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Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, June 20, 2023

AS HURRICANE SEASON DEEPENS, Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency is running a campaign to urge residents to take the first step to build up a 2 Weeks Ready stockpile of emergency supplies. The campaign includes videos in multiple languages on the HI-EMA YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/@hiema347/videos. The 2 Weeks Ready videos are in Hawaiian, English, Illocano, Tagalog, Spanish, Japanese and Korean.  Subtitled versions are posted under matching languages on the Language Resource Hub page, on the HI-EMA website at https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/. A second PSA in the series will debut in August. Other videos on the You Tube channel in multiple languages include Know Your Neighbors in Case of a Hurricane in Hawai'i, and Be Ready for a Hurricane in Hawai'i.
    A recent HI-EMA survey indicated that most Hawai‘i residents believe they would be prepared if a disaster struck soon. The rest were unsure, with rural residents more confident that residents of the City and County of Honolulu.
    According to HI-EMA, the most common reasons given for uncertainty are:
• They didn’t have enough supplies
• They couldn’t afford to prepare, or
• They didn’t know what to do to be prepared.
  The campaign focuses on taking the first step toward building up a 2 Weeks Ready stockpile of emergency supplies.
    “We know that setting aside two weeks of food, water, medicine, and other emergency items can be a heavy lift here in Hawai‘i, so our new campaign focuses on taking that first step, even if it’s just by setting aside a couple of days’ worth of supplies,” said HI-EMA Administrator James Barros.
    By planning to pick up one or two extra items during a sale, residents can gradually build up their emergency supplies over time. If storage space is scarce, focus on items that you would normally buy anyway to maximize shelf space, and look at options such as collapsible water jugs that can be filled when a hurricane is still approaching.
    “We’d love to see everyone in Hawai‘i ‘2 Weeks Ready’ today, but having even a few days of supplies is better than nothing,” Barros said. “When more people are prepared for a hurricane or other major disaster, it allows our first responders to concentrate their efforts where the need for help is greatest, so it helps the whole community.”
    The first PSA focuses on a family who thought being 2 Weeks Ready was too hard, but decide to add canned goods, pet food, peanut butter and other items to their shopping list to take the first step toward

preparedness. The narrator advises “Don’t wait until it’s too late” and adds the tagline from last year’s HI-EMA video campaign: “Don’t get scared; get prepared.”
    As with the PSA campaigns HI-EMA launched in 2021 for tsunami awareness and in 2022 for hurricane readiness, the new campaign is animated and features subtitles in non-English languages that are commonly spoken in Hawai‘i. Versions of the ad were recorded in both English and Hawaiian, with subtitles in English, Hawaiian, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Ilocano and Japanese.
    The PSA campaign was funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program. The grant covered production and advertising purchases on local television and radio outlets and digital media platforms.

OMITTING LINE ITEMS TO BALANCE THE STATE BUDGET was announced last week by Gov. Josh Green. He cut the 2024 budget by $1 billion. Many of the projects were on O'ahu. Some that may have applied to this island include:
    Reducing $120M in FY24 for Teacher Housing; leaving $50M in FY24 to launch program 
    Reducing $5M in FY24 for Department of Land and Natural Resources for forestry resource management; leaving $20M in FY24
    Reducing $25M in FY24 for State Parks renovations and improvements; leaving $25M in FY24
    Reducing $60.2M in FY24 for Department of Land Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation
    Reducing $50M in FY24 for Hawaiʻi Green Infrastructure Authority solar energy storage loan program; leaving $50M in FY24 to launch program
    Reducing $33M in FY25 for Broadband Federal Matching; leaving $33M in FY24 for state match
    Reducing $5 million in FY24 from Department of Agriculture Mitigation and Population Control of Feral Animals (Department of Land and Natural Resources will undertake this work)
    A statement from the Governor's Office says that a change in the Council on Revenues general fund projections for Fiscal Year 2022-2023 went from +2% in March to –1% in May, prompting "the need to rebalance the state's financial plan through line-item reductions to the budget. To balance the financial plan and meet the reserve policy for the state, Governor Green needed to reduce approximately $1 billion from the budget bill over the Fiscal Biennium 2023-2025."
    Green said, "Our state laws and policies require me to balance the budget and ensure that the state has adequate reserves to protect against budget shortfalls and provide financial stability and flexibility during
volatile times and natural disasters. A sound budget and appropriate reserve levels are also needed to help maintain strong bond ratings that can positively affect borrowing costs associated with our capital improvement projects."
    The statement says that Green's actions "will protect essential services, core programs, and will continue to make significant investments in priority areas for the state." He said, "I considered the needs of the community to make sure we are still making large strides in moving the state forward. Even with this year's proposed reductions, this budget makes historic investments in housing, homelessness, environment, healthcare, and education."
    The state Council on Revenues is attached to the state Department of Taxation and its seven members are CPA's, economists and other experts appointed by the governor and the state Senate and House of Representatives leaders.
    The Council reports its latest revenue forecast to the governor and the legislature on June 1, Sept. 10, Jan. 10, and March 15 of each year. In addition, the Council prepares estimates of the state total personal income for such calendar years for establishing the state expenditure ceiling.

