Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013

Discovery Harbour Volunteer Fire Department members include, left to right, in front row, Douglas Castro, applicant Steve Pyle, Liz
 Stabo, Capt. T.J. Jamesand in back row, Nels Eklund, Tommy Akin, Meliha Corcoran and fire equipment operator Ken Shisler.
Jeremy Buhr is not shown. Photo from DHVFD Co. 11C Capt. T.J. James
DISCOVERY HARBOUR VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT has received a monetary donation from upstate New York residents whose nephew, a volunteer firefighter, recently died. Robert and Patrice Tomaso plan to send $25 each month to a different volunteer fire department in every state in honor of the late Captain Joe Maben, who collapsed and died of a massive heart attack at age 36 while playing in New York State Firemens’ softball tournament on Aug. 3. DHVFD Company 11C is the first recipient of these donations.
Joe Maben was captain at J.W. Edmonds Hose
Co.in Hudson, N.Y. Photo from Hudson F.D.
      In her letter to Company 11C’s Captain T.J. James, Patrice Tomaso wrote, “Joe loved being a volunteer firefighter and became a junior firefighter at the age of 14. Wherever he travelled, he always sought out the local fire departments and would stop by to take photos and to introduce himself.
      “There is camaraderie within the fire department that is so unique and one that I have never witnessed with any other organization. The support that Joe’s fellow firefighters have given us and his family has been truly amazing and very much appreciated. Joe’s fellow firefighters looked out for him, and now they look after us.
      “It is my belief that in order to try to find one’s way out of such unspeakable grief, you must do for others. Firefighters are truly unique, brave, caring and selfless individuals. May you always get the respect and gratitude you so richly deserve,” Tomaso concluded.
      At yesterday’s Hawai`i County Council meeting, Capt. James asked the Council to accept the gesture as part of the Tomasos’ healing process, and members voted unanimously to accept the donation.
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PAHALA COMMUNITY CENTER WILL GET 24 new tables after a resolution appropriating funds for their purchase passed unanimously at yesterday’s Hawai`i County Council meeting. Ford stated that the 12-foot wooden tables currently in use have “deteriorated to the point of becoming dangerous.” She called for “plastic tables that are safe and easier to handle.” An appropriation of $1,800 will come from District 6 Contingency Relief Fund.
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HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL HAS VOTED FOR RAISES for persons holding appointed positions in the county’s legislative branch of government. The Council approved raises of four percent, which J Yoshimoto said was tied to recent wage increases approved by Hawai`i Government Employees Association.
      Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford introduced an amendment to Yoshimoto’s resolution that would have increased the ceilings for each of the step increases for staff. “We have employees who have been here for many years who have not had a pay increase for that time,” she said. However, District 1 Council member Valerie Poindexter pointed out that such increases were above 10 percent. She and others suggested that such large increases should be taken up during budget discussions.
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KA`U’S U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ HAS VOTED TO ADVANCE key legislation to provide workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and expand federal equal rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals.
      The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, co-sponsored by Schatz, would expand existing protections against employment discrimination to apply to sexual orientation and gender identity.
      Current law protects employees from discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin, age and disability.
      The legislation passed a major procedural hurdle in the Senate by a vote of 62-38 and is now expected to pass later this week.
This mamane in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park was
added to the National Registry of Big Trees in 2011.
      “Everyone, in Hawai`i and across the country, deserves the right to go to work and earn a good living for your family – this is certainly true regardless of the gender of who you love,” Schatz said. “I’m proud that in Hawai`i we banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, and I’m committed to ensuring these equal rights are protected nationwide.”
      “Sen. Schatz has been a passionate advocate for LGBT rights throughout his career,” said Jacce Mikulanec, Policy & Community Partnerships director of Good Beginnings Alliance. “His co-sponsorship of ENDA and his history of support for marriage equality has helped to move Hawai`i and our nation in the right direction.”
      Shortly after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, Schatz said, “Because of this decision, the federal government can no longer tell men and women who they can or cannot marry, and same-sex married couples can now enjoy the same federal benefits as the rest of us. I have always believed in marriage equality, and will continue to do everything in my power to help our LGBT friends and loved ones achieve equality.”
      Last week, his wife Linda Schatz testified in support of marriage equality before the special session of the Hawai`i state Senate and Assembly on behalf of the senator.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U RESIDENTS CAN NOMINATE SELECTIONS for the 2014 National Register of Big Trees. Across the United States, the largest trees of their species join the ranks of the more than 780 national champion trees listed in American Forests’ National Register of Big Trees. 
      “Hawai`i’s Big Tree Competition is proud to announce that our champion, a mamane in Pu`u Wa`awa`a Forest Reserve, has been included in the American Forests 2014 calendar,” said Department of Land & Natural Resources Forestry Program manager Sheri Mann.
      Since 1940, American Forests National Big Tree Program has promoted the importance of planting and caring for trees and forests in helping to sustain healthy ecosystems and life on Earth. 
Paniolo leimaker Mona Chow, of Kapapala Ranch, teaches at the Hawaiian Lifestyle
workshop this week in Pahala.  Photo by Julia Neal
      The program has campaigned to locate, protect and save the biggest specimens of every native and naturalized tree species in the United States. Beyond national champions, Hawai`i’s Big Tree Competition also recognizes the biggest trees in Hawai`i using the same equation as the national program.
      Sheri Shannon, coordinator of American Forests National Big Tree Program, said, “Anyone can be a big tree hunter. It’s because of avid tree lovers that we are able to find some of the nation’s biggest trees.” 
      To learn more about Hawai`i’s Big Tree Competition or how to nominate a potential champion tree, contact Nicholas Joly at 808-586-0915 with the tree’s height, circumference, and crown spread measurements. 
      To learn more about American Forests’ National Big Tree Program or the Big Tree Measuring Guidelines, visit americanforests.org/bigtrees.
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VOLUNTEERS CAN HELP REMOVE INVASIVE Himalayan ginger along trails in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center. Free; park entrance fees apply.

A FREE CONCERT SATURDAY FROM 11 A.M. TO 4 P.M. at Pahala Plantation House features Hawaiian music masters Dennis Kamakahi, Ledward Kaapana, Keoki Kahumoku, George Kahumoku, Jr., James Hill, Anne Davidson, Bolo and many more alongside students at the eighth annual Hawaiian Music & Lifestyles Workshop held by Keoki Kahumoku and his Center for Hawaiian Music Studies. Attendees are encouraged to bring folding chairs and mats for seating on the lawn. Plate lunches will be available for purchase.
     The concert is the culmination of the weeklong workshop where attendees from around the world gather to learn arts of slack key guitar, `ukulele, hula, lei making, lauhala weaving, food preparation and more.
Hawai`i Wildlife Fund is looking for volunteers to load derelict fishing
nets into a Matson container Sunday. Photo from HWF
KA`U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. sponsors a health fair Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pahala Community Center, with health education, prevention booths, nutritional and healthy food demonstrations, Hawai`i Health Connector enrollment and much more. 

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND WILL BE LOADING another Matson container full of derelict fishing nets collected since last December. “This is our contribution to NOAA’s Nets-to-Energy project,” said coordinator Megan Lamson.
      Volunteers are needed Sunday from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. to winch and hook the nets and climb up into the Matson container with them. To sign up, contact Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakaicleanups@gmail.com.



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