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, January 24, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023

Gov. Josh Green put forth his Green Affordability Plan with state income tax breaks for  Hawai'i families, along with tax breaks
for caregivers and teachers who use their own money for such expenses as student school supplies. Photo from Gov. Green

THE SECOND HALF OF THE STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS on Monday by Gov. Josh Green follows, including his plans for tackling Cost of Living, Climate Crisis, Economic Development, Major Projects, Accountable Government, A Culture of Public Service, and "Our Dream and Our Destiny." He explains his Green Affordability Plan. In the governor's words:

COST OF LIVING: Two weeks ago, I testified in person before the House Finance Committee on the meaning of ALICE — Asset Limited, Income-Constrained, and Employed. These are families struggling to afford basic household necessities such as childcare, healthcare, and transportation. Families who must choose between buying food or medicine for their families — one paycheck or one health crisis away from slipping into poverty or facing eviction. Our cost of living is the highest in the country at nearly twice the national average.

See the 2022 ALICE report at
https://www.boh.com/siteassets/files/community
/alice-report-2022.pdf
   In Hawai‘i, we should not teeter on the brink of poverty in order to provide for our ‘ohana.
One job should enough to support a family.
Our plan takes the necessary steps to strengthen the health of ALICE families and communities.
The Green Affordability Plan cuts taxes and provides tax relief annually for the people that need it most.
If adopted in full by the legislature, it will provide over $300 million in tax relief to the people who need it most.
    This will help us get money into the pockets of working families so that they can purchase essential goods and services like food, medicine, and housing, which will in turn stimulate our economy.
    Following the recommendations of the 2020 Tax Commission, we will reform our tax code to provide for a cost-of-living adjustment in response to recent inflationary pressures. This plan provides universal tax relief by: Shifting Tax brackets to ensure that working families aren’t burdened by inflation; More than doubling the Standard Deduction from $2,200 to $5,000; and Doubling the personal exemption from $1,144 to $2,288.
    Under this plan, every income bracket in Hawai‘i will be paying less state income tax. This directly lowers Hawai‘i’s cost of living for every resident, by keeping more money in the pockets of every taxpayer. Under this proposal, a family of four in every income bracket can anticipate nearly $2,000 in savings due to reduced taxes, and lower income families will see even more savings.
    For many, this is the equivalent of a full extra monthly paycheck every year.
    In addition, the Green Affordability Plan intentionally rewards our families, caretakers, and educators by: Creating a new Educator Tax Credit of $500 per teacher; Providing our hardest-hit residents a Renters Credit of $350; Making the Food Excise Tax Credit available to a full 1/3 of taxpayers; and Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit from 20% to 30% of the federal amount.
     We’ll also take bold action to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Under our proposal, working families paying for daycare, babysitters, summer camps, after school care, and adult daycare will be eligible for up to $10,000 of support from the state.This will provide a huge relief for working families and help reduce the choice that many face — whether to start a family or to invest in a career. This plan will grow our economy, ensure healthier kupuna and keiki, and reduce the burden placed on family caretakers across our state.
    Hawai‘i families should not have to choose between a job and childcare, between rent and healthcare, between school supplies and dinner. The Green Affordability Plan is essential relief from the economic burdens forcing too many families to leave our islands.We thought long and hard about how resources are allocated and invested in state priorities. When we invest in families, we invest in our future — and our return on investment is unlimited.
    The people of Hawai‘i deserve generational tax reform. This reform will help us build a more equitable future, where our people can be more productive and more secure. A future where residents are not one paycheck away from crisis. A future where our priorities reflect our values, and we can all rise together as one ‘ohana.

OUR CLIMATE CRISIS: Tax relief provides immediate support to families across our state, but we also need to take action to protect our environment and our planet, which will have direct and long- term effects on our economy now and into the future. This is why addressing climate change today is so important. The impact of climate change is wide-ranging. As an island state, climate change threatens our economy, culture, environment, and the sustainability of our way of life. That’s why I announced our commitment to providing 100 million dollars for a climate impact fund steered by the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption Commission. We are committed to pursuing climate change strategies that are equitable, culturally responsive and resilient. This includes looking at the resiliency of the power grid, renewable energy, sustainable transportation, land use planning, sea level rise, health, natural and cultural resource impacts, and much more.
We have taken action and dedicated resources for these vital efforts — but we can’t do it alone.
    This fund will be open to contributions from anyone, whether locally or around the globe.
The revenues generated from visitor impact fees will fortify our efforts to protect Hawai‘i’s people and our way of life, and we will continue to take the impacts of climate change seriously.

