Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013

Sunset at South Point, Kalae, last night, captured by Ka`u photographer Peter Anderson.
SHARK SIGHTING - KEEP OUT signs are posted at turtle laden Punalu`u Beach today following a tiger shark biting a bodyboarder 20 yards off shore in 8 feet of water at Ninole Horseshoe  around 8 a.m.. The 29 year-old Captain Cook man was paddling out to bodyboard for his second session with two friends when a shark knocked him off his board.  According to police reports, companions of the surfer identified the attacker as a tiger shark about ten to 12 feet long. Friends escorted the victim to  Ka`u Hospital where he was treated in the Emergency Room, receiving stitches and released.
      As a precaution, the lifeguard at Punalu`u posted signs along the waterfront. Swimming, wading, diving and surfing are prohibited. If no sharks are seen following a helicopter flyover tomorrow by the county fire department, the beach could be reopened by noon.
      Punalu`u waterman Guy Enriques said his sons saw a tiger shark in the bay earlier this week when they were diving at Punalu`u. This is the fourteenth shark attack in the state this year, eight of them in waters off Maui, including one leading to the death of a kayak fisherman. Until this year there were no fatal shark attacks in Hawai`i in a decade. In August, a surfer at Dead Trees in Poho`iki suffered bites to his leg and was hospitalized and recovered.
     O Ka`u Kakou, the community organization, has volunteered to help warn the public to stay out of the water at Punalu`u until the beach reopens, a statement from the State Department of Land & Natural Resources reports. Punalu`u is a favorite spot for sea turtles and hawksbill turtles, a favorite food of tiger sharks.

THE VACANT STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SEAT to be left by Denny Coffman, who is resigning to help his family, will be determined through the district’s Democratic party members interviewing prospective candidates and submitting three names directly to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The governor will make the appointment of the new House member to serve west Ka`u and Kona.
     Names mentioned so far include current County Council member Brenda Ford, who said she plans to stay on the council, south Kona organic coffee farmer Una Greenway; Maile David, who ran to be Ka`u’s County Council member last election and now works for the county clerk; and Dru Kanuha, serving his first term in the County Council.
Denny Coffman resigns to care for his
 family. Photo by William Neal
     The former County Council member for Ka`u, Brittany Smart, who has been living on Maui for the last four months, called it “surreal” that her name was listed as a possibility by Civil Beat other news organizations. She said this morning that she would be unable to take the legislative position with her and her husband’s work commitment on Maui. Smart and her husband were both transferred by their company to its Maui EKO Systems composting facility. Living on Maui, she is ineligible to represent District 5 on the Big Island.
     Smart praised Coffman for his work in the legislature and said, “My heart goes out to Denny and his struggles with his family.” This could not have happened to a nicer guy.
    Chair for the Ka`u area for the Hawai`i County Democrats Committee is Dr. Richard Creagan. Chair for the island is David Tarnas.

HAWAI`I RANKS AT THE TOP AS HEALTHIEST PLACE TO LIVE in 2013, according to United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings, released this morning. At the bottom is Mississippi. During the last 24 years, Hawai`i reached number one four times and ranked in the top six in every one of the last 15 years.
    In major measures, Hawai`i ranks third in the country for the least number of smokers and third for the least number of obese people. Hawai`i ranks seventh in the fewest number of people with diabetes. It ranks second in the determinants of good health, with a high rate of health insurance coverage and access to health care. It has one of the lowest rates for cancer and cardiovascular disease. Hawai`i boasts the highest rate of childhood immunization in the country. Eighty-two percent of people exercise regularly in Hawai`i, compared to 77 percent nationally.
Hui Malama provides health services and education in Ka`u.
Photo by Julia Neal
These are more of the Hawai`i highlights, which also show some challenges, according to the America’s Health Rankings report:
• In the past year, smoking prevalence decreased from 16.8 percent to 14.6 percent of adults; however, more than 150,000 adults still smoke.
• Nationally, Hawai`i has one of the lowest prevalence of obesity; however, there are almost 250,000 obese adults in the state.
• In the past year, the violent crime rate decreased from 287 to 239 offenses per 100,000 population.
• In the past five years, levels of air pollution increased from 4.6 to 9.1 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter.
• Hawai`i has the lowest rate of preventable hospitalizations in the nation. In the past 10 years, preventable hospitalizations decreased from 34.8 to 27.4 discharges per 1,000 Medicare enrollees. 
     In addition to the low rate of obesity within the population dominated by Asian, multiracial and Caucasian residents, the health of Native Hawaiians, who have previously registered some of the shortest life spans in the country, has also improved in the last decade, Hawai`i based studies show.
     Local education through Native Hawaiian programs, such as Hui Malama, based in Na`alehu, urges and supports preventative care and teaches a move away from fast foods toward simpler, locally grown nutrition, which gave Hawaiians a healthy and fit lifestyle in ancient times. While obesity rates among Hawaiians are going down, obesity rates within the U.S. population are soaring, rising from around 13 percent in 1990 to 28 percent in 2011. 
    Nationally, diabetes rates have risen since 1996 from under 5 percent to around 9 percent.
     Another organization deep into health education is Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc., which is helping local residents sign up for insurance through the Hawai`i Health Connector. Its executive director Jessie Marques also helps organize health fairs, training for careers in health and organizing studies of lung health in the wake of volcanic emissions. See www.krhcai.com.
     Reaching out to the community to improve health care is Ka`u Hospital which urges residents to fill out its survey online or in person. See surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX.
        Another advance in Ka`u health care is the recent opening of the new Bay Clinic facility in Na`alehu for medical, dental and mental health services. The staff sees patients regardless of whether they have health insurance. 
     Making a big impact on preventative health care is the HMSA health van which gives free physicals to student athletes in Ocean View and on the campus of Ka`u High School, as well as free care to anyone.
     The 2013 America's Health Rankings are not only based on lifestyle choices, availability of medical and preventative care, but also the amount of pollution in the environment. Hawai`i has a low rate of pollution, but more particulates in the air in recent years due to the ongoing volcanic eruption.    
    According to a story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser this morning, State of Hawai`i Director of Health Loretta Fuddy said the number one ranking “reminds us how fortunate we are to live in the Aloha State.” She noted that state government has long helped the needy with coverage through Med-Quest and the state child health insurance programs.
     "We do very well for the population that's economically challenged," Fuddy said.

