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Saturday, July 02, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Friday, July 1, 2022

Nāʻālehu's Independence Day Parade is Saturday, July 2  at 11 a.m. along Hwy 11 and often features the
County of Hawai'i Band. Photo by Julia Neal

REAFFIRMATION OF THE COUNTY'S  COMMITMENT TO WORKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE came from Mayor Mitch Roth on Friday in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling limiting the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions of power plants. A statement from the mayor says, "The June 30th ruling of 6-3 'in favor' goes against the nation's efforts to reduce the carbon footprint and combat climate change globally. However, the EPA maintains that it has authority to address greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, and EPA Administrator Regan said in an Associated Press article published earlier this week that the agency "will move forward with lawfully setting and implementing environmental standards that meet our obligation to protect all people and all communities from environmental harm." 
   Roth said, "We remain committed to our goal of fostering a sustainable Hawaiʻi Island where our keiki can thrive and succeed for generations to come. Regardless of decisions made on the Federal level, we have the power to take action on a local level, and that's powerful. As a county, we will continue efforts to shift our fleet to 100 percent alternative fuel vehicles, pressure the Governor to declare an energy emergency to fasttrack the PUC and get us closer to our goal of 100% renewable energy by 2045, and push forward on our 1t.org pledge to help plant one million trees on Hawaiʻi Island before 2030 to help with carbon drawdown and combat global climate change. 
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to cut back on the power of the EPA to tackle climate change led to a reaffirmation of County of Hawai'i's Climate Action Plan, which includes the planting of one million trees.
Photo from Hawai'i County
  "In addition, we will continue working toward our Climate Action Plan and engaging partners statewide to join our efforts." 
    The County of Hawaiʻi Research & Development Climate Action Plan works to identify values, actions, and implement strategies that directly relate to the needs and concerns of Hawaiʻi Island. "The County of Hawaiʻi also continues to commit to the Paris Climate Change Agreement and work towards the goal of 100% renewable transportation by 2045 to lower greenhouse gas emissions," says the county statement.
    Concerning Hawaiʻi County's climate history, the mayor noted that in 2017, "Hawai'i County joined the Climate Mayors network to uphold the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, hold global warming to 1.5 degrees C, and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that benefits our people's security, prosperity, and health."
    In December 2017, Mayor Harry Kim joined other Hawai'i counties in a pledge to transform transportation by signing a Proclamation of Commitment to 100% Renewable Ground Transportation by 2045. This would ensure that all public and private ground transportation is fueled by renewable energy by 2045.                         
    County of Hawai'i also pledged to lead by example and establish a goal of  operating a 100 percent renewable-powered city fleet by 2035. 

Mayor Roth at the TEDx County of Hawaiʻi event hosted in 2021 as part of a TEDx Countdown to Climate 

Change series.

    In October 2019, the Hawai'i County Council passed Resolution 322-19, declaring a Hawai'i County climate emergency and requesting regional collaboration towards an immediate, just transition and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate. The County of Hawai'i completed the 2015 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory Report in January 2020, which was developed to serve as a basis for understanding emissions trends and where to prioritize reduction efforts in a County Climate Action Plan.     
     Following the GHG Inventory, the first draft of the County of Hawai'i Climate Action Plan was released for public comment. This document "is the next step forward for Hawai'i County to reach its Greenhouse Gas emissions goals and protect our communities health and safety. Implementing the actions and strategies outlined in this plan will enable Hawai'i Island to become more sustainable and self-reliant while embracing its role in mitigating global climate change," says the county statement.
    In March 2020, the Hawai'i County Council passed Bill 142 to amend Chapter 2, Article 8, Section 2-37 of the Hawai'i County Code 1983 (2016 edition, as amended), relating to the Department of Research & Development's Sustainability Action Committee. The amendment includes climate change in the subjects the committee can advise on. It also includes environmental science as a basis on which a member can serve on the committee. The County Council provided more information on the Department of Research & Developments' alignment with the Sustainability Action Committee. In July 2020, the County of Hawai'i signed on to the Climate Mayors Congressional Letter delivered to leaders in D.C. advocating a zero-carbon green economy that creates good-paying jobs and prioritizes equity.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm

FOOD SYSTEMS SPECIALIST WITH Hawaiʻi County's Department of Research & Development, has been accepted into the 2022 Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Sarah Freeman is one of 50 awarded a full scholarship as a Bloomberg Fellow to pursue a Master of Public Health. 
    The Bloomberg American Health Initiative Fellowship aims to create experts to combat the nation's five most critical health challenges: addiction and overdose, adolescent health, environmental challenges, obesity and the food system, and violence.
Sarah Freeman, Food system Specialist with County of
Hawai'i has received a Bloomberg Health Fellowship.
   Freeman has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from UC Berkeley, concentrating on urban agriculture, conflict resolution, and city repair. As a Food System Specialist, she focuses on improving Hawaiʻi's food systems by working with government and community-initiated projects to foster a sustainable and thriving Hawaiʻi Island.
    "We are proud to support Sarah through this incredible opportunity in hopes that she will return home with added skillsets to better serve our community," said Mayor Mitch Roth. "Her excellent work for the County as a collaborative organizer in food systems made her the perfect candidate for the Bloomberg Fellowship. We look forward to her return and wish her the best throughout her fellowship. Food security is a key component of a sustainable community, and we will remain committed to bolstering production islandwide."
     Of five crucial health challenges facing the nation, Freeman will be focusing on the obesity and food system challenges throughout her Master's program. "Freeman will continue to be supported by the County of Hawaiʻi Department of Research & Development through her studies and will continue to help the community after she receives her degree. In addition, the skills and tools she will gain from her Master of Public Health and focus on obesity and the food system will aid her
continued work as a Food System Specialist for the County of Hawaiʻi," says the statement from the county.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm

