Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013

With Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park re-opened, Stewardship in the Park programs are back on track. Volunteers can
help Paul and Jane Field remove invasive Himalayan ginger every week in November beginning this Friday.
Photo by Jessica Ferracane/NPS
U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ INTRODUCED TWO BILLS yesterday that would create high-quality jobs in Hawai`i and promote American manufacturing as part of a collaborative “Make it in America” initiative with other Senate colleagues. 
      The SelectUSA Authorization Act would help businesses tap into investment needed to expand and create jobs, spur economic growth and promote American competitiveness. A companion bill in the House has been introduced by California Rep. Raul Ruiz.
      The Native Small Business Conformity Act, introduced by Schatz and Sen. Mazie Hirono, would enhance opportunities for Native Hawaiian Organizations to engage in federal contracting as other Native-owned small business firms do.
Sen. Brian Schatz
      In the coming weeks, Sen. Schatz will also be introducing two additional bills to promote trade and incentivize energy efficiency in manufacturing. The American Export Promotion Act, which accompanies legislation introduced in the House by Texas Rep. Pete Gallego, would boost exports of Hawai`i’s unique products and help small businesses access global markets.
      Schatz will also be working with Senate colleagues to introduce the Expanding Industrial Energy and Water Efficiency Incentives Act, which would offer targeted incentives to promote energy efficiency improvements in industrial and manufacturing facilities and make American industry more competitive.
      “These policies will help create good jobs in Hawai`i and help Hawai`i businesses grow,” Schatz said. “New clean energy incentives, opportunities for Native Hawaiian small businesses, increasing Hawai`i’s exports and promoting foreign investment in our businesses are all part of a dynamic economy here in Hawai`i.”
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I STATE SENATE IS CONSIDERING the Marriage Equality Act of 2013 during a special session of the Legislature. If it passes a final floor vote today, the bill moves to the House, where a public hearing is scheduled for tomorrow before the House Judiciary and Finance Committees. The committees are waiving the 24-hour deadline for submission of testimony, which will be accepted before and during the hearing.
      According to a message from Ka`u’s state Rep. Denny Coffman, testimony submitted for the yesterday’s Senate hearing does not automatically carry over to the House and should be resubmitted for it to be on the record for tomorrow’s hearing. Testimony is accepted at capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx.
      Several Ka`u area residents have submitted testimony to the Legislature regarding the controversial issue.
      In her testimony, Jolyne Oyama, of Na`alehu, said, “This legislation will have little effect on the civil rights of the estimated five percent of Hawai`i’s residents who identify themselves as gay or lesbian, because they can travel to any one of the fourteen states or the District of Columbia, which have adopted same-sex marriage legislation, to get married. However, it will have a catastrophic effect on the First Amendment rights of the 95 percent of Hawai`i’s residents who identify themselves as religious.”
      Vanessa Ott, also of Na`alehu, wrote, “Long before we were married, my husband and I registered as domestic partners as an act of solidarity with the GLBT community. If they couldn’t marry, why should we? We finally compromised our ethics and got married because of the many benefits that marriage offers, but we continued our fight for marriage equity for everyone. Much like ending Jim Crow laws that prohibited people of different races from marrying, the time has come to end this discriminatory practice.”
Hawai`i State Capitol is the site of a special session considering the
Marriage Equity Act of 2013. Photo from wikipedia.org.
      Volcano Village resident Raymond Glory, Jr. wrote, “I am against SB1 for the following reasons: The convening of this special session for an issue that has such far reaching ramifications should have the full two-thirds support of both the House and the Senate. The fact that it does not, and that the governor chooses to convene the special session anyway, is of great concern to me.
      “An issue of this magnitude should include as much input from the citizens as possible. This special session does not do that, as it is limited to only five or six days. To compound matters, if I want to testify in person, I have to fly to Honolulu … as there are no accommodations for in-person, neighbor island testifiers. This is discriminatory and abusive to neighbor island citizens.
