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Thursday, December 05, 2019

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, December 5, 2019

Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association, the union lobbied at the Hawaiʻi legislature for higher pay. Photo from HSTA
KAʻŪ TEACHERS ARE ONE STEP CLOSER TO HIGHER PAY after the Board of Education voted nine to two, today, to raise pay for special education and Hawaiian immersion teachers and other teachers who serve in remote locations. The pay hikes begin Jan. 7.
     Gov. David Ige pledged to secure the $14.7 million needed for the first six months of the program. In addition the state Department of Education, teachers union and the governor plan to lobby the 2020 legislature for $30.4 million to pay for the salary increase during the July 2020 through June 2021 fiscal year.
     Under the initiative, teachers in rural, hard-to-fill positions, such as Kaʻū, would see a yearly pay rise of $3,000 to $8,000. Hawaiian language immersion teachers would receive an additional $8,000 per year. Special education teachers would receive an additional $10,000 per year.
     For more details, see yesterday's Kaʻū News Briefs.

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THE NAVY SUBMARINER WHO KILLED TWO CIVILIAN PEARL HARBOR SHIPYARD WORKERS, injured another, and fatally shot himself yesterday, has been identified. Officials report that the shooter was 22-year-old active-duty sailor Gabriel Romero. Around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, while standing watch over the U.S.S. Columbia nuclear powered submarine undergoing repairs at Pearl Harbor Shipyard, Romero shot the three shipyard personnel with his M4 service rifle, then used his M9 service pistol to kill himself, according to numerous news services. The gunman's motivation is still unclear.
     All three victims are members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 121. A statement from the union said, "These victims are not only dedicated IFPTE union members, they are hard-working public servants who go to work each day to serve the taxpayers and our military forces. They are reflective of the thousands of workers at Pearl Harbor and elsewhere that go to work to earn a living and secure their nation. No workers should have to go to work without the expectations of safely returning to their family and loved ones."
     The union stated all three workers were quality assurance inspectors. They checked work such as welding by shipyard workers.
     The identity of one of the three shipyard has also been released. According to a statement from his family, Vincent Kapoi Jr., 30 years old, was a husband, son, brother, and uncle, and was of Native Hawaiian and Filipino heritage.
U.S.S. Columbia submarine where sailor Gabriel Romero served before
taking the lives of Pearl Harbor Shipyard workers and himself.
Photo from Wikipedia
     Said Sen. Brian Schatz: "Our thoughts are with all of the people affected by this tragedy, especially the families of the victims. For over a century, the Navy, their local civilian colleagues, and the greater Pearl Harbor community have worked together every day to protect our nation. That legacy is deeply woven into our history and our state. While we honor the memory of those whose lives were tragically cut short, we also offer our gratitude to the Navy and local first responders who quickly took action with skill and courage."
     Rep. Tulsi Gabbard responded to the incident late yesterday: "Sending my aloha and well wishes to the victims of today’s shooting at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. Our gratitude goes out to the first responders who took action to secure the base and keep people safe."

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ALMOST 500 SNAP RECIPIENTS IN HAWAIʻI are likely to be affected by new rules handed down by the federal government. Changes by the Trump administration to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called Food Stamps, would require able bodied recipients without children, 18-49 years of age, to work at least 80 hours a month or enroll in job training, for at least three months out of 36, to receive SNAP benefits for more than three months. The changes take effect April 1, 2020.
     Presently, states can extend SNAP benefits beyond three months if the area's unemployment rate is 20 percent higher than the national average. The changes remove that option unless the area has an unemployment rate that is at least six percent, about double the national rate of 3.6. Hawaiʻi's unemployment rate is about 2.7 percent statewide, but it is 3.6 percent in Hawaiʻi County, so anyone able-bodied and age 18-49, with no dependents, who is receiving an extension, may lose benefits.
     Said Hirono, "Every year, millions in our country go hungry. Instead of fixing this crisis, Donald Trump has rolled out a new rule that will take away #SNAP benefits for over 700,000 more Americans. As always with this administration, the cruelty is the point."
    U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told reporters the changes are meant to "restore the dignity of work to a sizable segment of our population and be respectful of the taxpayers who fund the program. Americans are generous people who believe it is their responsibility to help their fellow citizens when they encounter a difficult stretch. That's the commitment behind SNAP, but, like other welfare programs, it was never intended to be a way of life."
     Brandon Lipps, deputy undersecretary for USDA's Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, said about 688,000 people nationwide will lose access to food stamps. He said that this was an extension of Pres. Donald Trump's April 2018 executive order, "Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility." The work requirement rule is expected to save the government $5.5 billion over five years, said Lipps.
     Stacy Dean, the food assistance policy vice president at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told NCB News, "The policy targets very poor people struggling to work – some of whom are homeless or living with health conditions. Taking away basic food assistance from these individuals will only increase hardship and hunger, while doing nothing to help them find steady full-time work."