Gov. Josh Green supports expansion of Japanese wedding
tourism to Hawai'i. Photo from Aloha Island Weddings

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Our administration will work to ensure that our economy: Fosters prosperity for our people; Creates opportunities for our keiki; Protects the unique character of Hawaiʻi, and Strengthens and supports our shared values.
    We will not sit passively on the sidelines any longer when it comes to our economic development.We will reach out beyond our shores and seek opportunities for our people.
In doing so, we will fulfill the promise that Governor Burns saw for our state, and in his words, Hawai‘i “…will finally assume our rightful place in the Pacific sun.”
    We are the center of the Pacific — linking together Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the broader United States.
    In the coming years, we will reposition our economy to pursue global opportunities — retooling tourism, developing green technologies, and expanding our reach into international markets for our small businesses and our world-class professional sector. We will begin to move our economy beyond tourism, become energy independent, and fulfill our potential as a economic and renewable energy leader in the Pacific.
    We have been working with partners to convene Japanese and local businesses in key sectors for
Hawai‘i's economy, like the international wedding industry, which brings in over 20% of all visitors from Japan. Welcoming more visitors like our Japanese neighbors means we can generate more revenue for local businesses while taking in fewer tourists overall. We are also working on new plans to increase the export of locally-made and locally- grown products with our regional partners.
    Despite being the 41-largest state by population, we rank last of all US states in overall economic exports — a statistic that needs to change. Our economy is rife with untapped potential. We will encourage our small business and professional services sectors to seek new markets beyond our islands.
    We will strengthen Native Hawaiian-owned businesses, support Hawaiian agricultural food production like taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, and promote indigenous farming practices to keep our people more physically, mentally, and spiritually nourished.
    Diversifying our crops and food systems will help us connect with the land and each other as we strive to grow what we eat and eat what we grow, deepening our connection to our ‘āina.
    By advocating for our local interests and through dialogue with our partners, we can create more opportunities for Hawai‘i’s people.

Gov. Josh Green said he wants to bring in one billion dollars to invest in hydrogen for renewable energy.
Photo from Millennium Reign Energy

    I am pleased to share that we are working on an initiative with federal, community, and international partners to pursue investments in cutting-edge hydrogen technologies for Hawai‘i. Through cooperation with partners in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States Congress, this technology can help stabilize the Pacific’s energy resilience, promote our defense infrastructure, and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
    To that end, we are preparing a historic application to potentially bring in over a billion dollars in federal and private sector investments to our state through a regional Hydrogen Hub.
    The integration of hydrogen technology into our grid, along with the continued expansion of traditional renewable energy infrastructure, will give utilities, businesses, and local talent an international advantage, with the potential to turn our state into a regional energy exporter.
    Through proactive efforts like these, Hawai‘i is leading our Pacific neighbors into the future.
    Not just through defense initiatives, but through greater economic, energy, and cultural integration. And by leveraging our climate investments, our renewable enregy and environmental expertise, and our unique geographic location, we can achieve even greater economic diversification.

MAJOR PROJECTS: We also need to address two major projects — the stadium and a new correctional facility. We all want a stadium, a place where we can be proud of our sports teams. We want a stadium for our university, our families, and our broader community. When the Aloha Stadium first opened in September 1975, the arena was a great triumph. But times have changed, and so have the needs of Hawai‘i’s people. For a project of this size, we must be thoughtful, thorough, and analytical. We’ve
Gov. Josh Green says he wants to replace O'ahu Community
Correctional Center with a modern prison. He also plans
to replace Aloha Stadium with a new sports venue.
Photo from Department of Corrections

