Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017

"New legislation in support of tiny houses is in motion," according to One Island, which held a Tiny House Community
Conversation on the Big Island in late January and plans another for late February. See story below. Photo from One Island

THREE  BILLS ON MAKING IT EASIER TO PLACE TINY HOUSES on  land in Hawai`i are making their way through the Hawai`i legislature with support from both Ka`u state Senators Russell Ruderman and Josh Green and west Ka`u's House of Representatives member Richard Creagan. In one bill, tiny houses, under 500 square feet, are seen as a way to provide housing for farm workers, farmers and ranchers.
    House Bill 2 is specifically written for Hawai`i Island. It "Authorizes tiny homes of less than 500 square feet for farm workers in agricultural districts in a county with a population of more than 180,000 but less than 250,000, notwithstanding any county ordinance or regulation to the contrary." It was introduced by Rep. Cindy Evans of Kona.
    House Bill 229 would prohibit "the State and counties from adopting building codes that require minimum floor space or room sizes unless necessary for safety or environmental standards."
The Hawai`i Legislature is considering allowing smaller homes with alternative
materials and designs. See One Island.
     House Bill 1375 could allow larger dwellings and could open up the mobile home market in Hawai`i, as it takes up the problem of affordable housing.  It states, "The legislature finds the supply of affordable housing in Hawai'i does not sufficiently meet demand. Many financially vulnerable residents are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless......The purpose of this Act is to allow counties to grant zoning exemptions for alternative dwellings and alternative dwelling parks that can be built by private parties."
     The bill would give the counties the authority to oversee sanitation, inspections, safety and other requirements but would provide exemptions to allow alternative dwellings to include: "mobile homes, recreational vehicles, converted shipping container units, micro  housing units, pre-fabricated sheds, indigenous Hawaiian dwellings using traditional Hawaiian architectural practices and materials, tents, yurts and lean to shelters that are leased by a willing lessor to a willing lessee per rental agreement between parties."
     The alternative dwelling parks are defined in the bill as "more than one alternative dwelling that may have common shared elements including but not be limited to bathrooms, showers, dining facilities, swmimng pools, playgrounds, sewage, water, trash collection, or, electricity."
      The House Committee on Housing noted concerns raised by the Governor's Coordinator on Homelessness that the bill "may result in the formal establishment of homeless encampments. Both the Hawai`i Interagency Council on Homelessness and the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness have recommended against the formal establishment of homeless encampments."
      See testimony on the bill and submit testimony at House Bill 1375.
      An nonprofit-organization called One Island has taken up the tiny houses and sustainability cause and is organizing Tiny House Community Conversation meetings around the island as well as encouraging testimony to the legislature. See One Island.
       The next Tiny House Community Conversation meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m at the Hawaii`i Cultural Center of Hamakua.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar     

