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, March 21, 2017

Kau New Briefs Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The new Ka`u District Gym hosted its first regional karate seminar last weekend, under the auspices of
Pahala Dojo and the International Karate League. See story below. Photo from Dr. Cliff Field
THE WASHINGTON POST PICKED UP ON Sen. Mazie Hirono's analysis of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. She was one of the last Senators to question him at confirmation hearings in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Washington Post reporter Ed O`Keefe pointed out ahead of her questioning Gorsuch that Hirono "is the most-junior Democrat of the Senate Judiciary Committee, meaning she plays clean-up and goes last. But she’s been watching all day – and is frustrated by what she’s heard from Judge Neil Gorsuch."   
     After Gorsuch repeatedly declined to reveal his personal opinions on actions by President Donald Trump and on such issues as abortion and religious rights, campaign finance and the travel ban, Hirono told The Washington Post, “I think basically his position is – and it’s a safe one – that I will rely on precedent." O'Keefe quoted Hirono saying, "The Supremes can do pretty much what they want and that’s why it’s really important to figure out where his judicial philosophy is, where his values are, unless we just think that judges are just heartless automatons that just apply precedent. We could probably have an algorithm or whatever to figure out what the precedent is.”
    The Washington Post noted that "throughout the day, Democrats have failed to level any damaging blows on Gorsuch, leading Republicans to believe that the federal appellate judge will emerge from the confirmation hearing unscathed. And Hirono admitted that her party is struggling to build interest in the hearings."
     She told The Washington Post, “I don’t necessarily expect the public’s interest to be piqued by these proceedings and such. They will care when the decisions come down and affect their lives.” She said that Democrats instead are “very focused on the Russian interference in the elections or health-care. I know people are really concerned with what’s going to happen with Medicare and Medicaid. The Supreme Court seems kind of distant. But that doesn’t mean we won’t pursue the lines of questions that we’re going to pursue.”
    Hirono said she “would love for the voters back home to become engaged in the vote. Maybe they have other concerns – like they might lose their jobs if they’re a federal employee?” The Washington Post wrote that she was referring to "President Trump’s budget proposal that includes cutting tens of billions of dollars from federal agencies that would lead to job losses at places like the Environmental Protection Agency."  
Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Image from C-Span
     After Hirono questioned Gorsuch, she tweeted: "Judge Gorsuch's actions show that he would fit right in to this Court's pattern of putting corporations before people;" and, "Without clear answers, we are left to divine what Judge Gorsuch would bring to #SCOTUS in terms of judicial philosophy." 
    The hearing continues on Wednesday. See more at www.washingtonpost.com where the tag line is "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

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DURING A 30-MINUTE QUESTIONING OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEE NEIL GORSUCH, at the end of the 11-hour hearing before the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, Sen. Mazie Hirono told him that he hadn't shared his views on issues. She told Gorsuch that his judicial record and writings, however, show a "steady march toward protecting corporate interest over individual rights. That is not protecting the rights of the minority as you told me in our meeting, which is the purpose of Article III (of the U.S. Constitution)."
    Said she hoped that during her questioning that Gorsuch would "provide some reassurances that he would be a judge or justice for all Americans."
     Hirono pressed him for his opinion on campaign finance reform and talked about "unfettered" corporate money flowing into campaigns. She posed the scenario of a Russian oligarch providing money to American companies to influence elections.           
     Gorsuch declined to give his opinion on any possible scenario, but said that Congress has a lot of latitude in legislating campaign funding law. “The Supreme Court has made clear that foreign money in particular is an area where Congress has substantial authority available to them,” Gorsuch told Hirono.
Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch during his marathon Senate hearing Tuesday.
Sen Mazie Hirono questioned him.
     When Hirono asked Gorsuch about the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which eliminated federal restrictions on political spending by organizations, leading to large contributions to Political Action Committees, Gorsuch described "ample room" for further legislation. He said that just because the Supreme Court "struck down one law - that does not mean that every law will be stricken. It does not mean that Congress has no role.”
     Hirono also brought up the case of the Japanese American Fred Korematsu, who fought against internment and other mistreatments of Japanese in this country during World War II. The Supreme Court upheld the order to intern Japanese Americans and Hirono asked Gorsuch whether the ruling back then set a precedent for the Supreme Court if it were to deal with President Donald Trump's travel ban. Gorsuch said that the World War II decision would not be a precedent for the travel ban. 
     Hirono quoted President Trump's negative comments about judges who haven't agreed with him, including Hawai`i federal judge Derrick Kahala Watson who stopped the Trump travel ban. When she asked for Gorsuch to comment, he wouldn't name Trump in particular, but said that "anyone" talking disrespectfully of judges brought him great concern. 
    Gorsuch also said, "I can't get involved in politics." He stressed the importance of the independence of the judiciary and stated, "Judges have to be tough," and "take arrows from all sides."
     The hearing continues on Wednesday.

