Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka‘ū News Briefs Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hawaiian, Mexican and Japanese dancers and musicians shared their cultures on Saturday at Ho‘okupu Hula
 No Ka‘ū Cultural Festival in Pāhala. Photo by Julia Neal
DANCE AND MUSIC BROUGHT the Ka‘ū community together in an international exchange at Ho‘okupu Hula No Ka‘ū Culural Festival in Pāhala on Saturday. Tiny hula maidens expressed bewilderment with the swirling skirts and thundering rhythms of shoes and boots of Mexican folk dancers who flew in from Mexico City. Japanese hālau shared hula and the Puna Taiko Drummers presented their sounds to the ladies from Japan. Demetrius Oliveira reunited with the Inoue ‘Ohana with whom he toured Japan years ago. Lorielei Shirakawa, who taught hula in Wai‘ōhinu for 20 years, came home to Ka‘ū with her hālau from Hilo and reunited with Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, who produced the two-day event. They were both mentored by the late George Na‘ope, founder of the Merrie Monarch Festival.
A hālau from Mexico dances both hula and Mexican
folk numbers. Photo by Julia Neal
      Ho‘okupu Hula No Ka‘ū Culural Festival presented two days of workshops and performances. Ryder presented the talents of her students from Pāhala and around the islands to families and all those who came for the cultural exchange. Children learned to pound poi and weave coconut. A kukui lighting ceremony remembered many people who passed on in the last year.
     Famed Hawaiian high soprano Raiatea Helm, of Moloka‘i, brought back the songs of the great falsetto singers of Hawaiian music, accompanied by Wailau Ryder and Demetrius Oliveira. Helm thanked Skylark, who emceed the event with Makana Kamahele, for all she has done to help Hawaiian musicians.

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SEN. RUSSELL RUNDERMAN briefed the County Council this week on his plans for the 2018 Hawai‘i Legislature. Ruderman, who represents east Ka‘ū, Volcano and Puna, said he will push for a statewide direct citizens initiative. He acknowledged the initiative and referendum process for Hawai‘i County and hopes for one statewide. "We can have a participative democracy to address some issues that the legislature has failed to address and continues to fail to address.”
Goodwill from traditional Mexican dancers and singers to Hawaiian
dancers and singers and a hug to Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder.
Photo by Julia Neal
    Concerning jobs, Ruderman said he will advocate for a “$15 an hour minimum wage. It's important. I feel like I have a role to play on that discussion," he said, noting that he employes many Hawai‘i Island residents in his business of owning food stores. "You think I would oppose it." However, Ruderman said that he believes a $15 minimum wage "is really good for business, not bad for business. Moreover, it’s good for our society and I think its a way to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and virtually solve our homeless problem."
    The state Senator said, "When I look in our toolbox, what do we have to address poverty and homelessness?" He contended that nothing makes more of an impact than raising wages. "So, it’s something we can do... and make a dramatic difference in our society. I know that it comes with some controversy but I think the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives.”
    Concerning marijuana, Ruderman said, he is “constantly trying to push on decriminalizing or making legal cannabis in our state and I will once again propose a bill to allow the counties to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. Since the state does not seem to want to do so.” 
Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, right, with Hālau Hula O Leionalani at Saturday's Ho‘okupu Hula No Ka‘ū Culural Festival.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Rat lungworm disease is another issue Ruderman said he will revisit at the 2018 Hawai‘i Legislature, by supporting funding for the University of Hawai‘i-Hilo rat lungworm lab. He said $600,000 in funding went all the way through the House and the Senate. "It never got a single no vote in any committee or on the floor and was killed in conference committee through some very dirty business, which harms our community, especially here on the Big Island." He said the bill will be resubmitted. "We would love support for that." He said Hawai‘i County Council "is stepping up helping the lab in its own ways."
Wailau Ryder and Radiate Helm.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Medical Aid and Dying is another bill Ruderman will continue to support next legislature. It is also called physician assisted suicide or death with dignity. "That's the idea that with a lot of safeguards in place, a person of sound mind facing a terminal diagnosis can have their doctor prescribe life ending drugs without their doctor getting in trouble," and without the medical professionals losing their insurance to stay in practice, said Ruderman. He pointed to the legality of physician assisted suicide in five other states, noting that "Oregon is famous for having it" for more than five years. About 20 people a year are assisted in Oregon, he said.
   The Tiny House bill and other ways of helping farmers and ranchers to provide more worker and family housing is another goal of Ruderman. Last year's Tiny House bill passed the legislature but was opposed by the Hawai‘i County Planning Director and the chair of the state Department of Agriculture, who said it could become a loophole for unplanned development on agricultural lands. Gov. David Ige vetoed the Tiny House bill. Ruderman said he would work on the bill to gain county support for 2018.

