Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Monday, Feb. 22, 2016

Ka`u High track & field team placed well at Hawai`i County Department of Parks & Recreation's age-group track meet Saturday. See more below. Photo from Coach Angie Miyashiro, at left
HAWAI`I’S MOSQUITO CONTROL has gotten worse rather than better, according to a Civil Beat story. Jessica Terrell reported that government efforts to control the insects that spread dengue fever, Zika and other diseases have been gutted. As of Friday, the total number of confirmed cases of dengue on Hawai`i Island was 259.
Sen. Josh Green
      David Morens, a senior scientific advisor at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Terrell that mosquito control is “the easiest thing for politicians to cut. If there’s no epidemic going on, then (politicians say) ‘Why do we have all these people sitting around doing nothing?’ They cut all the positions, and then sooner or later the epidemic comes back and they say, ‘Why aren’t you doing anything about this?’”
      Terrell said that, because of the government’s cyclical interest in mosquito control, the best chance for success in fighting mosquito-borne illness is to inform the public about how to keep mosquitoes under control.
      “The risk you have as a resident of Hawai`i is not some general thing in your community. It’s right in your own house, and people need to understand that,” Morens said.
      Ka`u’s state Sen. Josh Green told Johnson, “If we had gone overboard in December, then maybe this (Hawai`i Island dengue fever) outbreak would have stopped at 80 or 100 cases. I think the world is going to have to get used to going overboard on infectious diseases a little bit.” Green has criticized the state’s response to Hawai`i Island’s dengue fever outbreak and called for the state to enlist the National Guard in mosquito eradication.
      Information about mosquito control is available at health.hawaii.gov.
      See civilbeat.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN’S bill regarding growing medical marijuana is advancing at the state Legislature. Senate Bill 2523 calls for medical marijuana licensees to be permitted to grow crops outdoors and in greenhouses and shade houses, as long as the operations aren’t visible from other properties.
      Ruderman’s bill is in response to a statute passed last year that calls for all production centers to be indoors only. Ruderman told Kirsten Johnson, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, that he thinks that is too restrictive. He said evidence shows marijuana plants grow differently under artificial lights, and indoor growing would raise operating costs and lead to higher prices.
      Johnson reported that Ruderman said plants should grow under natural sunlight instead of under artificial lamps. “Plants should be grown in sunlight, especially in the state which has the most,” Ruderman told Johnson.
      The Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health passed the bill on Thursday after amending it to eliminate the allowance for outdoor growing.
      Progress of SB2523 and other bills is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      Ruderman will be in Ka`u a week from tomorrow, holding a talk story on Tuesday, March 1 at 6 p.m. to discuss the current legislative session and constituents’ concerns.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

NONPROFIT ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOLAR advocacy groups joined together today to protest what they referred to as Hawaiian Electric’s opposition to renewable energy. HECO recently announced that it would not pursue plans for several renewable energy projects, including biomass and geothermal facilities on Hawai`i Island.
Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake
      Earthjustice, Sierra Club, Blue Planet, Hawai`i PV Coalition, the Alliance for Solar Choice and Hawai`i Solar Energy Association joined together to raise concern with the direction of Hawai`i’s largest electrical utilities.
      “HECO claims to support clean energy,” said Marti Townsend, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai`i. “So why isn’t HECO moving forward with real clean energy projects? How can a state-sponsored public utility flout the will of the people and the Legislature?”
      “HECO is heading in the wrong direction, seemingly under the influence of NextEra,” said Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake. “We need a new kind of utility that puts people and the planet first, rather than profits.”
      “It’s time to change the system,” said Robert Harris, spokesperson for the Alliance for Solar Choice. “We need to look at options, such as putting another entity in charge of running the grid who doesn’t produce or sell power. HECO won’t change its stripes if it’s not in its financial interest to do so.”
      “Ninety-six percent of people in Hawai`i believe we should have more solar power, not less,” said Rick Reed, President of Hawai`i Solar Energy Association. “Anything that’s not meaningfully moving in that direction isn’t respecting what the people want: cheaper and cleaner power.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Donors receive an Own the Power T-shirt.
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN SUPPORT Hawai`i Island Energy Cooperative through an online fundraiser. HIEC was formed after a Florida-based NextEra Energy announced in late 2014 that it intended to buy Hawaiian Electric Co., of which Hawai`i Electric Light Co. is a subsidiary. “Our board decided that as the deal was being evaluated, all options should be put on the table –including, and especially, an energy cooperative for Hawai‘i Island,” the board said in a statement.
      Before HIEC can ask large investors for additional funding, it needs to raise $50,000 to prove that the community is on-board with a co-op. The money will be used for planning and public outreach. Actual purchase of the utility would be made with traditional financing sources.
      See https://www.crowdrise.com/hawaiiislandenergycoop/fundraiser/HiEnergyCoop.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

