Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Monday, April 4, 2016

Hawai`i Police Department officers marched in the Merrie Monarch Parade in Hilo Saturday. Photo by Cody Day
MAYOR BILLY KENOI reversed charges and paid back the county soon after making widely reported purchases on a county credit card, according to a review of the expenses by Honolulu Star-Advertiser published this morning.
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar
co-founded Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park 100 years ago.
      Star-Advertiser reporter Nelson Daranciang wrote that Kenoi bought a surfboard on the county credit card for $1,219 at Hawaiian South Shore on O`ahu on Oct. 29, 2011 and repaid the county that December. In 2009, he used the county card to pay a $400 tab at a Honolulu restaurant and lounge. The charges were reversed a day later. He bought a bicycle and accessories for $1,889 on the county card in March of 2014, and the charges were reversed in April 2014. He paid another restaurant and bar tab in December of 2013 and repaid the county in March of 2014. He used the county card to pay for his annual Hawai`i State Bar Association dues for $566 on Jan. 1, 2013 and paid back the county in March the same year, the Star-Advertiser story reported.
      The state has indicted Kenoi for misusing the card, and a trial is set for July. According to the Star-Advertiser story, the most publicized expenditures above are not listed in the indictment.
      “State Attorney General Douglas Chin is not saying for which purchases the indictment refers, only that details about the charges will be described in documents filed with the court or discussed at trial,” Daranciang reported.
      The Star-Advertiser story also reviews other expenditures that line up with dates in the indictment. See more at staradvertiser.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Manuel Marques promoted the Ka`u Coffee Festival and his new
Hokulele Coffee brand at Merrie Monarch last week.
Photo by Nelson Makua
THE NEW HOKULELE BRAND of Ka`u Coffee, farmed by Manuel Marques, of Ka`u Forest Coffee Farm, got lucky last week with a last-minute booth cancellation at the Merrie Monarch’s main venue at Edith Kanaka`ole Stadium in Hilo. After the call came in from Nelson Makua, Marques and wife Deborah Lynn Dickerson manned the booth for four days, gave out many hundreds of samples of Ka`u Coffee and sold their Hokulele Ka`u Coffee grown using Korean Natural Farming methods. It is free of pesticides and herbicides, and “that is a big deal,” Dickerson said.
      Marques said the experience was a big plus for Ka`u Coffee and the new brand. The Hokulele brand was inspired by a mineral used in their growing practices. “The mineral is mined from an ancient ocean bed where an asteroid landed, leaving 198 trace minerals and elements. These enhance the root system of the coffee tree,” Dickerson said. The name Hokulele means “shooting star,” she explained.
      The Hokulele team also gave out rack cards for the May 13-22 Ka`u Coffee Festival. Marques invited people to visit the farms, when he traditionally leads driving tours on the day of the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a, this year on Saturday, May 21.
      See more on his coffee at www.hokulelecoffee.com.
      See more on the coffee festival at kaucoffeefestival.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory joined the parade to celebrate 100 years
of service. Photo by Cody Day
THE PHILIPPINES IS THE FIRST COUNTRY to introduce a program to vaccinate schoolchildren against dengue fever, Teresa Cerojano, of the Associated Press, reported today. One million students will receive Dengvaxia, which was first licensed in Mexico in December of last year. The vaccine is yet to be approved in many countries and by the World Health Organization.
      “A vaccine able to reduce six out of 10 cases, or more importantly to reduce by 80 percent the risk of hospitalization or 93 percent of the risk of dengue hemorrhagic fever, is a major breakthrough,” Guillaume Leroy, Sanofi Pasteur’s vice president for dengue vaccine, told the Associated Press.
      The Philippines’ Health Secretary Janette Garin called the program “a historic milestone” in public health. The country’s Department of Health reported that it had the highest dengue count in WHO’s Western Pacific region from 2013 to 2015, with 200,415 cases last year.
      While Hawai`i County’s count of confirmed cases stood at 263 people as of last Thursday, the state Department of Health had reported no new confirmed cases since Wednesday, March 23. DOH has stated that the current outbreak would not be considered over until one month goes by with no new cases.
      See www.apnewsarchive.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE STATE WILL SAVE $32.8 million following the completion of a $345 million refunding general obligation bond sale, Gov. David Ige announced. The bonds were previously issued at a higher interest rate. They fund construction or the acquisition of various public improvement projects that include public buildings, elementary and secondary schools and university facilities.