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WATER QUALITY AT BEACHES is easy to access on the state Department of Health's new website for its Clean Water Branch. The website offers up-to-date information — integrated with aerial photos from Google maps — to check on the status of the water quality of beaches that may have a surge in bacteria levels or are being impacted by sewage spills. This website at eha-cloud.doh.hawaii.gov/cwb/#!/viewer is part of a revised statewide beach monitoring and notification system.
Lori Lei Shirakawa, Demetrius Oliveira and one of her award
winning Kupuna Kane dancers. Photo by Julia Neal
    "The new features and functions of the website, developed in part from a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, were based on feedback from those within the health department as well as external stakeholders," said a statement from DOH. The website is part of an integrated notification system that includes warning signs posted at selected beaches throughout the state.
    “This was a collaborative effort within the Department of Health and with others in the community,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of environmental health. “The input we received allowed us to develop a much more robust beach monitoring and notification system that will serve as a valuable tool for the community." He called the new website, "just the beginning. In the future, we’ll be able to use the data to improve efficiency in the beach warning notification system and use the data for other purposes.”
The Inoue ‘Ohana from Japan reunite with Demetrius Oliveira who
accompanied them on tour in Japan years ago.
Photo by Julia Neal
    Once fully optimized, the new system will automatically generate the advisory text with the location details. The system will alert the Clean Water Branch staff of the pending advisory so it can be reviewed and submitted with one click. With the current system, CWB staff must manually input the advisory and location details and manually transmit the email notifications. In addition, the information on the website and the email notifications are part of two different systems. The new system will make all advisory text consistent and integrate email notifications and website information in a single system.
     “The State of Hawai‘i has taken an important step to ensure public safety by promptly notifying the public about potential human health risks and improving access to beach monitoring data,” said Tomas Torres, Director of the Water Division at EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. “The DOH’s partnership with Surfrider and other stakeholders exemplifies a notable bottom-up collaboration that results in tangible human health and environmental protection for residents and visitors in Hawai‘i.”
Japanese hula dancers shared their skills with Ka‘ū on Saturday. Photo by Julia Neal
      The monitoring of clean water conditions started in ernest in 2000, when the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act became an amendment to the federal Clean Water Act, establishing national standard criteria for coastal recreational water monitoring and public notification of possible pollution at beaches. As an eligible coastal state, Hawai‘i receives an annual EPA BEACH Act grant to implement the BEACH program. For this new federal fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, 2017, the Department of Health received $265,000 from the EPA to operate the statewide program.
A big stage at Pāhala Community Center drew more than 1,000 people to
the hula fest. Photo by Julia Neal
    The  Clean Water Branch is required to operate the beach monitoring program and to provide public notification whenever indicator bacteria levels exceed a specified threshold level. This includes beach advisories for beaches that experience temporary or permanent elevations of bacteria, sewage spills, or brown water advisories following rainy weather that cause runoff to the beaches. The website complements the physical posting of signs on the beaches and the onsite notifications by the county lifeguards.

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A JUMBLE & PLANT SALE is offered at St. Jude's Episcopal Church on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. All you can eat pancakes will be available for $3 per person. For more details, call 939-7000 or email StJudeHawaii@bak.rr.com.

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A PAINT YOUR OWN SILK SCARF Class will be hosted Saturday, Nov. 11,  from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center. Big Island artist Patti Pease Johnson teaches color theory and silk scarf painting techniques using three colors of each artists choosing. Beginners and intermediate artists welcome. Fees are $50 per non-member and $45 per Volcano Art Center member, plus $10 supply fee per person. For more, call 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org.

