Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Everyone is invited to attend Sunday Bon Dance practices to prepare for Aug. 21, Pahala Hongwanji's first Bon
Dance since 1999 when this photo was taken by filmmaker Cliff Watson. Watson also made a film about the last
 harvest at Ka`u Sugar Co. See more below. Photo by Cliff Watson
OCEAN VIEW RESIDENTS WILL HAVE access to water during prolonged repairs to the well there, Hawai`i County Department of Water Supply announced yesterday.
Click to enlarge public notice from Hawai`i
County Department of Water Supply.
      In its original public notice, DWS said the standpipe facility and spigot station would be closed from July 25 to approximately Sept. 30 but later agreed to keep the makai spigot station at the site open for residential potable water needs. The department requests that users limit their water filling to 55 gallons or less in order to meet the daily water needs of all spigot users.
      Mauka standpipes for water hauling trucks will remain closed until repairs are completed.
      “Following my discussions with the Department of Water Supply yesterday expressing the extreme hardship residents of Ocean View will suffer if the standpipes as well as the spigots were closed while repairs are being made, I am very pleased that the Department of Water Supply was very understanding and cooperative in compromising to find a solution,” County Council member Maile David said. “Mahalo a nui loa to everyone for their patience and understanding, and to the department for their quick response to our community's and requests.”
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PAHALA HONGWANJI HOSTS its first Bon Dance of the 21st century on Sunday, Aug. 21. The last was held in 1999. Footage of the 1999 Obon service, filmed by Cliff Watson, is available at uluulu.hawaii.edu/titles/3789. Watson, a filmmaker based in Honolulu, with family ties to Pahala, also made a film on the last harvest of Ka`u Sugar Co. in 1996, called Ka`u Sugar: A Town Remembers. See uluulu.hawaii.edu/titles/4451. Watson said he plans to visit Pahala to witness the historic return of the Bon Dance in August.
Obon includes a service at Pahala Hongwanji.
      Bon Dances not only draw the Buddhists. People of all religions and ethnic groups are invited. It is a style of dancing performed during the Obon season to welcome spirits of ancestors during the harvest when food is placed at the temple altar.
    The event begins with a service at Pahala Hongwanji, followed by the dance and fellowship, including food.
    Obon Dances, which are held around the island each summer, involve people, often in traditional Japanese dress, moving in a circle around a high wooden scaffold called a yagura. The yagura is usually also the bandstand for musicians and singers of Obon music.
      Practices are scheduled for each Sunday beginning July 24 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Participants are asked to bring a tenugui (hand towel) and uchiwa (fan).
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GOV. DAVID IGE VETOED Senate Bill 2077 that calls for benefits to Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation employees who are facing abolishment of their positions or workforce restructuring at Maui Region facilities. The Legislature last year authorized the transition from state to private operation. HHSC also operated Ka`u Hospital and other facilities in its East Hawai`i Region.
      “There are three primary reasons for this veto,” Ige said. “The Employees Retirement System believes this bill jeopardizes its tax-qualified status because it allows affected employees to choose between a lump-sum cash payment that is taxable as wages and a special employer subsidized early retirement benefit. Under the IRS code, sections governing the state’s ERS plan, this is not permitted, and therefore it threatens the plan’s tax-exempt status.
      “Affected employees were given a lump-sum cash payment upon separation from state service. However, the bill does not appropriate funds for this purpose. Nor does it provide authority to Hawai`i Health Systems to make the payments.
      “Finally, the bill adds an additional unfunded liability of about $17.2 million to the ERS and $18.4 million to the Employer Union Benefits Trust fund to cover Maui employees separated from state service.
Gov. Ige announcing his vetoes. Photo from Office of the Governor
      “This undermines the state’s moratorium on enhanced benefits and puts the state’s long-term financial plan in jeopardy because the state’s long-term financial position is judged by bond rating agencies based upon the state’s outstanding unfunded liabilities.
      “Adding to the unfunded liabilities raises concerns for these agencies about the state’s commitment to financial sustainability.
      “This transition to a new system of care has never been done before. It is complex, and there are multiple stakeholders and issues at play. I have exercised my Constitutional duty to veto the bill and submit a remedy so the transition can move forward. My proposed cure remedies legal, technical and fiscal issues while respecting public employees and the collective bargaining process as the employees separate from state service. It is a path forward.”
      Ige submitted a proposed amended bill to the Legislature that he said balances the needs of the various stakeholders and constituents. It calls for the state of Hawai`i and HHSC as the employer to negotiate with exclusive representatives for separation benefits for affected employees who separate from state service.
      Affected employees would be authorized to purchase retirement credits for the amount of time they would have received if they had remained in state service up to June 30, 2017.
      It would appropriate $25 million in general funds for allocation by the Director of Finance to HHSC for payment of the separation benefits and related fringe costs.
      The state Senate has called for a special session regarding the governor’s veto. It will reconvene on Monday, July 18.
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New legislation would help with full implementation
of Title IX, the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in
Education Act. Photo from Patsy T. Mink Foundation.
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO LAST WEEK introduced the Patsy Mink Gender Equity in Education Act. The bill would provide more resources for schools, school districts, states and institutions of higher education to fully implement the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity Act, commonly referred to as Title IX – which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational programs and activities.
      “The Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act transformed the educational landscape in our country with an idea that seems redundant today, but was profound at the time: that sex-based discrimination has no place in our schools,” Hirono said. “Forty-four years later, Title IX has opened doors for girls and women from access to higher education to sports. But we have more work to do. This legislation builds on Patsy’s legacy by expanding resources to see Title IX’s mandate through.”
      The act would provide resources, training and technical assistance to fully implement Title IX and reduce and prevent sex discrimination in all areas of education, including establishing an Office of Gender Equity in the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate activities within the Department and among other federal agencies; combating discrimination, harassment, bias and violence based on sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions; supporting Title IX coordinators with annual training; providing competitive grants to K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, local educational agencies, or states as the primary applicants, with the option to partner with organizations with relevant expertise; including evaluation and assessment of how applicants improve on indicators of gender equity; and disseminating resources and best practices nationwide.
      More than 25 organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the Hawai`i Department of Education and the Human Rights Campaign support the bill.
      “The Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, which is widely known as Title IX, protects people from discrimination and the Hawai`i State Department of Education works to ensure equal opportunities are afforded to all students,” said Hawai`i Department of Education Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Hawai`i’s Patsy Mink led the way, and now Sen. Hirono’s bill is taking it a step further because it would safeguard that gender equity is effectively carried out by providing resources, including grants for gender equity efforts and training for Title IX coordinators.”
Pele by Dietrich Varez
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RECONSTRUCTING KALUAPELE: Stories and Observations of Lava and Explosions is the topic tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Oral histories in the form of chants about Pele, her family and their works contain evocative poetry and stories of volcanic or other natural events, cloaked in metaphor and hyperbole.
      Naturalist Bobby Camara and geologist Don Swanson hold an interactive discussion about Pele and how oral traditions about her can be interpreted in terms of what is known today about Kilauea. They piece together a history of eruptive and explosive activity using feet-on-the-ground exploration and observations of sometimes subtle differences in rock and ash. They also share some of their interpretations about Kilauea’s volcanic history by linking geology and cultural traditions, providing a richer appreciation of this unique place.

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL District VI candidates meet constituents during a forum at Ocean View Community Center Friday at 5:30 p.m.


See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_July_2016.pdf.

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