DEATH WITH DIGNITY IS A TOPIC DR. RICHARD CREAGAN is talking about at the Hawai`i Legislature this session. He said today that he supports a proposed law, House Bill 201, entitled Related to Medical Aid in Dying. The bill was introduced by House Speaker Rep. Joseph Souki and is described by Creagan as "designed by and for the people of Hawai`i, taking into account our unique geographical needs, and is based on best practices from more than 30 combined years of safe practice in six states. The law works as intended, with none of the dire results that opponents predicted."
Physician and Representative
Richard Creagan
Photo by Ann Bosted
     Creagan noted that former Hawai`i Governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihee, Benjamin Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie agree on the measure. They and an organization called Compassion & Choices Hawai`i "and a supermajority of our electorate are asking for your support for this important, timely and merciful measure. It is time for Hawai`i citizens who want this relief to be able to get it without the disruption and stress of moving to another state," said Creagan.
     Compassion & Choices launched a legislative campaign earlier this year and supports a lawsuit on behalf of Hawai`i resident John Radcliffe and a physician, asserting that the Hawai`i constitution and state law allow the practice of medical aid in dying. The organization also sent a letter to Congress last week urging it to allow the District of Columbia's recently approved Death With Dignity Act to remain in place.
     Creagan, the Ka`u physician who serves west Ka`u in the state House of Representatives, wrote a position paper on the legislation proposed for Hawai`i: "The people of Hawai`i have been asking for a medical aid in dying option (also known as “death with dignity”) for almost 20 years. Today, 80 percent of Hawai`i residents believe medical aid in dying should be an option in our state," Creagan reports.
     He defines it: "Medical aid in dying is an end-of-life medical practice in which a terminally ill, mentally capable individual who has a prognosis of six months or less to live requests, obtains and — if his or her suffering becomes unbearable — self-administers medication that brings about a peaceful death."     
      The physician contends that "If you ask terminally ill people how they would like to die, most will say, 'I would like to die peacefully, at home, in my sleep.' As a former emergency room doctor, I can tell you that all too often, this is not the case. In their final stages, terminally ill people can be rushed to the ER repeatedly, admitted to an ICU and hooked up to ventilators, feeding tubes and IVs. Of course, if this is the individual’s wish, then every measure to sustain life should be taken. However, if this becomes a case of prolonging the dying process well beyond what the individual wants, to a stage some would call torture, we must agree it is not right," Creagan reasons.
    "Even terminal sedation (increasing pain meds until the patient stops breathing) might not be the ideal choice for some, who wish not to be sedated into unconsciousness and death at another’s direction and hand, but to make that final and most important choice on their own."
     Creagan writes, "We can offer that choice. A physician who practiced in Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been legal for nearly 20 years, told a story about the first person she prescribed life-ending medication to. The woman, who was dying a prolonged and agonizing death from ovarian cancer, wanted to die at home, in her own bed, with her husband holding her hand and her two dogs on the bed with her. She wanted a peaceful and meaningful end to her meaningless agony while she was still mentally intact and she achieved that goal. 
     "Yes, palliative care and hospice are a great boon to many. But for some, they may not relieve all the physical suffering or mental agony. When people are dying, facing only agony and are ready to go, they should have the means to a peaceful passing, if that is what they wish.
Cancer victim John Radcliffe, left, has sued the state with help of 
attorney Anderson Meyer, pollster Barbara Ankersmit, and
 Compassion & Care Hawai`i campaign manager Mary Steiner.
Photo from Compassion & Choices

     "How would I feel if I had a terminal illness and were in a constant unwavering pain that even the most powerful medications could not alleviate? If I had lost my bodily functions and all the skills and tools I had spent my life developing? I would be comforted just knowing a medical aid in dying option was available to me — and I certainly would not deny another the right to consider this option," states Creagan.
     Creagan says that "opponents argue that people will be coerced. In fact, no doctor will be compelled to prescribe if they do not wish to, but there are many that will find it part of a difficult but profoundly meaningful part of their final duty as a physician to their patients. No person who has a religious objection — or any objection — would be pressured or forced to utilize this choice. Coercing an individual to use a medical aid in dying option would be a crime, as it is in all authorized states.
     "The idea that the Hippocratic oath forbids physicians to do this is ludicrous. Over 40 years ago, when I graduated from medical school, we were told that that oath was a traditional part of the ceremony but was an antiquated relic and that we should not even repeat the words if we felt uncomfortable doing so. I certainly did not repeat those words from another time and place," writes Creagan.
        Compassion & Choices has launched a petition that supporters can sign. More can be read on the legislation and pro and con testimony can be provided to the Hawai`i Legislature by clicking on HB201.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar

Senior IDs, Monday, Feb. 13, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., St. Jude’s Church in Ocean View. For residents 60 and older. 928-3100

Valentine’s Day Cards, Monday, Feb. 13, at 6 p.m., Nā‘ālehu Community Center. Ages 5 – 10, 939-2510

Valentine’s Day Cards, Tuesday, Feb 14, 2 – 3 p.m., Kahuku Park. Ages 6 – 12. 929-9113

Valentine’s Day Buffet, Tue, Feb 14, 5 – 8 p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Prime rib, lemon-buttered fish, vegetable stir-fry with tofu and more. $27.95 adult; $14.50 child (6-11 yrs old). Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356

The Hylaeus Project and the Newly Endangered Bees of Hawai‘i, Tue, Feb 14, 7 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Natural historian Lisa Schonberg discusses seven species of the yellow-faced bees of Hawai‘i that became the first bees to ever be listed as endangered. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Brenda Iokepa-Moses

Ka`u Farm Bureau has set its first meeting of 2017 for this Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the auxiliary room at the new gymnasium in Pahala at 6 p.m. Election of new officers is planned for the meeting, said Ka`u Farm Bureau President Brenda Iokepa-Moses. She recently returned from the National Association of Conservation Districts meeting in Denver, representing the state of Hawai`i.

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