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KEEPING OUR COMMITMENT TO DISABLED VETERANS ACT has been introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono, the Democrat from Hawai`i, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, and Independent Sen. Angus King, of Maine.
     The legislation would extend an expiring requirement under law that the Department of Veterans Affairs provide nursing care for certain veterans with service-connected disabilities. Without extension by Congress beyond Dec. 31, the VA would no longer be required to provide this coverage. Around 350 Hawai`i veterans at nine public and private facilities across the state depend on VA reimbursement for their nursing home care needs. The closest VA facility to Ka`u that would be affected is the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home in Hilo.
     David R. Pettijohn, Administrator of the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, said, “Senator Hirono’s Keeping Our Commitment to Disabled Veterans Act would ensure veterans with 70 percent or greater military service related disabilities would not lose this VA benefit.
     "Loss of this VA payment source would create a devastating financial burden for residents currently being served at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home. The burden for the care of these veterans would ultimately shift back to the Federal VA or the State Medicaid system. Ultimately it would put the entire State Veterans Home program at risk.”
     Hirono noted that “VA coverage of nursing home care has helped hundreds of Hawai`i veterans and their families afford comprehensive services to maintain their quality of life and care for their service-connected conditions."
     Said Collins, "We owe it to our veterans to provide them with the high-quality health care they have earned through their service to our country. By extending the authorization for nursing home coverage, our bipartisan legislation would make sure that service-disabled veterans receive the care, resources, and support that they need.”
     Dave Riley, National Commander of Disabled American Veterans, said, “Extending this provision would help to ensure continuity and stability for the tens of thousands of veterans who rely on nursing home care every day. These veterans, many who are aging and severely injured or ill, cannot afford disruptions to their established care and treatment."
    The Keeping Our Commitment to Disabled Veterans Act is also supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Association of State Veterans Homes.
     According to VA, around 35,000 veterans nationwide and nearly 350 Hawai`i veterans have received care through this authority in FY2016. During this time period, the total amount spent by VA in Hawai`i on this care is approximately $33 million.
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International Karate League founder Walter Nishioka and Julian Shiroma led a karate seminar at Ka`u
District Gym last weekend. Photo from Dr. Cliff Field
A REGIONAL KARATE SEMINAR graced the new Ka`u District Gymnasium last Saturday, March 18. International Karate League hosted the event along with its Pahala Dojo led by Senseis Cliff and Susan Field. Dojos from around the island participated in the daylong seminar and training. Presiding over the seminar was IKL’s founder Walter Nishioka (Shihan) and Julian Shiroma (Hanshi).
       The training covered basic techniques and katas of various difficulty. A portion was also dedicated to learning kumite (sparring) and how to judge and referee kumite matches. The event was also used as an opportunity for Jake Villa, who is a junior black belt in the Pahala Dojo, to successfully pass his test to become a full adult Black Belt.
      During and following the training, refreshments were supplied by O Ka`u Kakou and plate lunches were provided by Gary Tamondong and the members of the Pahala Dojo.
The Pahala dojo would like to thank those who provided use of the facility, OKK for providing refreshments, and individuals who donated their time and food to make the event a success.
     The Pahala Dojo trains every Tuesday and Friday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 at the Pahala Community Center and new students are welcomed.

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Vendors can sign up for the annual Ka`u Coffee
Festival Ho`olaulea to be held Saturday, May 27.
Photo by Julia Neal

VENDORS FOR THE NINTH ANNUAL KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL are invited to sign up for the Ho`olaulea to be held on the grounds of  Pahala Community Center on Saturday, May 27. Check www.kaucoffeefest.com for a vendor form and the latest information. See more on the Ka`u Coffee Festival events in Wednesday's Ka`u News Briefs.

Exploring Tunnel Books, Sat, Mar 25, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Participants take a trip down the rabbit hole with Charlene Asato. $35/$32 VAC members plus $10 material fee. 967-8222

Ecstatic Dance, Sat, Mar 25, 2 – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. Participants discover a dynamic way to work out and meditate with Jo Caron. $15 or $20 at the door. 967-8222

Mongolian BBQ, Sat, Mar 25, 5 – 8 p.m., in the Crater Rim Café, located in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Pick what you want for $.85 per ounce from an array of veggies and proteins. Call 967-8356 for more details. KMC is open to all authorized KMC patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.