hawai`i ranks third in the U.S. for jobs created by immigrant-owned businesses, sixth for median household income of foreign-born population, sixth for share of foreighn-born workforce and sixth for share of foreign-born population.
     The story is familiar in Ka`u where a majority of the farmers of the famed Ka`u Coffee are immigrants.
Willie Tabios is one of the many immigrants to
Ka`u who contribute to the economy with his
famous Rising Sun Ka`u Coffee, Will & Grace
store, and his work in house and farm renovations.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Overall, Hawai`i ranks tenth in the country when it comes to "immigrant workforce, socioeconomic contribution, brain gain and innovators and international students," as analyzed by WalletHub across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
     While immigrants were shown to contribute mightily to the economy, Hawai`i ranked 20th in net difference between state and local revenues and expenditures per individual immigranat. It ranked 23rd in percentage of foreign-born Science, Technology and Engineering workers, and 23rd in economic contributions of international students per capita.
     The Pacific Business News story noted that "Earlier this month, the state of Hawai`i sued President Donald Trump over his executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. The president’s order also included a suspension in admission of refugees to the U.S.
     "At a news conference, Hawai`i Attorney General Doug Chin said the executive order “keeps Hawai`i families apart, it blocks Hawai`i residents from traveling, it harms Hawai`i’s tourism industry... it blocks Hawai`i businesses and universities from hiring as they see fit. Most importantly, it degrades the values that Hawai`i has worked so hard to protect.” See more at www.bizjournals.com/pacific

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HAWAI`I ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES, the parent company of American Savings Bank, Hawaiian Electric Light Co. on the Big Island and the utility companies on O`ahu, Maui, Moloka`i, Lana`i and O`ahu, today reported a 2016 profit of $248.3 million. The 2015 profit was reported as $159.9 million.
   According to HEI Chair Connie Lau, the increase in profit involves the cancelled merger with the Florida-based NextEra Energy Inc, which paid HEI $60.3 million. It also involves a cancelled spin-off of American Savings Bank and a liquified natural gas contract that was also terminated.
     Lau released a statement saying that “In 2016, Hawaiian Electric and its subsidiaries invested $318 million, over twice the utility’s earnings, in the modernization and improvement of Hawaii’s electric grids, and we achieved an energy portfolio powered by 25 percent renewable resources in 2016. American Savings Bank closed 2016 with a strong fourth quarter and achieved important strategic objectives. We plan to build upon the bank’s success in the coming years with the building of its new headquarters.” 

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
Photo from Wikepedia
NEW TREASURY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN worries Sen. Mazie Hirono who testified and voted against his confirmation in the U.S. Senate yesterday. Hirono contended that Mnuchin "helped to bring about the 2008 financial crisis and profited off the misery that followed. During his campaign, President Trump promised to crack down on Wall Street abuses. In one of his campaign ads, the President said that the CEO of Goldman Sachs was part of 'a global elite' that was 'robbing our working class.' He said that on Wall Street 'it's the powerful protecting only the powerful.' Given his campaign promises, it is astounding that President Trump nominated Steve Mnuchin, someone whose business record embodies the worst abuses from the financial crisis..."
     Hirono recalled that "In the Fall of 2008, when I served in the U.S. House, then Treasury Secretary Hank Carlson came to Capitol Hill and painted a dire picture. He told us that without drastic intervention by Congress and the White House, the entire entire global financial system would collapse. The situation was so dire, he argued, that we could not even pause to provide additional, meaningful relief to the millions of families across the country facing home foreclosures...."
     Hirono reminded the Senate that "many banks sold mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, packaged these mortgages into complex financial instruments, colluded with ratings agencies and sold these 'products' as solid investments. The American people stepped in with hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, but without effective broad laws in place before the financial crises to prevent predatory lending, millions of people lost their homes and trillions of dollars in household wealth. Many of these victims have yet to recover....
     "In the years that followed, we learned more and more about the numerous abuses these banks perpetrated on the American people. After years of pushing subprime loans on minority homeowners who couldn't afford them, foreclosures devastated minority communities across the country.... Many banks also violated judicial foreclosure proceedings when they signed hundreds of thousands of foreclosure documents without reviewing them, also known as robo signing."  
      She said Mnuchin's questionable business practices earned him the title of "Foreclosure King." She said that as a senior executive at Goldman Sachs for 17 years he was "an evangelist for the types of financial transactions, credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations that crashed the economy in 2008. He said these instruments were 'an extremely positive development in terms of being able to finance different parts of the economy and different businesses effectively.' So what was essentially just business to him, devastated the economy and the lives of millions of people."  She also said that Mnuchin was deeply involved in subprime lending and was responsible for tens of thousands of foreclosures across the country. She said that his OneWest company "was among the worst offenders in robo-signing foreclosure documents." Hirono said a vice president of OneWest "admitted to signing 750 foreclosure documents per week while spending less than 30 seconds on each one.... A one West subsidiary Financial Freedom foreclosed on more than 16,000 seniors living on fixed income who had reverse mortgages....." She said a 90 year old woman's home was foreclosed over a 27 cent debt.
     Hirono also gave the example of a retired Navy civilian woman with a OneWest mortgage in Hilo who lost her home and described Mnuchin as "one of the architects of our meltdown." Hirono said Mnuchin is responsible for tens of thousands of foreclosures.
     Concerning Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary, Hirono testified,  "Throughout his campaign, President Trump made it clear that he wants to dismantle Dodd-Frank, eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and roll back financial regulations that will prevent another financial crisis. As Treasury Secretary, Mr. Mnuchin would be charged with implementing this agenda. Credible economists have warned that we could end up in another financial crisis. My question is who would a Secretary Mnuchin try to saveWall Street or the millions of people who will  be adversely impacted. His record shows which path Steve Mnuchin would choose."

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Lito Arkangel performs at Volcano on Wednesday evening.
Ka`u Farm Bureau meeting, Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the auxiliary room at the new gymnasium in Pahala at 6 p.m. Election of new officers is planned for the meeting, said Ka`u Farm Bureau President Brenda Iokepa-Moses.

Lito Arkangel is in concert Wednesday, Feb. 15 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Kilaeua Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The entertainer and songwriter shares his original compositions and other Hawaiian favorites. He  hails from the former sugar plantation town of ‘Ōla‘a, now known as Kea‘au. His love for Hawaiian music started as a young keiki, turning pages for his tūtū wahine (grandmother) while she played piano, and from decades of backyard jam sessions. Arkangel has since established himself as a popular entertainer throughout Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu Heavenly Voices presentations. Free.