Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Researchers arrive off the Ka`u Coast today to map and study the base of Loihi Seamount. Image from Schmidt Ocean Institute 
COUNTY COUNCIL CANDIDATE RICHARD ABBETT, who presented his views at last weekend’s League of Women Voters forum, has been talking to people daily at gathering places in Ka`u and has been attending and participating in County Council meetings remotely from Ocean View Community Center since last October.
      He told The Ka`u Calendar that one of his most important issues is the Transient Accommodations Tax, the tax levied on hotel rooms, bed and breakfast establishments and vacation rentals by the state. The county receives only a portion back from the state, and the counties lobby each year to receive a greater share to take care of county roads, parks, police, fire, lifeguards, visitor information centers, public transportation and other services and infrastructure funded by the county. Abbett said the income is needed not only to pay for direct impact of visitors and services provided for tourism, but to also help pay for county workers in terms of their union wages and benefits, as well as retirement. The counties lost a lot of TAT income during the recent financial crisis when the state decided to hold onto more of the transient tax revenue to pay for its services and overhead. Abbett said Hawai`i County is producing the highest per day spending by visitors and could put an increased share of the TAT to good use.
Richard Abbett, candidate for Hawai`i County Council District Six
      Abbett said that if elected to the County Council, he wants to serve on the Finance, Water and Environment Committees.
       He said he is also interested in more transparency and accountability of public officials to the citizenry. He said he would support a County Charter resolution to make the county clerk a four-year elected term. He said he disagrees with a current County Charter proposal to make the County Clerk a six-year political appointment and said he plans to testify against it at a County Council meeting.He said the county clerk, the chief elections officer who serves the administration, and legislative auditor, who serves the County Council, should both be elected by the public rather than be political appointments of the mayor and the County Council, which has put them add odds with one another.  
       Abbett also talked about the state of Hawai`i ranking lowest in the nation for voter turnout and about lack of public participation in government. Abbett attends council meetings usually at the Ocean View Community Center, where residents can watch the meetings and participate, giving testimony through an audio-visual feed. He said he also talks story with people around Ka`u each morning at different cafes and other locales, speaking with business owners and the general public. He said he is forming his platform and policies based on these direct interactions with people and through attending the council meetings to keep up to date on the issues.
       He said that when people say, “Why bother?” he encourages them “to not give up and to vote and participate.” He said there was some improvement in citizen participation for a while. However, he contends that after the public will was made into a law to restrict GMOs and to reduce police effort in charging people with cannabis use, the new laws have not been carried out. “It was like throwing cold water in our face - disagreeing with the will of the people.”
      He also mentioned that he has received endorsement from the statewide Sierra Club.
      Abbett can be reached on email at reabbett@gmail.com or on the Richard Abbett for County Council Facebook page.
      See more about candidates on local ballots at the primary election on Saturday, Aug. 9 in future Ka`u News Briefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RESEARCHERS ARRIVE OFF THE KA`U COAST today to explore Loihi Seamount. Brian Glazer, an oceanographer at University of Hawai`i-Manoa, leads the expedition, along with colleagues from University of Minnesota, IFREMER Centre de Brest and Woods Hole Oceanographic. They will map the seamount’s base using Woods Hole Oceanographic’s Sentry autonomous underwater vehicle and collect water samples to better understand the processes impacting delivery and dispersion of hydrothermal fluids from Loihi to the Pacific Ocean.
      Called The Iron Eaters of Loihi Seamount, the expedition will study bacteria that are oxidizing iron from hydrothermal fluids and seafloor rocks. Results could contribute to understanding the ocean’s iron and carbon cycling, a critical driver in ocean balance. They could also answer questions about how reddish geological formations on land and on the seafloor, called umbers, are formed and whether they formed biologically or geologically and chemically.