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Craig Hirai, new Director of the state Dept. of
Budget and Finance.
CRAIG HIRAI WILL BE THE NEW STATE DIRECTOR OF DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET & FINANCE  if he is approved by the state Senate. His appointment by Gov. David Ige is effective Dec. 16. He would replace Neal Miyahira, who will return to his position as budget division administrator at the Department of Budget and Finance.
     Said Ige, "Craig's extensive experience and knowledge, along with his administrative skill set will serve our state well. I am elated that Craig has agreed to come onboard as a member of my cabinet. I would also like to thank Neal Miyahira for agreeing to temporarily serve as Budget and Finance director and for doing a fine job while we searched for a permanent candidate."
     Hirai has served as executive director of the Hawai‘i Housing Finance & Development Corporation (HHFDC), State of Hawai‘i since 2013. He is also the sole member of Craig K. Hirai, CPA, LLC. Previously, Hirai was a consultant (shareholder/director) at Bowen Hunsaker Hirai Consulting, Inc. and Bowen Hunsaker Hirai, Certified Public Accountants. In addition, Hirai has worked as a tax attorney in private practice.
     Hirai is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) where he earned an M.S. in accounting and an M.B.A. He went on to earn his J.D. at Hastings College of Law at the University of California San Francisco, and his LL.M – a Master of Laws (in taxation), a post-graduate law degree from New York University.  

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TAKE PRECAUTIONS AGAINST THEFT during the holiday season, urges Hawaiʻi Island police. In a statement, HPD advises the public that, with more cars parked at shopping areas or at home while their owners are out shopping or attending parties, criminals have more opportunities to break the law by committing car theft, identity theft, and stealing items from within vehicles. To help prevent vehicle thefts and thefts of items in vehicles, police offer these tips:
     Remove keys from vehicle ignition when not in vehicle. Always take keys when departing a vehicle. Never hide a second set of keys in a vehicle. Lock all vehicles when not in use. Park in attended lots and in well-lit areas. Never leave a vehicle running, even if leaving for a short time. Completely close all windows of parked vehicles. At home, park vehicles in a locked garage, if possible. Back any rear-wheel-drive vehicles into a driveway to make it more difficult to tow. When parking on the street, turn vehicle wheels toward the curb to make it more difficult to tow. Set the emergency brake to make a parked car more difficult to tow.
     Do not leave valuables or paperwork in plain sight. Eliminate drawing unwanted attention to contents in a vehicle by placing packages or bags and other tempting items – especially cell phones and other electronic equipment – out of sight.
     To reduce the threat of theft or identity theft, follow these tips:
     When shopping, do not leave purses or bags unattended in shopping carts. All it takes is a split second for a thief to walk by, remove a bag, and flee undetected. Shoppers should keep their bags or purses on their person and zipped or snapped shut. When paying for merchandise, be wary of openly displaying checkbooks or credit cards, as they contain vital financial information that identity thieves can write down or photograph with smart phones. If paying with cash, avoid openly displaying the contents of a wallet. When approaching a vehicle to load purchases, keep at least one hand free to open a trunk or doors. While loading packages, don't leave a handbag or purse unattended. Do not leave any papers with personal information in a car; even blank papers might tempt a thief to break into a car in an attempt to steal information.
     Police ask the public to report any suspicious activities by calling HPD's non-emergency line at 935-3311.