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HAWAI'I SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ IS ASKING FOR PUBLIC SUPPORT OF HIS BILL TO PROTECT KIDS ONLINE by signing a petition at https://secure.ngpvan.com/oNdwRsKriU-IsdhWpN8GxQ2?emci=961c4866-760c-ee11-907c-00224832eb73&emdi=0f017ca5-9c0f-ee11-907c-00224832eb73&ceid=2321671. The bill was written by Republicans and Democrats.
    A statement from his team said, "There's been a spike in mental health challenges facing young people in our country. Between 2011 and 2019, the number of teens who felt depressed more than doubled and 22% of all high school students said they have seriously considered suicide. Social media is playing a big role in this mental health epidemic, making kids vulnerable to bullies, predators, and toxic content. While kids are suffering, social media companies are profiting," said the statement.

Sen. Brian Schatz, left, is working with Republicans and
Democrats on a bill to establish a minimum age for using
social media with parental consent. Photo from NPR
    It contends that "Using powerful algorithms, social media companies have determined they can get kids to stay on their platforms longer by pushing toxic content. The longer the companies keep kids on their platforms, the more ads they can serve them. The legislation would:
    Require users to be at least 13 to create social media accounts
    Require parental consent for kids 13 to 17 to create accounts
    Prevent social media companies from using personalized algorithms to feed addictive content to users under 18
     The bill "won't solve all of the problems presented by the digital age we're living in, but it's an important starting point that will combat some of the worst abuses of social media companies and prioritize kids' well-being over tech companies' bottom lines," says the statement. See story about introduction of the bill at http://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2023_04_27_archive.html

HPD ARRESTED 17 FOR DUI during the week of June 12 through June 18.  Hawai‘i Island police
arrested 17 motorists for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Three drivers were involved in a traffic collision. None were under age 21.
    So far this year, there have been 468 DUI arrests compared with 490 during the same period last year, a decrease of 4.49 percent. Hawai’i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section reviewed all updated crashes and found 400 major collisions so far this year compared with 359 during the same period last year, an increase of 11.42 percent.
    To date, there have been eight fatal crashes, resulting in nine fatalities, (one of which had multiple deaths); compared with 14 fatal crashes, resulting in 16 fatalities (one of which had multiple deaths) for the same time last year. This represents a decrease of 42.9 percent for fatal crashes, and 43.8 percent for fatalities.
    HPD promises that DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.

POLICE THANK THE PUBLIC WITH AID IN ARRESTING OCEAN VIEW RESIDENTS KIMBERLY SANDERSON AND HER SON KEONI SANDERSON. Hawai'i Police Department issued a statement on Tuesday thanking for the public for providing information that led to the arrest of 21-year old Keoni and 54-year old Kimberly. Keoni, who was wanted for several warrants and for questioning in other criminal investigations, was the subject of a previous media release asking for the public’s assistance in locating him.
Kimberly Sanderson
    Acting on information that Keoni Sanderson was in a vehicle in the area of the 75-1000 block of Henry Street in Kailua-Kona, police started canvassing the area at 1:15 p.m. on Friday, June 16, 2023. Kona patrol officers quickly located the vehicle and conducted a traffic stop during which it was determined the vehicle was being operated by Keoni’s mother, Kimberly Sanderson. As officers approached the vehicle, they observed a male, later identified as Keoni Sanderson, attempting to conceal himself within the vehicle.
    As officers attempted to take Keoni Sanderson into custody for his outstanding warrants, his mother tried to obstruct officers by attempting to lock the vehicle’s doors. Officers managed to gain access into the vehicle at which point Keoni’s mother physically prevented officers from taking him into custody.
   Officers were able to gain control of Kimberly Sanderson and continued their efforts to take Keoni Sanderson into custody, who had become physically aggressive towards officers. After a brief struggle,          
    Keoni Sanderson was taken into custody without further incident and transported to the Kealakehe Police Station. Kimberly Sanderson was also taken into custody and transported to the Kealakehe Police Station.
    Later that same day, after conferring with the County Prosecutor’s Office, Keoni Sanderson was charged with the following offenses and his total bail was set at $62,000.
    Six counts of first-degree bail jumping
Keoni Sanderson
    Three counts of violating conditions of release on bail
    Two counts of first-degree assault against a Law enforcement officer
    Resisting arrest
    Contempt of court
    Possession of an open container within a vehicle. Kimberly Sanderson was charged with the following offenses and her total bail was set at $13,250.Obstructing a government operation
    First-degree hindering Prosecution
    Possession of an open container within a vehicle
    Driving without a valid driver’s license
    No motor vehicle insurance. The traffic related offenses stemmed from the officers’ observation of an open container of an intoxicating beverage within the vehicle and Kimberly Sanderson not having a driver’s license and valid motor vehicle insurance.
    Both Keoni and Kimberly Sanderson were scheduled to make their initial appearances in Kona District Court on Monday.
   "The Hawai'i Police Department would again like to thank the public’s assistance in help with locating Keoni Sanderson," said the HPD statement.