Wesley Machida
      The lower interest rates are the result of the favorable bond market and increased investor demand as a result of the state’s improved financial outlook. Standard & Poor’s Rating Service recently improved the state’s outlook from “stable” to “positive” – the highest outlook possible. The “AA” or current rating of the state’s financial condition is good.
      Moody’s Rating Service improved the state’s outlook from “stable” to “positive” in October 2015. Fitch Rating has an “AA” rating with a “stable” outlook on the state’s bonds.
      There are three rating outlook levels – positive, stable and negative. According to its consultant’s report, as of early March 2016, Hawai`i is the only state in the nation to have two “positive” outlooks from the three rating agencies.
      In February, Gov. David Ige led the state’s financing team, which included Director of Finance Wesley Machida, in credit rating presentations with S&P, Moody’s and Fitch.
      “We discussed with the rating agencies our conservative fiscal management policies and my focus on addressing and managing the state’s long-term pension and health fund obligations,” Ige said. “We also discussed the need to maintain the state’s reserve fund balances to effectively manage our financial resources. Our goal is to manage our budget to live within our means and to best position the state to withstand future economic fluctuations.”
      “I am extremely pleased with the results of the negotiated refunding sale that resulted in the state obtaining its lowest historical borrowing costs versus the national municipal bond financing index,” Machida said. “The resulting refunding sale, which will save the state $32.8 million of debt service payments, along with the favorable low borrowing costs for the competitive new money bonds, enables us to achieve our goals of effectively managing the state’s expenses.”
      In its rating report, S&P said the state-projected fiscal 2016 budgetary performance benefits from strong revenue trends that have enabled Hawai`i to build its cash and reserve balances. “That could lead us to raise the state’s credit within the next two years,” S&P said. The favorable outlook improvements by Moody’s and S&P are allowing the state to more effectively market and sell the bonds at the lowest rates possible.
      Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as lead underwriter for this offering, with Goldman Sachs serving as co-senior manager for the negotiated refunding bond sale.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park employees and supporters gathered in the shade after the Merrie Monarch Parade.
Photo by Cody Day
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE in Hawai`i County Council meetings this week at Council Chambers in Hilo.
      Committees meet tomorrow: Planning, 9:30 a.m.; Governmental Relations & Economic Development, 1 p.m.; Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability, 1:15 p.m.; Human Services & Social Services, 1:30 p.m.; Public Works and Parks & Recreation, 1:45 p.m.; and Finance, 2 p.m.
      A public hearing on the county budget begins at 5 p.m.
      The full council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.
      Videoconferencing is available at Na`alehu State Office Building. The meetings are also streamed live, and agendas are available, at hawaiicounty.gov.

DICK HERSHBERGER PRESENTS A Walk into the Past tomorrow and each Tuesday this month in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Performances with the Ka`u actor portraying Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar are at 10 a.m., 12 pm.m and 2 p.m., and each one lasts approximately one hour. Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

PAHALA PUBLIC & SCHOOL LIBRARY offers free computer classes on Tuesday evenings beginning tomorrow. Half-hour sessions run from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
      All that is needed is a Hawai`i State Public Library card, prior knowledge of the computer keyboard and how to use a mouse. 
      To make an appointment for a session, call 928-2015, and ask for Debbie.

Rangers teach `ukulele basics Wednesday.
Photo from NPS
RANGERS TEACH `UKULELE BASICS on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The modern Hawaiian musical instrument evolved from the Machete de Braga, a small stringed instrument introduced to Hawai`i by Portuguese immigrants in the late 1800s. The `ukulele has become an iconic part of Hawaiian musical culture and remains popular among locals and foreigners alike.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

WILDLIFE ECOLOGIST FRANK J. Bonaccorso, Ph.D., of USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, shares information on the Hawaiian hoary bat or `ope`ape`a Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This endangered species of hairy-tailed bat is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands.
      See volcanoartcenter.org


See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April_2016.pdf.

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