Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, May 30, 2014

Today is the last day of school for students attending Ka`u's public schools. The 2014-2015 session begins Tuesday, Aug. 5.
Photo by Julia Neal
MEMBERS OF KA`U’S U.S. CONGRESSIONAL delegation have issued statements regarding the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. Shinseki, from Kaua`i, resigned following an investigation that found falsification of appointment records at VA hospitals and suggestions that many veterans did not receive needed treatment.
Eric Shinseki, former Veterans Affairs Secretary.
      Sen. Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Armed Services and the Veterans’ Affairs committees, said 

“Gen. Eric Shinseki’s patriotism and dedication to this nation is without parallel. I’ve had a number of opportunities to talk directly with Gen. Shinseki about the challenges facing the VA. I agree with the President’s statement that his ‘commitment to our veterans is unquestioned.’

      “I respect the Secretary’s decision to step aside in order to avoid being a distraction. The focus should be on delivering care to our veterans and ensuring the VA has the necessary resources to accomplish that. As I’ve done all year long, I met with veterans groups in Hawai`i this week to discuss their firsthand experiences with the VA. I will take their comments, insights and concerns back to D.C. to inform my work to address the unacceptable situation that has been uncovered.”

      Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, 
“Gen. Eric Shinseki is an American hero; he is a man of character and integrity, with a deep love and commitment for serving our country. Veterans everywhere, and the people of Gen. Shinseki’s home state of Hawai`i, continue to have great love and respect for him and his service.

      “But this day is not about Gen. Shinseki. This day is about all of our service members and veterans, and the tragedy that has been occurring within the VA, an organization which has lost sight of its mission. Our loyalty, anger, and hurt must be focused on taking action to ensure that not another day passes where a veteran in need remains waiting in the dark. We are facing a crisis, with veterans waiting months and sometimes years on official or secret waiting lists, while others are lost in the bureaucracy. This is unacceptable and dishonors these great Americans who sacrificed so much.
      “I am currently drafting legislation that will ensure that veterans are immediately able to access care from a doctor, whether in the VA system or not. This is an urgent action that must be taken to begin to deal with the immediate crisis and ensure all veterans are getting the care they need. Until the VA undergoes a systemic overhaul and is once again able to deliver the highest standard of care to our veterans, we need to take creative steps that will yield immediate results.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I’S ENERGY EXCELERATOR IS SEEKING 14 energy startup companies to participate in its upcoming cohort. As part of the mentoring program, the excelerator will provide $5 million in funding and mentorship to help the startups bring their ideas to market. Of the 14 companies selected for the program, Excelerator directors are looking for eight in the seed stage and six in the growth stage. Seed-stage startups will be matched with mentors and awarded $75,000 to strengthen their business models and go-to-market strategies. Growth-stage companies will receive up to $1 million, which must be matched by private funding, to demonstrate their solutions in an early market. 
      Startups with solutions that help solve Hawai`i’s two main energy challenges, integration and resilience, are strongly encouraged to apply. In particular, Excelerator leaders are seeking technologies and business models that advance clean energy across the whole system in the areas of grid, transportation, agriculture and water. Technologies and business models that build security and flexibility into Hawai`i’s energy systems are also encouraged to apply for the cohort. This includes both near-term physical security and long-term economic security technologies.
      Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the energy excelerator is part of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Research, a Hawai`i-based nonprofit that helps spur technology development in the Pacific Rim.
      Founded in 1983, PICHTR has been working to reduce Hawai`i’s dependence on oil. Eight years ago, after the state adopted a goal of 70 percent clean energy by 2030, PICHTR launched the Hawai`i Renewable Energy Development Venture to help fund energy innovation with $9 million of support from the U.S. Department of Energy.
      To facilitate startup energy companies’ access to needed mentoring and strategic connections in addition to funding, PICHTR launched the Energy Excelerator in January 2013 with an additional $30 million in funding from Navy’s Office of Naval Research.
      The deadline to apply is June 30. Applying companies then go through a three-round selection process, with the final 14 companies selected Sept. 15.
      For more information, see energyexcelerator.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kamana`opono Crabbe
OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS MAY NOT BE THE BEST agency to facilitate the nation-building process, CEO Kamana`opono Crabbe said after a meeting yesterday where OHA trustees discussed how to move the process forward. While Crabbe wants to continue public outreach and education about the process, Anita Hofschneider, of Civil Beat, reports Crabbe saying, “It’s imperative for us to establish some political protection as soon as possible.” He also said there is “political will amongst our people to establish or restore our government that is an extension of the legacy of Queen Liliokalani.”     
      Hofschneider described the differing perspectives on the nation-building process. Some want it “to move forward as planned and believe federal or state recognition is the best option for the indigenous community. … Many others want greater independence, citing the current occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the U.S. government.
      “A popular refrain during public testimony Thursday morning was that Hawaiian sovereignty endures and that federal recognition similar to that of many Native American tribes wouldn’t be adequate.”
      OHA recently held 18 meetings throughout the state urging Hawaiians to sign up for the Official Roll, with the first one held April 5 in Pahala. The Kana`iolowalu Roll currently has about 130,000 names. OHA trustee Dan Ahuna pointed out during the meeting that 350,000 Native Hawaiians chose not to sign the roll.
      See civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL for Ka`u’s public school students. First day of the next session is Tuesday, Aug. 5.

STARTING IN AUGUST OF THIS YEAR, a child must be five years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. The change is a result of Act 183 of 2010 and Act 178 of 2012 (Session Laws of Hawai`i), which noted that younger children may be more appropriately placed in a prekindergarten program.
      For more information, see earlylearninghawaii.gov.

Today is the last day to register for wimming lessons at Pahala pool this summer.
Photo by Tanya Ibarra
THE FIRST SELECTION FOR PREKINDERGARTEN CLASSES in Ka`u takes place today. Beginning the 2014-2015 school year, Na`alehu and Pahala elementary schools will each offer a prekindergarten classroom to prepare as many four-year-olds as possible for kindergarten. 
      Children born on or between Aug. 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010, and eligible for free- and reduced-price meals, may be eligible for the program. Also this year, priority will be given to children born on or between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, 2009.
      The intent of the new program is to ensure that children will be ready to succeed in kindergarten, said GG Weisenfeld, director of the state Executive Office on Early Learning. The program will have a developmentally appropriate curriculum for four-year-olds, focus on child outcomes and
 include ongoing professional development for teachers.
      Student application packets are available at school offices. For more information, see earlylearninghawaii.gov and click on the DOE-EOEL Prekindergarten Program tab, or call 808-586-0794.

TODAY IS THE LAST DAY TO REGISTER for Keiki Summer Fun Learn to Swim programs at Pahala Pool. Held mornings Monday through Friday, four two-week sessions are scheduled beginning June 2, 16, 30 and July 14. Fee is $15 per child.
      For more information, call 928-8177.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.
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