already addressed the benefits of a public-private partnership in the future development of the Aloha Stadium, but such a partnership will only work if the state gets a fair deal.
    We are carefully reviewing our options and we will go forward on the best deal available. But we can’t afford to wait — the longer the delay, the higher the cost.
    The same goes for replacing the obsolete O‘ahu Community Correctional Center. To replace the OCCC, we need to build a modern, new correctional facility that is safe, secure, and humane, that has the capacity to provide rehabilitation, counseling, education, and job training opportunities to inmates, at the same time it protects the public.
    Almost all of those convicted of non-violent crimes and held in our correctional facilities will one day return to our communities, and will be living alongside us as our neighbors. We must move toward a restorative approach to justice rather than strictly punitive one.
   As my administration reviewed the details of these projects, we saw that the previous legislature provided general fund monies to begin the construction of a new stadium and plan construction of the new jail.For projects of this size, we need to work together and reach consensus — these two projects will continue to be debated in the coming legislative session. Again, our goal will be to secure the best deal for the state and get these projects moving forward as quickly as possible.

ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNMENT: Our state deserves transparent and accountable government. Without good governance, without trust, without ethical standards, how can we truly serve the people and make progress for our state? Corruption must be taken seriously and rooted out — the abuse of power is an affront to the people of Hawai‘i. Corruption is the basis of the widespread pessimism which people express openly across our state. To be a public servant is to be responsible — it is a privilege to carry this responsibility.I have directed our new Attorney General to take seriously corruption and ethics reform in state and county government.
    I agree with the recommendations of the House Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct — it’s time to “rebuild integrity and trust in government.” I look forward to working with the Legislature on taking this course of action, and I will sign any common-sense legislation that achieves meaningful ethics reform in state government.
    We’ll hold everyone in Hawai‘i to the highest standards of ethics and accountability — and the federal government and its institutions are no exception.
    We must hold the U.S. Navy accountable for the environmental disaster at Red Hill and shut it down. Hawai‘i must never again risk leaks or spills of any toxic substance into our water supply.
    This means that any entity or organization that wants to operate in our state must fully understand, respect, and comply with the same absolute commitment — Hawai‘i will not tolerate pollution of our water. The current oversight of Red Hill is not strong enough. Like so many citizens, I am not satisfied with last week’s presentation from the Navy and the EPA.
https://www.oha.org/wp-content/uploads/MMNHWG-Report_Web.pdf
    The Navy needs to be one-hundred percent transparent and open with the public and their elected leaders. Our administration intends to approach Red Hill like we dealt with the pandemic — with continual monitoring, analysis, and transparent updates to the public.
    Enhanced oversight, frequent updates, and constant communication about the draining of the tanks, the quality of our water and progress to permanently close Red Hill will be led by our Deputy Director of Health in partnership with the Board of Water Supply’s leadership.
    Finally, I have tasked our Attorney General with addressing a chilling reality described in the Missing and Murdered Native Hawaiian Women and Girls Task Force’s report, which finds that Native Hawaiian women and girls experience gender-based violence at rates disproportionate to the population. The very recognition of this matter is a critical first step towards reckoning with the depth of this horrifying issue, and we are committed to providing the resources to end these crimes against Native Hawaiian women.
When it comes to governance, sunlight, open windows, and plenty of fresh air are the best disinfectants.
This is why I agree with the call from the Civil Beat Law Center and their partners — our government documents should be easily accessible and virtually cost-free to obtain.
    We need to build trust — and to do that we must be open, transparent, and accountable to the people.



