Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, April 25, 2014

Jamie Kailiawa and Wailau Ryder entertain coffee enthusiasts at Specialty Coffee Association of America's convention in Seattle today. Photo by Julia Neal

A CONFERENCE COMMITTEE of state House and Senate legislators has agreed to a bill that would authorize limited meetings where any number of County Council members may attend a board’s or community group’s event to discuss council business, provided that certain requirements are met.
Hawai`i's lawmakers are in the final days of this year's legislative session, with
adjournment on Thursday, May 1.
      The law currently limits the number of council members who can attend such events. If there are enough council members at the same place for a quorum, they could violate the Sunshine Law. In Hawai`i County, which has nine council members, no more than four can attend an event together or meet to discuss official business. The purpose of the law is to restrict council members’ interactions to their regular meetings so that decision-making takes place there.
      The bill would require council members to give public notice six days in advance, avoid making any decisions, not meet outside Hawai`i and not try to circumvent the Sunshine Law’s purpose.
      The bill states, “The Legislature finds that county council members are hindered in communicating with constituents and understanding community concerns because they are subject to the sunshine law, restricting the number of members permitted to attend and discuss council business at community meetings or similar events. Constituents often do not understand that the limited number of council members attending is due to a restriction rather than to a lack of interest by members. At the same time, members of the public are concerned about the potential for abuse of the public’s right to know and participate in the policy making process if protections provided by the sunshine law are removed.”
      The stated purpose of the bill is “to balance these opposing interests and allow greater communication with the public, subject to appropriate limitations, through the establishment of a limited meeting where any number of county council members may attend a community group’s meeting to discuss council business; provided that no decision or commitments to vote are made by the council members.” 
      HB2139 would be in effect until June 30, 2016.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u's state legislators, including Rep. Richard Creagan, are
completing conference committee meetings at the state Capitol.
STATE LEGISLATORS ARE WRAPPING UP THEIR WORK on conference committees, with many bills in their final form to be voted on next week before the 2014 Legislature adjourns on Thursday. 
      Ka`u’s Rep. Richard Onishi and Sen. Russell Ruderman are on a committee discussing SB2920, which would establish and appropriate funds for a little fire ant pilot project administered by Hawai`i County Department of Parks & Recreation, an LFA canine detection team pilot project and public awareness and education campaign to address the LFA threat in Hawai`i.
      Ka`u’s Rep. Richard Creagan and Ruderman are on a committee discussing SB 2934, which would require the Public Utilities Commission to establish community-based renewable energy tariffs that would allow electric utility customers to own portions of a renewable energy facility that sells electricity to the electric utility. It would allow an electric utility, or anyone, to propose a community-based renewable energy project for approval by the PUC.
      Ruderman is also on a committee discussing HB2109, which would establish a five-year, evidence-based, physical-activity and nutritional-education pilot program within the A+ Program in Hawai`i’s public elementary schools.
      Ka`u Sen. Josh Green is on the committee working on HB1713, which would appropriate general funds to provide ongoing financial support to healthy aging programs and services. It would require the Executive Office on Aging to conduct a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care and appropriate general funds for its support and evaluation.
      Status of these and other bills can be tracked at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kea Keolanui and singer Wailau Ryder represent Ka`u and Rainbow Falls coffee today
through Sunday at Seattle Convention Center. Photo by Julia Neal
MEET THE HAWAIIANS IS THE THEME of Ka`u Coffee Mill’s booth at the Specialty Coffee Association of America convention in Seattle. 
      Jamie Kailiawa, of Pahala’s Halau Hula O Leionalani, and Wailau Ryder presented hula and Hawaiian music to attendees today. Bull Kailiawa was also on hand, sharing his knowledge of growing award-winning coffee.
      Events at the convention include the World Barista Championship, U.S. Cup Tasters Championship, Roasters Choice Tasting Competition and Roasters Guild Coffees of the Year Competition.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

“WE NEED A ‘TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE’ APPROACH to renewable energy options,” says state Board of Agriculture member Richard Ha on his blog at hahaha.hamakuasprings.com. “They need to be socially sustainable, environmentally sustainable, and economically sustainable.
      “Social sustainability has largely been ignored in many approaches to renewable energy solutions,” Ha writes. “The Big Island has the lowest median family income in the state, and that is not socially sustainable. Hawaiians leaving their ancestral lands in greater and greater numbers in order to look for work is not socially sustainable.
      “We need to pay more attention to this. Finding solutions that give folks on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder more spending money will benefit all of us, because two-thirds of our economy is made up of consumer spending.
      “Energy and agriculture are inextricably tied together, and the agricultural industry is vulnerable because of its dependency on energy. Nitrogen fertilizer, plastics, chemicals, etc., are all byproducts of petroleum.
      “What can we do to dodge the bullet? We can maximize the resources we have available to us here in a sustainable way.
      “On the energy side, we have geothermal, which will be available to us, according to the scientists, for 500,000 years. On the ag side, we have a year-long growing season. These are both huge advantages. We need to leverage them so we have a competitive advantage over the rest of the world.
      “Geothermal electricity puts us on the right side of the cost curve. And as natural gas prices rise, we will be able to competitively make hydrogen. We can use that hydrogen for transportation, as well as to manufacture nitrogen fertilizer.
      “In the ag industry, we should be maximizing technology to help us with disease and insect control, thereby lessening our dependency on natural gas.
      “Our tourism industry is also at risk as jet fuel rises in cost. But with the same low-cost electricity that helps our farmers and their customers, we would lower the walk-around cost of the average tourist’s budget. This would both support our tourism industry and bring money into our local economy.
      “In the final analysis, we can no longer think and act in silence. We need a long-range systems approach, based on the three pillars of sustainability – social sustainability, environmental sustainability, and economic sustainability. 
      “The triple sustainability bottom line approach is a long-term, pono approach that does the right thing for us as well as future generations. It sets us up to be more competitive to the rest of the world.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets today at 5 p.m. at Hawaiian Ranchos offices. For more information, email fda@alohabroadband.net.
JULIE EVANS AND LOIS AND EARL STOKES teach Advanced Zentangle: White on Black, tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus. Register at 967-8222. 

AS PART OF VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Merrie Monarch celebration, Caren Loebel-Fried gives a printmaking demonstration and signs books tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS begin a week from today with a Pa`ina & Open House at historic Pahala Plantation House on Friday, May 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event includes music, hula with Halau Hula O Leionalani, food and house tours.
      Donations will be accepted for Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship Fund. Hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages, Ka`u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka`u Calendar newspaper. kaucoffeefest.com for more information on this and more events.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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