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MAGIC OF THE SEASON open house starts Monday, Dec. 9 at the Hawaiʻi County Building in Hilo. The free, annual event runs nightly, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., through Friday, Dec. 13. Schedule of events is:
     Monday, Dec. 9 – Kris Fuchigami & Mom, The Longakit ʻOhana, and DD and the High Rollers.
     Tuesday, Dec. 10 – Iwalani Kalima & Hula Hālau O Kou Lima Nani ʻE, Patio Productions, and Mark Yamanaka.
     Wednesday, Dec. 11 – Christy Lassiter, Raily-Wood Band, and Lopaka & Friends.
     Thursday, Dec. 12 – Randy Lorenzo & Friends, Lori Lei's Hula Studio, and Hawaii County Band.
     Friday, Dec. 13 – Ben Kaili & Friends, Bending Elbows, and Darlene Ahuna.
     Donations of non-perishable food for the Hawaiʻi Island Food Bank are welcome from all attendees.

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Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
See monthly and weekly Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, and Meditation at kaucalendar.com.

Fit & Firm Volcano Medium Intensity Strength Adult Exercise Class - 4 weeks, Fridays, starting Dec. 6, 8-9a.m.,Volcano Art Center. Payment in full of $36 due at first class session, check or exact change. No make-ups, roll-overs, or prorating for missed classes. Limited to 15 people. Must call to reserve spot in advance. No drop-ins. Puakea, 315-9130, volcanoartcenter.org, soulfitnesshawaiipksm.com

Stewardship at the Summit, Dec. 6, 13, 21 and 28, 8:45a.m., meet Paul and Jane Field at Kīlauea Visitor Center, HVNP. Volunteers remove invasive, non-native plant species that prevent native plants from growing in the park. Wear sturdy hiking shoes, long pants. Bring hat, rain gear, day pack, sunscreen, snacks, and water. Gloves and tools provided. Parental/Guardian accompaniment or written consent required for under 18. 985-6101, nps.gov/havo/

Strong Seniors Chair Exercise Class - 4 weeks, Fridays, starting Dec. 6, 10-11a.m.,Volcano Art Center. Payment in full of $45 due at first class session, check or exact change. No make-ups, roll-overs or prorating for missed classes. No drop ins. Limited to 15 people. Reserve spot in advance. Puakea, 315-9130, volcanoartcenter.orgsoulfitnesshawaiipksm.com 

AdvoCATS, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7a.m.-4:30p.m.Ocean View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

Painting from Observation with Lisa Maria Martin, Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, 9a.m.-3p.m.Volcano Art Center. For beginners and intermediate. All supplies provided. $220/VAC member, $240/non-member. See supplies required. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

Realms and Divisions, Saturday, Dec. 7, 9:30-11:30a.m., Kahuku Unit, HVNP. Free, moderately difficult, two-mile, hike. Bring snack. nps.gov/havo

Ocean View C.E.R.T. Mtg., Saturday, Dec. 7, 10a.m.-1p.m.Ocean View Community Center. Community Emergency Response Team monthly meeting and training. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Keiki Science Class, Saturday, Dec. 7 – 1st Saturday, monthly – 11a.m.-noon, Ace Hardware Stores islandwide; Nā‘ālehu, 929-9030 and Ocean View, 929-7315. Free. acehardware.com

Blackwater Railroad Company Band, Saturday, Dec. 7, 7-10p.m.Kīlauea Military Camp's Lava Lounge, in HVNP. $5 cover charge. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. kilaueamilitarycamp.com