A CULTURE OF PUBLIC SERVICE:
 Over the last few weeks, the Legislature has conducted important Informational Briefings with our new cabinet and nominees. As we lean into our first Legislative session together, this administration comes to you in a spirit of full collaboration.
    Our nominees are stepping forward in a time of great adversity, willing to dedicate themselves heart and soul, to the work for the people of Hawai‘i. Several critical members of our cabinet — and our government — will require confirmation by the Senate in the coming weeks.
    Government in Hawai‘i cannot function without a qualified and dedicated corps of public servants to administer and implement our mandates and priorities.
Gop. Josh Green asked the state Senate to confirm his cabinet nominees, including
 these six. Front: Dawn Chang, Sharon Hurd, Ikaika Anderson. Back: Laura Ka’akua,
 Morris Atta, Katie Lambert Ducatt. Photo from Josh Green
   I extend my gratitude to our cabinet nominees who have stepped up to serve — leaders in their fields who are often willing to sacrifice time with their families and other professional opportunities for a life of public service. I would especially like to congratulate and welcome our many new women and Native Hawaiian leaders.
    They will smash the remaining glass ceilings in public service — and I am honored to sweep-up the debris they leave behind. I have set a high standard for these nominees, and they are already meeting and exceeding my expectations.
    The Senate must now vet and confirm them on their ability to do the job. There are moments when nominees can become collateral damage in political disputes that often have nothing to do with their ability and commitment to get things done for the people of Hawai‘i.
    Chronic conflict and dysfunction among branches of government is not good for any of us — especially when it doesn’t serve the interest of the people. I nominated these leaders because they can get the job done, and I ask you to let them do just that.With due diligence, I ask that you confirm these nominees. They will make Hawai‘i proud. Like you, they are public servants, and I ask you to respect them as they step forward into these roles.This is my team. This is Hawaiʻi's team.

OUR DREAM AND OUR DESTINY: Today we find ourselves at a crossroads — at a turning point in our history. We face enormous challenges as a state, and the strain of these challenges is slowly eroding the hopes and the dreams of our people. Thousands of families are voting with their feet, choosing to leave our islands in search of affordable housing and economic opportunity.Thousands more live in our streets, suffering without help, without hope, despairing for a better tomorrow.
    Climate change and industrial pollution threaten to permanently degrade our land and our water. These are tragedies we must not stand by and witness idly without doing everything in our power to change.
Gov. Josh Green gives his first State of the State, urging unity and one 'ohana. Photo from House Democrats

    Ultimately, we will not be judged by our words or our rhetoric — we will be judged by our actions and accomplishments.
    How will we secure the health of our state? How will we nurture the integrity of our people and culture? How will we create the quality of life that we desire? We’ll do it together — as one ‘ohana united by our shared values. We must provide economic relief and restore hope to our people. We must restore the health of our land and water. We must redeem the promise of Hawai‘i.
    In pursuit of these goals, here and now we commit ourselves to four years of decisive action — making progress every day, and never giving up. Hawaiʻi's people deserve ambitious goals, big dreams, and bold action.
    “The less foresighted may label us dreamers for expressing what may be regarded as overly grandiose thoughts,” Governor Burns said. “But dream we must, as we must pursue these dreams with vigor and energy, if we are to attain the greatness that is so patently the destiny of Hawaiʻi and its people.” Governor Burns was right. Hawaiʻi’s destiny IS greatness — a greatness born of our shared values.
    A greatness of family, community, and love — of rich diversity, tolerance, and unity. Of commitment, responsibility, and hope.
    Of reverence for our natural and cultural heritage and our shared history. We are the inheritors of this dream and this destiny. Together, we will fulfill our destiny. Together, we will realize our dreams.
     Together, we will live up to the promise of Hawaiʻi. Mahalo.