Pick up the November edition of The Ka‘ū Calendar, 
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka‘ū, from Miloli‘i 
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online now at kaucalendar.com 
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FREE HEPATITIS C TESTING IS AVAILABLE on Sunday, Nov. 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 a.m.,  at Volcano Farmers Market on Wright Rd in Volcano. Volcano Community Association, the organization hosting the event, says that one in 30 baby boomers have Hep. C and most don’t event know it. For more details visit Ka‘ū News Briefs from Thursday, Oct. 12, or email vcainfo@yahoo.com. 

HAM RADIO OPERATORS HOST A POTLUCK PICNIC Sunday, Nov. 5, at Manukā Park. All American Radio Emergency Service members, anyone interested in learning how to operate a ham radio and families are invited to attend. For more, call Dennis Smith at 989-3028.

PU‘U O LOKUANA, a free moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike, takes visitors to the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park is offered Sunday, Nov. 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Learn about the formation and various uses of this grassy cinder cone and enjoy a breathtaking view from the top of lower Ka‘ū.

KA‘Ū COFFEE GROWERS MEET TUESDAY, Nov. 7, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pāhala Community Center.

RETURN TO THE WILD: AN UPDATE ON THE ‘ALALĀ RELEASE is the Tuesday, Nov. 7, After Dark in the Park topic in the Kīlauea Visitor Center auditorium, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, at 7 p.m. ‘Alalā Project staff Jackie Gaudiso-Levita and Rachel Kingsley present and update on the most recent reintroduction efforts to establish a wild population of ‘alalā, the endangered Hawaiian crow. Paul Banko (USGS) and Donna Ball (USFWS) will share past experiences. Free, park entrance fees apply. For more, visit nps.gov/HAVO.

REGISTER KEIKI GRADE K-8 FOR PAPER FALL FLOWER CRAFT by Tuesday, Nov. 7, for the class which takes place Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pāhala Community Center. For more, call 928-3102 or visit hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation.

DISCOVER THE SKILL OF WEAVING LAU HALA with ‘Aha Pūhala o Puna on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon on the Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. The event is free, though park entrance fees apply. For more, visit nps.gov/HAVO.

HEALTH INSURANCE SIGN-UPS are offered at Ocean View Community Center on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The event will occur again on Tuesday, Nov. 14. For more, call 939-7033.

THE PUBLIC ACCESS ROOM AT THE STATE CAPITOL is offering citizens training to help them interact with government, especially leading up to the 2018 Hawai‘i Legislature.
     Several opportunities to learn learn about the legislative process and how to participate will be provided at the Your Voice workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i training room near the Kona Airport, and on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Hawai‘i Community College Manoa Campus Building 379, Room 1 in Hilo. Both events are free to attend.
     The workshop is designed to be helpful to newcomers and seasoned advocates alike.
     For additional information, contact the Public Access Room (PAR):
phone (808)587-0478, email par@capitol.hawaii.gov, or visit LRBhawaii.org/PAR. Read the Ka‘ū News Briefs for Thursday, Oct. 26 for more.

SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY LEGAL AID will be provided on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 9:30 a.m. to 1: 30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. The event offers free social security, veterans information and legal advice. For more call 939-7033.

CU HAWAI‘I FEDERAL CREDIT UNION IS OFFERING EMPLOYMENT as a Member Service Representative in Nā‘ālehu. CU Hawai‘i seeks energetic individuals for full time positions who enjoy working with people and can provide professional, courteous and efficient service to valued members.
     The ideal candidate must be service oriented and possess good communication and computer skills. Cash handling and customer service experience is preferred. Must be able to work Saturdays. CU Hawai‘i offers medical, drug, dental, vision and retirement benefits.
     Email, mail or fax application to: Attn: Human Resources, 476 Hinano Street Hilo, HI 96720, Fax: (808) 935-7793. Applications can be found online at cuhawaii.com/careers.html.

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