Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Jan. 17, 2014

Palm Trail at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's Kahuku Unit offers panoramic views. Photo by David Boyle
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN is proposing a five-year moratorium on the sale and use of Roundup and other products containing glyphosate, a chemical found in common herbicides, according to a story in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. The moratorium would begin July 1 and be in effect while a glyphosate working group studies the chemical’s impacts on health and the environment.
A bill being considered by the state Legislature would put a five-year moratorium
on Roundup and other products containing glyphosate. Image from Monsanto
      Green told reporter Tom Callis that he doesn’t think the state should wait until the working group is finished before taking action. “Task forces, when they make recommendations, are non-binding,” he said.
      The senator cited studies he said show that glyphosate is harmful to development of placenta cells. He told Callis that he also thinks it may be responsible for declines in bee populations and that he is also concerned about chemical build-up in the environment because of its widespread use.
      “We’ve asked the county and state how they are measuring” use, he said. “They didn’t know what the health impact was.
      He said the state should follow the “precautionary principle,” which urges caution when effects of a process or action are unclear or disputed.
      “If people care about using this chemical, why not make sure it is safe?” Green said.
      Callis contacted Ka`u resident and acting Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation president Chris Manfredi for a response to Green’s proposal. Manfredi told Callis he is not opposed to a working group but thinks the moratorium is “putting the cart before the horse.”
      “He certainly hasn’t talked to the Farm Bureau,” Manfredi said. “We would have expressed concerns about it if he had.”
Ka`u's Rep. Richard Creagan
      Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation is one of the organizations the bill names for representation in the working group. Manfredi told The Ka`u Calendar that Farm Bureau should have a seat at the table and that “it is always healthy to engage in and examine the most current science on any subject, but there is no evidence requiring a ban or moratorium.”
      Glyphosate is one of the most “popular and innocuous herbicides in usage,” Manfredi told Callis. “It’s effective, so you don’t have to use as much as you would with other products.”
      While the bill would prevent use of glyphosate, other stronger, restricted-use chemicals would still be legal, according to the story.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S STATE REP. RICHARD CREAGAN, who was appointed as a member of the House of Representatives from the Fifth District to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Rep. Denny Coffman, has receive his committee assignments for this year’s state Legislature. Creagan will be a member of the following five committees: Consumer Protection & Commerce, Judiciary, Health, Housing and Human Services.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I STATE SENATE AND HOUSE LEADERS have announced a joint majority package of priorities for the 2014 legislative session. The last time a joint majority package was unveiled was during the 2008 Legislative Session.
      Lawmakers will focus their combined efforts on two major areas of concern: Seniors and the Environment.
Mosquitoes that carry dengue fever are one of the invasive species Hawai`i
Senate and House members want to eradicate. Photo from ehow.com
      “We are starting off the session in the spirit of collaboration between the House and Senate,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “These shared priorities of seniors and the environment are important because they have sufficient support within both caucuses and address statewide issues of broad public concern at the forefront of the legislative session.”
      House Speaker Joseph M. Souki said, “The proposed legislation is the result of the tireless efforts of representatives from both houses, who helped pull together all the various interests and priorities to find mutual ground and commitments to serious concerns that are statewide and cross political boundaries.”
      A two-part bill relating to aging would fund healthy aging programs and services and provide resources for the implementation of a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care.
      The bill would allocate a total of $6.6 million to support community-based programs that incorporate collaborations between health care and social service agencies.
      The second part of the bill would provide $500,000 for the Department of Health’s Executive Office on Aging to implement a public education and awareness campaign to help better prepare Hawai`i residents in planning for future long-term care needs.
Hawai`i Legislature is targeting little fire ants for eradication.
Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture   
      Another bill would provide $50,000 in funding for outreach initiatives of the Office of Consumer Protection to prevent financial abuse of seniors.
      With regard to the environment, majority members will address concerns on the effects of climate change and invasive species in the state.
      A bill relating to climate change would provide resources and a timeline to ensure Hawai`i adapts to protect the public from effects of climate change. It would provide positions and resources to the Office of Planning who will, within 18 months, come up with plans and policy recommendations to effectively address the worst impacts expected through 2050.
      A bill relating to invasive species would provide $5 million in funding for the Hawai`i Invasive Species Council to help eradicate threats from invasive species, including coconut rhinoceros beetles, fire ants and mosquitos carrying dengue fever.
      Information about these bills and others is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Namaste, Pana`ea Zoo's resident Bengal tiger, has died. Photo from Hawai`i County
AFTER DEVELOPING MULTIPLE HEALTH PROBLEMS that caused his quality of life to deteriorate over the past several weeks, Namaste, a male white  Bengal tiger that was the star attraction at Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo for fifteen years, has been euthanized.
      Las Vegas magician Dirk Arthur donated the tiger to Pana`ewa Zoo in 1999. Namaste was eight months old when he arrived on Hawai`i Island. For 15 years, Namaste’s daily afternoon feedings drew crowds, and his birthday parties held every September attracted hundreds of attendees. 
      Namaste was buried in his enclosure, and the spot will soon be marked with a monument. The zoo also has plans to welcome another tiger after making some renovations to the tiger habitat to accommodate a younger animal.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

TO AVOID TAX PENALTIES, CONSUMERS have until March 31 to enroll in a health insurance plan through Hawai`i Health Connector, the state’s health insurance marketplace. Individuals and families can receive tax subsidies only through Hawai`i Health Connector. Enrollment and premium payment deadlines have been established in conjunction with the participating health and dental plans for the remainder of the open enrollment period that ends March 31.
       As of Jan. 11, a total of 2,709 individuals have enrolled in a health plan, and 350 businesses have applied for a health plan through Hawai`i Health Connector.
      See hawaiihealthconnector.com. Hawai`i Health Connector Customer Support Center can be reached at 1-877-628-5076.
      In Ka`u, help with applying for health insurance is available through Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. Call 928-0101.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN EDUCATION COUNCIL is sponsoring a community listening session at Na`alehu School Cafeteria tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to gather information that will be given directly to the U.S. Department of Education. “Your participation may directly impact federal education grant-making decisions that affect your `ohana,” said Bernie Frank, of Pacific Resources for Education and Learning. 
      For more information, call 808-523-6432 or see nhec.org.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park offers its Palm Trail Hike Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This relatively easy, guided, 2.6-mile loop crosses scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. For more information, call 985-6011 or see nps.gov/havo.

MONDAY IS ONE OF NINE FEE-FREE DATES at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in 2014. The park invites Ka`u residents to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and volunteer to remove invasive ginger along the summit of Kilauea from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants meet project leader Paul Field at Kilauea Visitor Center. Bring a hat, raingear, garden gloves, daypack, snacks and water. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Walk-ins are welcome, and no advance registration is required. Entrance is free all day.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at http://snack.to/fzpfg59c.


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