Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, April 26, 2014

Rick Makanaaloha Kia`imeaokekanaka San Nicolas, seen here with the late Uncle George Na`ope, is Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's first Artist-in-Residence. Photo from the Artist
STATE HOUSE AND SENATE CONFEREES at the state Legislature have struck a balance on several conference drafts. The bills now go to the full Senate and House for a final floor vote. 
      “The Legislature for the third year in a row worked efficiently and effectively to end conference negotiations on time,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “In the past, certain bills required extending the deadline for negotiations. Efficiency is important to the Senate as we continue to do work for the people of Hawai`i.”
Sen. David Ige confers with Rep. Sylvia Luke during a conference committee meeting.
      Senate Bill 2609 would boost the income of Hawai`i’s lowest paid workers. The final version of the bill increases the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 over the next four years. For workers who earn at least $7 more than the minimum wage, businesses can deduct a 75 cents tip credit. The current tip credit is 50 cents.
       HB1700 includes funding for core services such as education, health, the University of Hawai`i, human services, the environment, public safety and supporting and caring for Hawai`i’s people. Lawmakers reduced Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s executive budget request by $173 million in general funds over fiscal biennium 2013-15. The governor’s $200 million budget request for FY2015 was cut down to $65.7 million.
      Funding for capital improvement projects amounted to just over $5 billion, of which $2.3 billion is funded in general obligation or reimbursable bonds. This number includes the lapse and reauthorization of $339 million in GO Bonds for the State Educational Facilities Improvement Fund. The budget includes $40 million for grant-in-aid.
       “Education was a real winner in this bill,” said Sen. David Ige. “We were able to make key investments at every level, ensuring that our students have the best access to quality education. We also made investments to protect our agriculture lands by adding positions to the pesticides branch in the Department of Agriculture, funded many key programs in other areas and closed on time with a balanced and fair budget despite challenges.”
      Priorities at this year’s state Legislature were supporting Hawai`i’s kupuna and protecting the environment.
      HB1713 SD2 and SB2346 SD1 HD2 supports Hawai`i’s kupuna through funding of aging, long-term care and investor education programs.
       HB1714 establishes an interagency sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation committee under the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
      The final joint majority package bill, HB1716, which appropriates $5 million to the Hawai`i Invasive Species Council for invasive species prevention, control, outreach, research, and planning, passed out of committee earlier this month.
      See capitol.hawaii.gov for more information on these and other bills.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u's U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, seated at right, met with South Korea President
Park Geun-hye. Photo from Office of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD and senior congressional leaders have returned from Asia where they met with key leaders in Japan, South Korea, and China to discuss regional security challenges, economic opportunity, and matters relating to international trade. 
      The focus of the visits April 18 – 24 occurred on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to the region, with an objective to build and strengthen ties in the Asia-Pacific Region.
      Prior to their departure to Asia, Gabbard hosted the congressional delegation led by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Hawai`i and coordinated a roundtable discussion at U.S. Pacific Command to discuss the unique dynamics in the region and the important role Hawai`i plays.
      “Hawai`i plays a significant role in the growth of the Asia-Pacific region, and meeting face-to-face with leaders on their home soil is critical to building lasting partnerships that are based on common ground and mutual respect,” said Gabbard, who serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. “These substantive dialogues and relevant site visits have reinforced the need for the U.S. to continue its focus and investment in the region.”
      Gabbard toured Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, the strip of land that serves as a buffer between North and South Korea, and met with U.S. and South Korean troops serving there.
      Later, when meeting with President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, Gabbard offered personal condolences to Park on behalf of the people of Hawai`i for the tragic loss of life in the recent ferry incident.
      While in Japan, Gabbard met with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Defense Minister Onodera, Foreign Minister Kishida and members of the Diet.
      Gabbard and the congregational delegation also visited Beijing, China and met with Premier Li Keqiang, National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang, Vice Chairman Ji Bingxuan, as well as Senior NPC Representatives and Committee Chairpersons.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Recent recipients of iCAN certificates are, from left, Geraldine Ramos, Renilda Ramos,
Jeanie Jara, Emily Baloaen and Lono Grace. Not pictured are Brandy Cordeiro and
Leslie Rosario. Photo from KRHCAI
KA`U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. is offering its iCAN program to interested Ka`u residents. In the Individualized Career Achievement Network, students prepare for careers in agriculture, energy and health care through improving skills in reading, writing, math and computers. At each level of achievement, they receive certificates. The longer-term goal is receiving a National Career Readiness Certificate. The 120-hour program is self-paced, depending on one’s needs and placement after an initial assessment. 
      For more information, see krhcai.com or call 928-0101.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE NATIONAL PARKS ARTS FOUNDATION, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park launches its first Artist-in-Residence program in May. The debut artist is master of Hawaiian featherwork, Rick Makanaaloha Kia`imeaokekanaka San Nicolas.
      San Nicolas, whose feather work is currently on display at Volcano House, provides an After Dark in the Park exhibit and discussion about his artwork on Tuesday, May 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Admission is free, and park entrance fees apply.
      The Artist-in-Residence program continues the legacy of volcano-inspired artists and provides a creative setting in the park, said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando.
      San Nicolas grew up in Hawai`i and is founder of the George Na`ope Hula Festival. He was recently bestowed with the title of Ke Kumu Hulu Nui, Master of Hawaiian Featherwork of Old Hawai`i, by another celebrated cultural icon, kumu hula Kaha`i Topolinski. Aunty Doreen Henderson, Hawai`i’s famous kumu of lei hulu, has also honored San Nicolas with the title of Master Featherworker.
      “We are thrilled to offer Rick the mutually beneficial opportunity to cultivate his creativity in the remarkable setting of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park,” Orlando said. “The arts are an integral way to perpetuate Hawaiian culture and its deep connection to this sacred landscape.”
      The nonprofit National Parks Arts Foundation developed the Artist-in-Residence program as a way for artists to be inspired and appreciate national parks while giving back to the National Park Service. The NPAF programs are proposed for 15 locations in national parks and World Heritage Sites in the U.S. For information, see nationalparkartsfoundation.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY is the Ka`u Coffee Festival sixth annual Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. Enjoy free music and hula all day long as Ka`u Coffee farmers provide a special opportunity to taste and purchase their beans. Meet Miss Ka`u Coffee and her court. Discover what the many vendors have to offer in local crafts, food, games and, of course, more Ka`u coffee. Meet award-winning growers and their families while tasting a variety of their Ka`u coffees. Discover locally made arts and crafts. Support local community organizations by purchasing food, drinks and desserts. Stop by informational booths and learn more about the natural and cultural resources of Ka`u. 
      Enjoy a guided tour of Ka`u Coffee farms and Ka`u Coffee Mill while learning how famous Ka`u Coffees are hand-cultivated and carefully processed. $20 per person.
      At the Ka`u Coffee Experience, taste Ka`u Coffee prepared with a variety of methods by professionals and learn their secrets to a perfect cup. $5 per person.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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