A STRONG VOICE FOR CLIMATE PREPAREDNESS AND RESILIENCE is what Gov. Neil Abercrombie calls his participation in the President’s Task Force on the issue. Abercrombie attended the first meeting yesterday at the White House’s Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C. On the task force are seven other governors, numerous mayors and Native American tribal officials.
   A statement from Abercrombie said, “The President established the task force to advise his administration on how the federal government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are currently dealing with or anticipate extreme weather, sea level rise, and other impacts of climate change.”
 Named to the task force last month, Abercrombie attended along with Deputy Chief of Staff Blake Oshiro and Hawaii State Sustainability Coordinator Jacqueline Kozak Thiel.
     Cited as factors in his selection for the task force were Abercrombie’s congressional experience (including serving on the Armed Forces Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces, and as a senior member on the Natural Resources Committee) “along with his ability to provide insight into the needs of the Asia-Pacific region,” the statement from his office said.

HAWAI`I LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE BUREAU’S Public Access Room offers free training to help the public follow the 2014 state Legislature tomorrow, Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. The training demystifies the state lawmaking process and demonstrates ways people can participate in the Legislature.

KA`U HIGH SCHOOL WAHINE VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM fell to the Konawaena Wildcats last night, 11 - 69. Denisha Navarro led the Trojans , scoring 6 points. Ka`u Wahine basketball will host the Kea`au Cougars on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.

KA`U HIGH SCHOOL BOYS VARSITY BASKETBALL team spent four days at the Waiakea - Kea`au Classic Basketball tournament in Hilo from Dec. 4 - 7. On Wednesday, Ka`u defeated Kea`au Two, 57 - 41. On Thursday, Konawaena defeated Ka`u, 58 - 20. On Friday, Kea`au Defeated Ka`u 59 - 40, and on Saturday, Kaiser defeated Ka`u 69 - 32. The next preseason tournament will be on Dec. 19 - 21 hosted by St. Joseph High School.

Drake Fujimoto invites all keiki to the annual Hana Hou Christmas party today
 at 5 p.m. Photo by Julia Neal
HANA HOU RESTAURANT’S KEIKI CHRISTMAS PARTY is today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Na`alehu. The annual event includes buffet dinner, lucky number prizes, keiki ID and photos with Santa. Call 929-9717 for more information.

KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE holds its annual dinner and meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 12 at Tiki Mama's, near the corner of Aloha and Hwy 11 in Ocean View. Cost is $12 per person for dinner. Entertainment at 5 p.m. will feature live music by The Last Fling Dance Band and magic by Allan Humble. Dinner and voting are at 6 p.m. RSVP to cytodbd@aol.com or 930-4697.

SECOND SATURDAY VOLCANO POTTERY SALE will be held at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus on the lawn beside Hale Ho'omana, from 9 am - 4 pm. this Saturday, Dec. 14. Big Island potters TR Andrews, Ron Hanatani, Shannon Hickey and Carol Yamashita will show and sell a variety of their functional and sculptural work, in this outdoor setting.

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park continues its exhibit featuring artist-designed holiday wreaths and ornaments continues, in addition to the fine art that the gallery features year-round. The gallery is open from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. every day but Christmas Day from now until the end of the year.


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