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AN OCEAN VIEW INCIDENT HAS LED TO ASSAULT, ROBBERY, DANGEROUS DRUG AND CRIMINAL PROPERTY CHARGES. Hawai‘i Island police charged 34-year-old Drosstain Pua, of Kona, with assault and property damage offenses after an incident involving four people in Ocean View on Wednesday, Jan. 18. He was also charged with multiple offenses related to an incident last July in Ka‘ū and is a suspect in several other ongoing criminal investigations.
According to the police report, at 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 18, Ka‘ū patrol officers responded to an unknown
Drosstain Pua
type of disturbance in the area of Walaka Drive and Bamboo Lane in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates subdivision. Upon arriving on scene, officers determined that minutes earlier a 35-year-old Ocean View woman had observed a suspicious gold colored sedan in the area of Walaka Drive and Bamboo Lane. When the woman attempted to contact the vehicle driver, later identified as Pua, a verbal confrontation ensued between the two, during which Pua threw an object striking a nearby vehicle, causing minor damages.
    When a 54-year-old Ocean View woman passing through the area stopped to intervene, Pua threw an object at her car as well, causing minor damage. Pua then physically assaulted the 54-year-old woman and also unlawfully removed personal items belonging to her.A 56-year-old male acquaintance of the 54-year-old woman tried to intervene and was also physically assaulted by Pua, who struck the man with a metal object.
    After arriving on scene and learning the nature of the incident, officers attempted to take Pua into custody, however he resisted arrest. A bystander, a 51-year-old Ocean View man, attempted to assist the arresting officers, and subsequently sustained minor injuries allegedly inflicted by Pua. Police were able to take Pua into custody and he was booked at the Ka‘ū police station while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigation Section continued their investigation.
    On Thursday, Jan. 19, after police conferred with the County Prosecutors Office, Pua was charged with:two counts fourth-degree criminal property damage; two counts second-degree assault; one count second-degree robbery; one count third-degree assault; one count third-degree promotion of a dangerous
drug and one count resisting arrest.
    Pua was also charged with offenses stemming from an incident that occurred on July 31, 2022 at a residence in HOVE in which a firearm was discharged. In that incident, a 38-year-old Ocean View man reported that Pua and another man unlawfully entered his residence in the 92-8800 block of Bamboo Lane and threatened the victim and his 70-year-old mother. While in the residence, a firearm was discharged, however, no injuries were reported.
    After conferring with the County Prosecutors Office again on Jan. 19, 2023, about the July 2022 incident, police charged Pua, who is a convicted felon and thus prohibited from owning or using firearms, with: first-degree burglary; first-degree terroristic threatening; first-degree reckless endangering; and ownership or possession prohibited carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony
    Pua’s bail was set at $170,000 and made his first court appearance on Friday, Jan.  20, 2023, in Kona District Court. Pua is also a suspect in several other criminal investigations. Police reported that these investigations will be forwarded to, and reviewed by, the County Prosecutors Office for charging determination at a later date.
    Anyone who may have further information on any other incidents involving Pua is encouraged to contact Detective Donovan Kohara at (808) 326-4646 ext. 267; or via email at donovan.kohara@hawaiicounty.gov. Also contact the police department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.

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AN OCEAN VIEW MAN IS CHARGED WITH THEFT OF A JEEP, RESISTING POLICE, AND METH POSSESSION. Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltjen announced Tuesday that 46 year-old Benjamin Kawika Jerin-Kealoha is charged in relation to the theft of a Jeep rental car, resisting an order to stop, and methamphetamine possession offenses alleged to have taken place on Jan. 21 in Kona. At the time of his arrest for these charges, Jerin-Kealoha was also arrested for two unrelated outstanding warrants.
     Jerin-Kealoha made his initial appearance in Kona District Court on Tuesday. He is charged with Theft in the First Degree (theft of a motor vehicle), Unauthorized Control of a Propelled Vehicle in the First Degree, Promoting a Dangerous Drug in the Third Degree (possess any amount of methamphetamine), Resisting Order to Stop a Motor Vehicle, Driving Without A License and a DAG violation.
Benjamin Kawika Jerin-Kealoha
    The most serious offense, Theft in the First Degree, is a class B felony and punishable by a ten-year prison term or four years probation and up to 18 months in jail. His bail was set at $49,000.
    A statement from County Prosecuting Attorney Kelden Waltgen says, "The charges are merely allegations, and the Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty." The case was initiated by Officers Mara Gaertner, Justin Uresti, and Vincent Sanekane, Kona Patrol, and the felony investigation was led by Detective Jason Foxworthy, Area II Criminal Investigation Section, Hawai‘i Police Department. 
    "The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney remains dedicated to the pursuit of justice with integrity and commitment," says the statement. Anyone having information to assist local law enforcement should call Crime Stoppers at (808) 961-8300. #hawaiiprosecutors #hawaiipolicedepartment

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FREE FOOD
St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.

OUTDOOR MARKETS
Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.

Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

'O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in the upper lot only. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.

Ocean View Swap Meet at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.

The Book Shack is open every Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Kauaha'ao Congregational Church grounds at 95-1642 Pinao St. in Wai'ōhinu.