WITH THE FEDERAL TAX-FILING deadline set for April 18, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono urged Hawai`i families to utilize helpful tax credits, now that these important benefits have been made permanent by Congress. Representatives from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, the AARP Foundation Tax Aide program and Catholic Charities Hawai`i joined Hirono to promote tax benefits and free tax services available to seniors and low-income households.
Sen. Mazie Hirono
      Hirono reminded Hawai`i families to check their eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which were made permanent as part of the Senate’s FY2016 omnibus package signed into law in December.
      “As Hawai`i families start preparing their 2015 taxes, we want to make sure that they are taking advantage of every tax credit they’ve earned, which will reduce the amount of taxes eligible families will have to pay, or perhaps even provide a tax refund. This extra cash will allow families to purchase more food, pay rent or meet other basic needs,” Hirono said. “For years, I have supported expanding the EITC and CTC and making these tax benefits permanent. I am proud to have been an original cosponsor of legislation that made this a reality.”
      Individuals who received an Advanced Premium Tax Credit for their health insurance coverage in 2015 are also reminded that they must file a tax return to be eligible for the credit again next year.
      Free tax preparation help is available through the IRS and AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program. Certified volunteers provide free tax preparation and counseling for seniors and low-income families. To find Volunteer Income Tax Assistance and Tax Counseling for Elderly sites, call 1-888-227-7669 or see https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
      VITA sites where Hawai`i residents can receive free help in filing their taxes can be found at https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Free-Tax-Return-Preparation-for-You-by-Volunteers.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH TRACK & FIELD TEAM participated in Hawai`i County Department of Parks & Recreation’s age-group track meet on Saturday, Feb. 20. “We did very well,” Coach Angie Miyashiro reported. She said many teammates place first through sixth and that she was very proud of her well behaved group. Participants included Jayme Kaneshiro, Lyric Oliveros, Sepe Levi, Rosenlintha Ken, Amber Sugrue, Marilou Manantan, Rina Joseph, Anthony Ywasa, Nelson Boaz, Takios Paul, Cyrus McMasters, Seth McMasters, Kauila Acasio, Coach Angie Miyashiro and Assistant Coach Carma Hanshew.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Learn about Kahuku's natural resources tomorrow.
NATURAL RESOURCES OF KAHUKU is the topic at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Wildlife Biologist Jonathan Faford and Botanist Sierra McDaniel discuss successes and challenges of natural resources management there.
      In 2003, the National Park Service acquired the 116,000-acre Kahuku Ranch, adding a rich collection of ecosystems, lava flows and high-elevation forests to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. These lands were extensively modified by cattle ranching, logging and introduced plant and animal species, presenting a great challenge to natural resource managers tasked with protecting and restoring the native plant and animal communities there.
      $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.

HAWAI`I ISLAND HUMANE SOCIETY holds a public meeting on Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Representatives discuss programs and resources available to the community. Topics include animal welfare, how to report concerns and future plans on how resources will be made more accessible. A question-and-answer session follows.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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