      “It should be the goal of the Legislature to write and pass into law the best bill possible to best serve all of the citizens of the state. The fact that the bill before the Legislature cannot be amended is baffling and leaves me with the impression that the input from the citizens, the House representatives, the senators – for that matter, everybody except the drafters of the bill – is not relevant or welcome. The bill is a “take it or leave it” document and doesn’t look at all like democracy in the United States of America.”
      Emily Danford, of Volcano, testified, “The freedom to marry the person you love is a basic freedom that should not be denied to anyone. Gay and lesbian couples get married for similar reasons as everyone else – to make a lifetime promise of love, commitment and fidelity to the person they love.
      “In Hawai`i, we don’t turn our backs on family. No member of anyone’s `ohana – gay or straight – should have to face shame because of who they are and who they love.
      “The government should not be in the business of telling people who they can and cannot marry. None of us would want to be told that it is illegal to marry the person we love.
      “Please pass this bill to allow for marriage equality for all of Hawai`i’s families. 
      “If you are going to base it on religion, you need to remove all the civil benefits that married couples get and make divorce illegal.”
      This and all other testimony submitted is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’S new computer-based vehicle safety inspection system begins this Friday, Nov. 1. Fees are $19.19 for passenger vehicles and pickup trucks and $13.24 for motorcycles and trailers.
      “With this program we enter the new age of wireless computerization, instant recordation and protection from fraud and theft,” said DOT director Glenn Okimoto.
      The DOT said the program eliminates monthly reporting by inspection stations and provides immediate recording and proof of vehicle inspection status.
      In the new system, decals are printed at the inspection station and include station ID, vehicle identification numbers and license numbers.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATION request letters from individuals in Hawai`i’s Second Congressional District for admission to U.S. Service Academies in summer of 2014. U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard issued a call for nominations earlier this month. Applications can be submitted to John Towles, Office of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, 300 Ala Moana Blvd Room 5-104, Honolulu, HI 96850.
      Nomination forms are available at gabbard.house.gov/services/military-academy-nominations.
      Constituents may also call Gabbard’s Honolulu office at 808-541-1986 for additional information.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U TROJANS ARE PREPARING FOR HOMECOMING. Coronation of the court takes place Thursday, Nov. 7 in the evening at the Ka`u High School gym.
      Queen is senior Chazlyn Fuerte-Castaneda, of Na`alehu. Her escort is Alexis Alejo. Senior Princess is Kamalani Fujikawa, of Wai`ohinu. Her escort is Chance Emmsley-Ah Yee. Junior Princess is Kerrilynn Domondon, of Pahala. Her escort is Anthony Emmsley-Ah Yee. Sophomore Princess is Jami Beck, of Ka Lae. Her escort is Patrick Hondonero. Freshman Princess is Sherilynn Freitas, of Pahala. Her escort is Trevor Taylor.
      Advisors for the homecoming celebration are teachers Janine Balsas and Elisabeth Schlaepfer. Sound for the event is by Extreme Lighting and Sound. Ka`u High School Ensemble will perform.
      Ka`u's eight-man football team meets the Moloka`i Farmers Friday, Nov. 8.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U RESIDENTS HAVE MANY OPPORTUNITIES to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger along Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park trails in November, with the month’s first Stewardship at the Park scheduled this Friday, Nov. 1. Other dates are Fridays, Nov. 8 and 22 and Saturday, Nov. 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. each day. 
       Participants are encouraged to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and close-toed shoes. Work is often in the shade of the forest with sounds of native honeycreepers like `apapane, `amakihi and `oma`o. Water, snacks, rain gear and sun protection are recommended.
      Interested people can stop by Kilauea Visitor Center to get directions and more information. The hike is a one-mile, moderate round-trip into Kilauea caldera down Halem`auma`u Trail, leaving from Kilauea Visitor Center. The hike involves walking over rough, uneven terrain on a dirt and rock path, with up to a 400-foot elevation change.



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