      The research also has implications regarding extraterrestrial life. “If, for example, researchers can identify a definitive chemical signature for geological features formed by microbes like those around Loihi, it could ultimately allow scientists to decipher whether similar geological features on places like Mars were biologically produced — a potentially simpler task than finding living cells with limited exploration,” said Mark Schrope, of Schmidt Ocean Institute.
      For more information and to follow the expedition that continues through Monday, July 7, see schmidtocean.org/story/show/2225.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i County Council joined New York City in banning sales of tobacco products to those under 21 years of age. The law goes into effect Tuesday, July 1. Image from tobaccofreekids.org
NO BUYING CIGARETTES IF UNDER 21 years of age. The new law going into effect Tuesday, July 1, will make Hawai`i the first county in the state and one of the few communities in the nation to enact the law. New York City is one of the other leaders. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids notes on its website that tobacco companies have long been well aware that if kids are hooked early they have a good chance of acquiring lifelong customers. The campaign website at tobaccofreekids.org quotes them: 
      “Raising the legal minimum age for cigarette purchasers to 21 could gut our key young adult market (17-20) . …” 
 – Philip Morris report, Jan. 21, 1986.
      “If a man has never smoked by age 18, the odds are three-to-one he never will. By age 21, the odds are twenty-to-one.”
— RJ Reynolds, Sept. 10, 1982.
       The campaign literature says, “Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults, and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. Increasing the sale age to 21 will help to prevent young people from ever starting to smoke and to reduce the deaths, disease and health care costs caused by tobacco use.
      “Increasing the sale age will complement other strategies to reduce tobacco use, including higher tobacco taxes, strong smoke-free laws that apply to all workplaces and public places and well funded, sustained tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini's study finding major problems with GMOs and
glyphosate has been republished.
A CHRONIC TOXICITY STUDY ON THE GLYPHOSATE-BASED herbicide Roundup and a commercialized genetically modified corn has been republished, restoring it to the peer-reviewed literature so that it can be consulted and built upon by other scientists.
      Led by Prof. Gilles-Eric Seralini, the study found severe liver and kidney damage and hormonal disturbances in rats fed GM corn and low levels of Roundup that are below those permitted in drinking water in the European Union. Toxic effects were found from the GM corn tested alone, as well as from Roundup tested alone and together with the corn. Additional unexpected findings were higher rates of large tumors and mortality in most treatment groups.
      The study was first published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in Sept. 2012 but was retracted by the editor-in-chief in Nov. 2013 after what Seralini called “a sustained campaign of criticism and defamation by pro-GMO scientists.”
      Republished by Environmental Sciences Europe, the new version contains extra material addressing criticisms of the original publication. Raw data underlying the study’s findings are also published. According to Seralini, raw data for industry studies that underlie regulatory approvals of Roundup are kept secret. However, the new paper presents the same results as before, and the conclusions are unchanged.
      See gmoseralini.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u residents can sign up for help with electric bills at Old Pahala Clubhouse
tomorrow and Friday. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I COUNTY ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL continues its help with electric bills through the end of the month. The Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program is available at Ocean View Community Center Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through June 30. Low-income families can sign up in Pahala this Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 
      Those wanting help with electric and gas bills must bring photo ID for all adults, Social Security cards for all house residents, citizenship verification, birth certificate or state ID or passport, HELCO or gas bill, income verification, pay stubs, affidavit, proof of physical residence, tax bill or other bill with street address. Applications are open to all, but applicants must qualify based on their income.
     For more information for Pahala, call 936-8396. For Ocean View, call 936-9296. Na`alehu and other Ka`u residents can go to either location.
NA`ALEHU INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. To participate, volunteer or donate, call Debra McIntosh at 929-9872 or see okaukakou.org/4th-of-july-parade and click on the volunteer button.
     After the parade, `O Ka`u Kakou provides fun times at Na`alehu Park for all ages with free shaved ice, hot dogs, games for keiki and Bingo for seniors.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.
Click at bottom right to turn pages.

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