Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Andres Magana Ortiz could be deported as early as June 10. Photo by David Corrigan. See Big Island Video News
LEGISLATION TO HALT DEPORTATION OF A BIG ISLAND COFFEE FARMER was introduced into the U.S. Congress by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard this week. She spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives today on behalf of Andres Magana Ortiz.
     She pointed out that a similar "private bill" was introduced by U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Akaka to assist Chef Chai Chaowasaree in 2001. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, this legislation would adjust Ortiz's legal status and make him eligible for legal, permanent residence in the United States where he lives in Kailua-Kona. Ortiz is under threat of deportation under a Final Order of Removal issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The introduction of this bill follows a letter sent this week by Hawai`i’s congressional delegation to DHS Secretary Kelly requesting that the Department reverse its decision to deport Mr. Ortiz.
Andres Magana Ortiz came to Hawai`i to pick coffee, married and
raised a family, built a house anda coffee farm.
Photo by David Corrigan. See Big Island Video News
     “The purpose of this bill is to help Mr. Ortiz with his extremely challenging situation, put him on a path to citizenship, and prevent his family from being torn apart. Without this legislation, Andres Ortiz faces deportation within days, after living in Hawai`i for 28 years and working hard as a small business owner," stated Gabbard. "His wife and children – U.S. citizens – have exhausted all of the options available to them before their father and husband is forced to leave the place he calls home in Hawai`i. We need a pathway to citizenship for immigrants to ensure people who deserve to be here, can find a way to be a part of our great country. We need immigration reform that keeps families together.”
     Immigration reform, said a statement from Gabbard's office, has been one of her top priorities throughout her time in Congress. She also co-sponsored two measures to protect families and children, including the DREAMer Information Protection Act (H.R. 532) which prohibits DHS’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program from being used for immigration enforcement proceedings and the BRIDGE Act (H.R.496) which codifies the DACA program.
    Ortiz was brought to the U.S. by smugglers when he was 15 to join his mother who found work in California. He told Big Island Video news that he could be deported as early as June 10.
Ortiz takes care of his own and 15 other coffee farms.
Photo by David Corrigan. See Big Island Video News

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THE SANDERS INSTITUTE HAS NAMED TULSI GABBARD as one of its Fellows. The think tank was launched today by Jane O`Meira Sanders, who campaigned with her husband Berrnie Sanders in last year's presidential election.
       The Congresswoman who represents Ka`u is described as "growing up in beautiful Hawai`i. As a teenager, she co-founded an environmental non-profit called Healthy Hawai`i Coalition, focused on educating children about protecting Hawai`i's environment. An advocate for environmental policy, Tulsi was elected to the Hawai`i State Legislature in 2002 when she was just 21 years old."

 Other Fellows are college professors, environmentalists, social justice advocates and economists, including Dr. Cornel West, Bill McKibben, Danny Glover, Ben Jealous, Dr. Stephanie Kelton, Jeffrey Sachs, Harry Belafonte, Robert Reich and Nina Turner.
      At www.sandersinstitute.com, the tag line for the organization is Revitalizing Democracy. "The Sanders Institute is dedicated to transforming our democracy through research, education, outreach and advancement of bold, progressive ideas and values," says the website, which has sections on Economy & Economic Justice, and Heathcare, promoting "Medicare for All."

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CHRISTOPHER WRAY IS PRES. DONALD TRUMP'S NOMINEE FOR FBI director. Sen. Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement today:
Christopher Wray
      “At a time when we have so many concerns about President Trump’s interference with the FBI’s investigation of his team’s ties with Russia, it is critical that our next FBI director remains fiercely independent of the White House. By his own admission, Donald Trump fired the former FBI Director, James Comey, with the hope it would bring the Russia investigation to an end. In doing so, the President forfeited any benefit of the doubt with this nomination.  I will be looking closely to see if Donald Trump’s nominee Chris Wray will approach the responsibilities of the job seriously and free of politics. His loyalty pledge must be to the Constitution and the country, not to Donald Trump.”
      Trump made the announcement to nominate Wray in a tweet, one day before fired FBI Directory James Comey goes before Congress to tell his story.
    The nominee served under Pres. George W. Bush as head of the Justice Department criminal investigation division. He leads the Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group of a D.C. law firm.

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INCREASING FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE IMPACT AID PROGRAM is the goal of Senators Mazie K. Hirono and Brian Schatz in a letter urging federal appropriators to increase federal funding for the Impact Aid Program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget. Hawai`i receives about $40 to $50 million a year for this funding, used throughout the statewide school system.
The late Rep. Mark Takai receiving the big check for education from
the federal government in 2014.
Photo from Hawai`i Department of Education.
     “Impact Aid funds a range of programs, including efforts to retain highly qualified teachers, adequate technology, facilities renovation, and maintenance of transportation fleets. For many districts, this funding represents the very lifeblood that allows their school system to operate,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “The potential of long-term funding stagnation or program cuts is of serious concern given the changing needs of the program and the students these districts serve. Impact Aid is not only the Federal Government’s obligation, but also a tax relief program for local communities.”
     The Impact Aid program provides Hawai`i funding to help finance the education of military-connected children. The average cost to educate a student in Hawai`i is approximately $12,000 with the average reimbursement totaling only 15 percent of the total cost. A decrease in this support would have crippling effects on the programs, courses, and other resources that are offered throughout Hawai`i.
     Joining Hirono and Schatz were a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators. See the full text of the letter here.

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Nash Adams-Pruitt eaches lampworking this
Saturday and Sunday. Photo from Volcano Art Center
Red Cross Volunteer meeting, Thu, June 8, 7 p.m., HOVE Rad Maintenance Corp. office. For volunteers and those interested in becoming volunteers. Hannah Uribes, 929-9953

Pancake Breakfast, Sat, June 10, 8 – 11 a.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033

Atlas Recycling at South Point U-Cart, Sat, June 10, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Lampworking, Sat/Sun, June 10/11, 1 – 3 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. An introductory, two-session class taught by Nash Adams-Pruitt is designed for students who have never touched a torch. 967-8222

Jazz in the Forest, Sat, June 10, 4:30 & 7:30 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Two performances feature Jean Pierre Thoma & The Jazztones.

Kanikapila, Sat, June 10 & 24, 6 – 9 p.m., Nā‘ālehu Methodist Church Hall. Acoustic instruments, drums, singers & dancers welcome. Desmond, 937-6305

A FREE WORKSHOP ON VEGETABLE SEED STARTING will be held Sunday, June 11 at KaLae Coffee & Hawaiian Flowers on South Point road from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. A Hawai`i Farmers Union talk-story and potluck will be held from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. The program is part of the new Ka`u Farm School. The speaker is Sue Barnett of Ka`u Community Garden. See www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com.

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