THIS INDEPENDENCE DAY WEEKEND, Hawai‘i Police Department is participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over impaired driving awareness campaign. The primary goal of the law enforcement presence will be to prevent the tragedies previously seen around the July 4th holiday.
    According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
11,654 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes that involved an alcohol-impaired driver in 2020. Last year, 493 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes over the July 4th holiday period (6 p.m. July 2 to 5:59 a.m. July 6). Of those fatalities, 41 percent (201) occurred in alcohol-impaired driving crashes.
    On this island, traffic fatalities have increased dramatically compared to last year. To date there have been 20 traffic deaths on island, compared to 12 this time last year.
   Of the 12 traffic fatalities at this time last year, being impaired was a factor in ten of them. So far this year, test results have shown that impairment is a factor in seven of the 20 fatalities. However it should be noted that test results for 10 of the fatalities have not been finalized, so this number may increase significantly, says a statement from HPD.
    “While we wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday, we need to be clear that drunk driving in Hawai’i is 100 percent illegal and completely dangerous,” said Torey Keltner, Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Program Manager, “especially in light of the dramatic increase in traffic fatalities we’ve seen so far this year.”
    “It’s important to understand that there’s absolutely no excuse for drinking and driving, impairment can occur even after just one alcoholic beverage. Being impaired at all means your ability perceive a situation, understand the correct course of action, and react to it are distorted and/or slowed.
    “Sometimes fractions of seconds in a traffic crash are the difference between life and death,” said Keltner. He adds that Hawai‘i Police Department will be out in force conducting saturation patrols and DUI checkpoints to help keep Hawai‘i Island residents safe.
    “Being arrested for a DUI costs thousands of dollars and it means you put yourself, your passengers and everyone on the road at risk.
    “There are many options for getting home safe, other than driving a vehicle while impaired. Call a friend, a family member, and nowadays you can call a ride share or taxi very easily. It doesn’t cost a lot for sober ride and you can avoid very dangerous situations and potentially life altering events.”
    With many Fourth of July festivities wrapping up late in the evening, nighttime hours are particularly dangerous: Over the 2020 July 4th holiday period, of the 201 people who died in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle traffic crashes, 85 percent of the crashes were at night (6 p.m.–5:59 a.m.).
    Police urge motorists to drive responsibly this holiday weekend and have a safe driving plan. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Hawai‘i Police Department recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving:
    Designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely. It could save you $10,000 on a DUI.
    When seeing a drunken driver on the road, contact the police department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311 or in case of emergency, 911.
    Have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to for the friend to return home safely.
    "This Fourth of July, commit to only driving 100-percent sober. Don’t lose your independence on Independence Day, and don’t be a deadly risk to yourself and other innocent people. Remember: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over." says the HPD statement.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/04/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.htm

VOLCANO VILLAGE FOURTH OF JULY PARADE welcomes walking and riding groups and individuals. It is sponsored by Volcano Community Association in Volcano Village from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.. The Monday, July 4 parade starts at the Post Office at 9 a.m. and ends at Cooper Center on Wright Rd., followed by Cooper Center's Independence Day celebration packed with live entertainment, craft and food vendors, keiki games and a large silent auction from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Parking maps can be found at www.thecoopercenter.org. (No parking at Cooper Center except handicap permitted vehicles with prior reservation.)

SPONSOR A BUCKLE, VOTE FOR RODEO QUEEN ahead of the Saturday, July 9 Rodeo organized by Kaʻū Roping & Riding Association and ʻO Kaʻū Kākou. Event to be held on the rodeo grounds behind Nāʻālehu Park. Call 808-854-7917.

BECOME A SPONSOR AT THE 3RD ANNUAL EXPERIENCE VOLCANO FESTIVAL on Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Last year, over 2,500 visitors attended and over 40 events were featured during the EVH festival. Sign up as a sponsor at experiencevolcano.com. If you have questions, contact experiencevolcano@gmail.com
All vendor locations are taken.
SIGN UP FOR KAʻŪ COFFEE TRAIL RUNS with a change of date from July 3 to Sept. 17. Registration deadline for the annual event is Sept. 14. Organized by Hawaiʻi Island Racers, the 50K begins at 6 a.m., Half Marathon at 7 a.m., and 5K at 7:15 a.m., all starting from Kaʻū Coffee Mill at 96-2696 Wood Valley Road in Pāhala. Proceeds go to support ʻO Kaʻū Kākou. For more details on the event and registration fees, visit https://www.kaucoffeetrailruns.com/.