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Friday, December 15, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs December 15, 2023

One of the proposals is to use the corner of Maile and Hwy 11 property for a wastewater treatment
plant in Pāhala. Map from County of Hawai'i

PĀHALA RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO GIVE INPUT ON OPTIONS FOR SEWAGE TREATMENT SYSTEMS by Dec. 29. The county Department of Environmental Services held a meeting Thursday evening to review its Draft Environmental Information Document that presents four options and explores environmental impacts for each of them. Among the options are a sewage treatment plant and Individual Wastewater Systems on each houselot in the project area. The entire community is welcome to weigh in on the type of waste treatment system selected.
    The county's Department of Environmental Services mailed out surveys to 174 lot owners in the area of the town where new sewage treatment is required to close old Large Capacity Cesspools left over from the days of the sugar plantation which shut down in 1996. A return of the surveys with choice of option is due by Dec. 29 in order to be counted for the decisionmaking.
    The county plans to send its Final Environmental Impact Document to the EPA by Jan. 27, 2024. The final deadline for the County to close the large capacity cesspools is July 21, 2026. See more at https://www.dem.hawaiicounty.gov/projects/pahala-na-alehu-large-capacity-cesspool-closures. See the Draft Environmental Information Document at https://records.hawaiicounty.gov/weblink/DocView.aspx?dbid=1&id=126647&cr=1. See video from the Thursday meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwYyPt9RTNk.

THE U.S. CHINESE EXCLUSION ACT of 1882 WAS REPEALED 80 YEARS AGO. It was one of the first restrictions on immigration by race in U.S. history. The discriminatory bill banned the immigration of Chinese laborers and led to legislation that prohibited them from entering the U.S. for over six decades.   
     In Hawai'i, Chinese people first arrived with Captain Cook, other explorers and trading ships in the 1700s and 1800s, followed by labor importation before Hawai'i became a territory of the U.S. In 1902 when Hawai'i became a territory, the U.S. ban on importing Chinese labor extended to these islands. 
    By that time, Chinese had intermarried with Hawaiians, Portuguese and other immigrants and were well established, many with their own businesses in these islands.

Throwing Down the Ladder by Which They Rose. Cartoon by
Thomas Nast, Harper's Weekly, July 23, 1870.

    Hawai'i U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono introduced a resolution this week commemorating the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and celebrating the contributions that Chinese American communities have made to the United States. 
     The Magnuson Act, which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act, passed on Dec. 17, 1943. 
    The U.S. House companion of the resolution honoring its repeal was introduced this week by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA).
    “As we mark the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, we reaffirm our commitment to fighting any and all types of discrimination,” said Hirono. “I am proud to lead this resolution with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus commemorating the day our country ended the injustice of the Chinese Exclusion Act and acknowledging the valuable contributions of Chinese Americans and immigrants. Diversity makes this country stronger and as we work to empower Asian American & Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander communities, we must continue fighting hate in all its forms.”



OCEAN GUARDIAN YOUTH AMBASSADOR POSITIONS ARE AVAILABLE WITH NOAA. The deadline to apply is Jan. 5. Any interested individual between the ages of 13 and 18 from Hawai'i, U.S. territories and mainland states are encouraged to apply. 

Three students on a beach look at a clipboard the words NOAA ocean guardian Youth Ambassador imposed over top

See https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc3Le2s348yk2z5EqoLfOdPy0wzHGCQiwkm83_9DEmbVU5YBg/viewform/.
    Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassadors can lead a project or event at school or in the community that supports ocean conservation and stewardship. This could be a beach cleanup, an upcycling workshop, an ocean literacy presentation, a campaign to reduce single-use plastics in local restaurants and schools, tree planting, a social media campaign, or starting a school environmental club.
    Ambassadors are encouraged to utilize support from NOAA staff for their project. The program teaches students how to track progress on school or community projects and how to engage others with ocean conservation. Those accepted gain access to toolkits, presentations, opportunities, and guidance from NOAA scientists, science communicators, and other experts. Youth Ambassadors are part of a nationwide network of young people who share ideas, experiences, and support for ocean conservation and stewardship efforts.
    "The NOAA Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassador program provides a new level of engagement for youth aged 13-18 committed to ocean conservation and stewardship of our blue planet. We are looking for enthusiastic youth with new ideas and a unique perspective who want to learn more about America’s underwater treasures and share their passion with others. Together we will use enhanced ocean and climate literacy to make a difference in the conservation of the ocean through marine protected areas," says the NOAA statement.
    Through Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassadorships, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries helps "spread awareness of the connection that each individual and community has to the ocean." It is the "newest method by which we involve youth in ocean conservation and stewardship," says the statement from NOAA. It says NOAA is looking for young people passionate about the ocean and the natural environment, who want to become environmental leaders at school or in communities, and are looking for ways to develop skills needed to engage in conservation opportunities.
collage of youth ambassadors
Students can design their own projects and become Ocean Guardian Youth Ambassadors, with deadline to apply Jan. 5.

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FIFTY PERCENT OF TRAFFIC FATALITIES DURING PAST THREE YEARS ARE DUE TO DRUGS on this island. That is the headline from Hawa'i Police Department, which urges the public to drive safely. With the weekend approaching, HPD reminds motorists that "behind bars is no way to spend your holidays!" 
    During this busy festive season, HPD and U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration team for the If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Drive High, Get a DUI impaired driving awareness campaign, which runs from Dec, 15, through Jan. 1.
    “Most people know the phrase ‘don’t drink and drive,’ however, they are less familiar with the impacts of driving impaired by prescription or illegal drugs,” said Torey Keltner, Program Manager for Hawai‘i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section.
    He said that drivers need to understand that using some cold medications or over-the-counter sleep aids can impair driving, which may lead to being arrested for a DUI and that medications have directions on how to properly use them and people should follow them closely.

    “This holiday season we mean business when it comes to traffic enforcement,” said Keltner. “District police commanders across the island are directing greater enforcement efforts this time of year in order to prevent dangerous driving behaviors like impaired driving.
“We are conducting more DUI road blocks and traffic enforcement operations in order to prevent people from being injured or killed.”
Over the past few years, drug impairment has been a factor in 50 percent of Hawaiʻi Island traffic fatalities.
    In 2021, impairment was a factor in 21 of the 26 Big Island traffic fatalities, with drugs playing a role in 20 of the 21 impaired deaths. Last year, impairment was a factor in 18 of the 34 traffic deaths on island, with drugs playing a role in 14 of those deaths.
    So far this year, there have been 16 traffic fatalities, with impairment playing a role in 10 of those deaths, with four deaths due to drugs. This number may rise, as officials are still awaiting toxicology reports in several cases.
    “Drugs specifically played a role in 38 of the 76 traffic deaths on island in the past three years,” said Keltner. “That means 38 families will not have loved one with them this holiday season, or ever again. The loss of even one life is not acceptable, this isn’t new information. People need to understand that if you use anything at all that impairs your abilities, don’t drive.”
    “We are asking our community members to please make good decisions during the upcoming holidays and commit to sober driving.”

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.