41st Pāhala Christmas Parade, Sunday, Dec. 8, starts at Pāhala Armory. Parade participants can still sign up by calling Eddie Andrade at 928-0808. See floats and trailers with Christmas characters and music, classic cars, Kaʻū Coffee farmers, churches, schools, and community groups representing the holiday spirit. Receive the well wishes of Santa and candy thrown with help from his elves. After the parade, Holy Rosary Church traditionally hosts participants and attendees for a free lunch on the church grounds. Eddie Andrade, 928-0808

Pele & Hi‘iaka, Sunday, Dec. 8, 9:30-11:30a.m., Kahuku Unit, HVNP. Free, moderate, one-mile walk. nps.gov/havo

Medicine for the Mind: Teachings in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, Sunday, Dec. 8 – 2nd Sunday, monthly – 3-5p.m.Volcano Art Center. Free; calabash donations welcome. Dress warmly. Patty Johnson, 345-1527, volcanoartcenter.org

Accordion Paper Reindeer Activity Registration, Dec. 9-17, Ka‘u District Gym. Program takes place Wednesday, Dec. 18, 3:30-5p.m., multipurpose room. Grades K-6. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

Birding at Kīpukapuaulu, Tuesday, Dec. 10 and 24, and Thursday, Dec. 12 and 26, 8-10a.m., Kīpukapuaulu - Bird Park - Parking Lot, HVNP. Led by retired USGS Biologist Nic Sherma. Two hour birding tour. $40/person. Register online. Organized by Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. 985-7373, admin@fhvnp.orgfhvnp.org

Cultural Understanding Through Art & the Environment: Lauhala Weaving Ku‘uipo Kakahiki-Morales, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 11a.m.-1p.m.Volcano Art Center. $10 per person supply fee. 967-8222volcanoartcenter.org

After Dark in the Park: 100th Anniversary of the Mauna Iki Eruption, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 7-8p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. UH Mānoa geologist Scott Rowland explains the significance of this eruption. Free; park entrance fees apply. 985-6011, nps.gov/havo

Moa Pahe‘e Games, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 10a.m.-noonKīlauea Visitor Center lānai. Similar to ‘ulu maika, this game requires a little more strength and skill. In celebration of the annual Makahiki season. Free; park entrance fees apply. 985-6101, nps.gov/havo

Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka‘ū, Thursday, Dec. 12, 6:30p.m.United Methodist Church, Nā‘ālehu. Pres. Berkeley Yoshida, 747-0197

Santa's Workshop Event Registration, through Dec. 11, Ka‘ū District Gym. Event takes place Thursday, Dec. 12, 6-7:30p.m. All ages. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

Christmas Coloring Contest Registration, through Dec. 11, Ka‘ū District Gym. Deadline for entries is Thursday, Dec. 12, 6p.m. Grades Pre-K to 6. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

Holiday Ornament Registration, through Dec. 16, Kahuku Park. Program takes place Wednesday, Dec. 18, 3-4p.m. Ages 6-14. 929-9113, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

Christmas in the Country featuring 20th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit, daily, through Dec. 31, Volcano Art Center Gallery. Free; park entrance fees apply. 967-7565, volcanoartcenter.org

T-Ball and Coach Pitch Baseball League: Ocean View Team - Mondays and Wednesdays, Kahuku Park. Nā‘ālehu Team - Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nā‘ālehu Park. Pāhala Team (seeking coaches) - attend Nā‘ālehu practice. T-Ball, 3:30-4:30pm, ages 5-6. Coach Pitch, 4:30-6p.m., ages 7-8. Programs take place through April 16. Wear cleats or tennis shoes, bring a glove if possible. Extras gloves available for use. All skills and genders welcome. $35 per teammate. See Ka‘ū Youth Baseball on Facebook. Josh or Elizabeth Crook, 345-0511

Tūtū & Me Home Visiting Program is a free service to Pāhala families with keiki, birth to five years old. This caregiver support program offers those taking care of young keiki "a compassionate listening ear, helpful parenting tips and strategies, fun and exciting activities, and wonderful educational resources" from Tūtū & Me Traveling Preschool. Home visits are one hour in length, two to four times per month, for 12 to 15 visits. Snacks are provided. See pidfoundation.org or call 808-938-1088.

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