Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, June 29, 2014

Hawai`i County Band treks annually to Na`alehu for the Independence Day Parade. The band will also march on July 4 in Volcano Village, where the parade begins at 9 a.m. See more parade photos in tomorrow's Ka`u News Briefs. Photo by Nalani Parlin
HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBERS will cast their third and final vote on a bill calling for a change in the length of the County Clerk’s term this week. Bill 253, calling for a change in the term from two to six years, has passed two of its three required readings with a two-thirds majority. Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford was one of three voting against the measure at both previous readings. 
      If the bill passes its third reading, an amendment to Hawai`i County Charter will appear on the November ballot for residents to vote on.
      The council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Council Chambers in Hilo.
      Council committees meet Tuesday in Hilo.
A climbing tower provided exercise and a test of strength and
agility at Na`alehu's Independence Day celebration yesterday.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Governmental Relations & Economic Development Committee meets at 9 a.m.; Finance, 9:15 a.m.; Public Works & Parks & Recreation, 9:45 a.m.; Environmental Management, 10:15 a.m.; Planning, 10:30 a.m.; and Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability, 1:30 p.m.
      Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.
      Agendas are available at hawaiicounty.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, Chair of the Subcommittee on Tourism, Innovation, and Competitiveness, has announced plans to work with the U.S. Department of State on legislation to make it easier for low-risk international travelers to visit the United States, boosting tourism and helping the government achieve its goal of attracting 100 million visitors annually by 2021. 

      “With an increasing demand for visas from international visitors, we have a great opportunity to grow our tourism industry and our economy,” Schatz said. “We need to do everything we can to speed up the visa process and make it easier for low-risk travelers to revisit our country. I am committed to working with the State Department on legislation to expand the visa Interview Waiver Program and find ways to strengthen our tourism industry and create jobs.” 
      The State Department is interested in working with Congress on a legislative proposal to expand the existing visa Interview Waiver Program, making it easier for low-risk travelers to visit the United States while maintaining high levels of security. The Interview Waiver Program allows certain individuals seeking renewals of previously issued visas to have their applications processed without having to attend visa interviews at U.S. consulates. In fiscal year 2013, the State Department waived more than 380,000 interviews.

      U.S. Customs and Border Protection is close to reaching an agreement to include Japan in the Global Entry program, which will facilitate travel to Hawai`i. Global Entry provides expedited clearance for prescreened, low-risk travelers at U.S. ports of entry. CBP is also closer to expanding the Preclearance program to Japan. The Preclearance program stations CBP officers in foreign airports, clearing travelers at their point of origin to avoid lengthy processing at busy U.S. airports. This would also allow airports without CBP international facilities, including Kona Airport, to begin accepting international flights.
      Last year, Japanese tourists made up 18 percent of Hawai`i’s visitors and brought more than $2.5 billion into the state’s economy. CBP currently operates 15 Preclearance locations in six foreign countries.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR’S Homeless Veterans’ Reintegration Program has awarded two Hawai`i organizations — U.S. Vets and The Strategist —a total of $500,000 in grant funds to ensure their programs are sustained through Program Year 2014. The organizations provide job placement, career counseling, life skills, money management mentoring and assistance in finding housing.
Kids cool off on giant water slides as parents watch with envy at yesterday's
Independence Day celebration in Na`alehu. Photo by Julia Neal
      Awarded grants total $36,710,368 to 156 organizations nationwide to provide more than 12,000 veterans with training to help them succeed in civilian careers.
      “I applaud the Reintegration Program for their support of community organizations dedicated to serving homeless veterans as they transition to independent living and succeed in building civilian careers,” said Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a twice-deployed combat veteran. “Hawai`i organizations like U.S. Vets and The Strategist are empowering veterans in our community by creating opportunities for them to continue their mission of service. 
“Those who wear the uniform raise their hand to serve and put their life on the line; that commitment to service does not end when the uniform is laid down. Our service members come home and look for ways to continue this mission of service. They are leaders: disciplined, and physically and mentally tough. They know how to make decisions, work as a member of a team and, most importantly, put the mission first, setting aside their own self interests. “Sometimes, a mentor offering career counseling and job training is all that a veteran needs to be reengaged in the community, and get back on their feet.”

      Grant funds are awarded on a competitive basis to state and local workforce investment boards, local public agencies and nonprofit organizations, including faith-based and community organizations. These grantees are familiar with the areas and populations to be served and have demonstrated that they can administer effective programs to help homeless veterans, Gabbard said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.
ALTERNATING SINGLE LANE CLOSURES on Hwy 11 in both directions between mile markers 45.6 and 39.5 in the vicinity of Volcano to Kapapala Ranch will occur tomorrow, June 30 through Thursday, July 3 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for roadway pavement reconstruction.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KRRA's annual Fourth of July Rodeo is coming up next weekend.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U CONTINUES ITS FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES with Ka`u Roping & Riding Association’s Rodeo this coming Saturday and Sunday, July 5 and 6. Events include Open Dally, Team 90s, Double Mugging, Ranch Mugging and Wahine Mugging.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK announces new hikes and special holiday programs offered at the Kahuku Unit from July through September. All are free. 
      The 34th annual Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Cultural Festival takes place Saturday, July 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants enjoy hula kahiko and music, watch skilled practitioners demonstrate their art and try their hand at Hawaiian crafts. Traditional Hawaiian foods are available for tasting. Two hikes are also offered, the new Pu`u o Lokuana cinder cone hike from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and `Ohi`a Lehua from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Hikers should bring water, rain jacket and ground mat or chair, plus sunscreen and a hat.
      Lunch and beverages will be available for sale. This is a family-friendly, drug- and alcohol-free event. Sponsors include Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association, Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Ka`u Hawaiian Civic Club, Kilauea Military Camp and sister parks in West Hawai`i. Call 985-6011 or email havo_interpretation@nps.gov for more information.
Kahuku offers a new hike to the top of Pu`u o Lokuana.
Photo by Michael Szoenyi
      A short, moderately difficult, 0.4-mile hike takes participants to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu`u o Lokuana, where they learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u. This hike is offered during the annual Cultural Festival on July 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and again on Friday, Aug. 15 (Statehood Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
      Another new hike is called Kahuku: Born from a Hotspot. Hikers learn about the birth of the islands from the Hawaiian hotspot and about past eruptions that impacted Kahuku, which straddles the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Visitors will be able to identify various pu`u (hills) and other volcanic features and learn about their formation. Kahuku: Born from a Hotspot is offered Sunday, Aug. 17 and Monday, Sept. 1 (Labor Day) from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
      Hi`iaka & Pele focuses on the two Hawaiian sister goddesses and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors experience the sisters coming alive through epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy, 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi`iaka and Pele program is offered on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
      For all hikes, sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.
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