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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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Appearing Saturday in her last Na`alehu Independence Day Parade as Ka`u's County Council member, as her term limit is reached at the end
of this year, was Brenda Ford. Photo by Julia Neal
CANDIDATES FOR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICES joined the Na`alehu Independence Day Parade & Celebration Saturday. Their names will be on the ballot of the primary election next month, on Saturday, Aug. 9.
      All three candidates vying for County Council District Six made appearances. Richard Abbett is from Ocean View, Maile Madeiros David is from Captain Cook, and Jim Wilson lives in Volcano.
       State House of Representative District Five candidates Dave Bateman, of Holualoa, and Rep. Richard Creagan, of Na`alehu, and Gene (Bucky) Leslie, of Holualoa, also participated in the parade. Jon LaLanne, of Ocean View and Randy Ruiz, of Ocean View, were not present.
Richard Abbett, candidate for Hawai`i County Council District Six
Photo by Julia Neal
      Rep. Richard Onishi, state House candidate for District Three, was the only candidate for this office who participated. Absent were challengers Bill Dickson, of Mountain View, and Fred Fogel, of Volcano.
      Michael Last, of Na`alehu, promoted his candidacy for state Senate District Three, challenging Josh Green, of Kailua-Kona, who did not participate.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW FISCAL YEAR for the state and Hawai`i County, with several measures going into effect along with budgets. 
      One measure removes mandatory court appearances for violators of the ban on using cell phones and other electronic devices while driving. The fine is now $297, or $307 for violations occurring in school or construction zones.
      Sgt. Robert Pauole, of Hawai`i Police Department’s Traffic Services Section, told Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reporter John Burnett the change is a result of overcrowding of courts. “I think it’s a big problem,” Pauole said. “I think the officers are just scratching the surface of it when they’re issuing citations. I’m an avid runner. When I run, I’d say every two out of 10 cars I see, there’s some kind of electronic device violation. I issue (citations) on the road all the time.”
Maile Medeiros David, candidate for Hawai`i County Council District Six
Photo by Julia Neal
      The measure exempts use of hands-free communication devices such as Bluetooth for drivers 18 years of age or older. Also exempted are navigation and emergency assistance devices.
      Smoking age is 21 in Hawai`i County as of today. The law, passed by County Council last November and signed into law by Mayor Billy Kenoi in December, raises the allowable minimum age for buyers of cigarettes from 18 to 21. The vote on the Big Island was only one day after New York’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg, signed a new law making the Big Apple the first major U.S. city or state to raise the tobacco sales age to 21. Hawai`i County’s law applies to electronic smoking devices as well as cigarettes, chewing and pipe tobacco, snuff and cigars.
     Retailers must post signs about the new law and are subject to fines of up to $2,000 for violations of the new measure.
     To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

REGISTERING TO VOTE WILL BECOME EASIER, with Gov. Neil Abercrombie signing House Bill 2590 (Act 166), a measure that allows voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016 and late voter registration, including on Election Day, beginning in 2018. 
Jim Wilson, candidate for Hawai`i County Council District Six
Photo by Julia Neal
      “Our system of government depends on individuals exercising their right to vote, one of our most cherished duties as citizens,” Abercrombie said. “I applaud members of the Legislature for advancing HB2590 in the interest of removing barriers to voting, and I support the measure as long as it can be achieved from a sound technical standpoint.”
      Act 166 appropriates $100,000 to the Office of Elections for county implementation, which may include upgrading the registration process through purchase of electronic poll books.
      Thursday, July 10 is the deadline to register to vote at this year’s primary election on Saturday, Aug. 9
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

THE GOVERNOR ALSO SIGNED SEVERAL measures passed by the state Legislature relating to health. 
Dave Bateman, candidate for state House of Representatives District Five
Photo by Nalani Parlin
      House Bill 2052 increases access to Provider Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment by updating references from “physicians orders for life-sustaining treatment” to “provider orders for life-sustaining treatment.” The measure also expands health care provider signatory authority to include advance practice registered nurses and corrects inconsistencies of terms describing who may sign a POLST form on behalf of a patient.
      House Bill 1616 adds to Hawai`i State Planning Act’s objectives and policies for health, the identification of social determinants of health and prioritization of programs, services, interventions, and activities that address identified social determinants of health to improve Native Hawaiian health in accordance with federal law and reduce health disparities of disproportionately affected demographics.
      House Bill 1723 amends notice requirements for the discharge of an involuntary patient committed pursuant to legal proceeding involving fitness to proceed and requires the family court to conduct a timely hearing prior to termination of a standing commitment order.
State Rep. Richard Creagan, candidate House Photo by Julia Neal
      House Bill 2320 establishes health equity as a goal for the DOH and requires the DOH to consider social determinants of health in assessing health needs in the state. The measure is known as “Loretta’s Law” for the late DOH Director Loretta Fuddy, who was passionate proponent.
      House Bill 2581 establishes the State Innovation Waiver Task Force and requires the task force to submit two interim reports and a final report to the Legislature.
      Senate Bill 2469 requires equivalent reimbursement for services, including behavioral health services, provided through telehealth as for the same services provided via face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient. The measure also clarifies that health care providers for purposes of telehealth include primary care providers, mental health providers, oral health providers, physicians and osteopathic physicians, advanced practice registered nurses, psychologists and dentists. For consistency purposes, the bill changes statutory references of “telemedicine” to “telehealth.”
      House Bill 2400 provides temporary disability benefits to employees who suffer disabilities as a result of donating organs.
Leslie Bucky Leslie runs for state House. Photo by Nalani Parlin
      Senate Bill 1233 requires certain private employers to allow employees to take leaves of absence for organ, bone marrow or peripheral blood stem cell donation. Unused sick leave, vacation, paid time off or unpaid time off may be used for these leaves of absence. The measure also requires employers to restore an employee returning from leave to the same or equivalent position and establishes a private right of action for employees seeking enforcement of provisions.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. IS NOT ASKING FOR A RATE HIKE at this time, recognizing that its customers “are already in a challenging high electricity bill environment,” reports Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News.
     “We know how tough high electric bills have been on our customers,” Hawaiian Electric Vice President of Corporate Relations Lynne Unemori, told PBN. “What we are doing is focusing our efforts on lowering customers’ bills by going after the main driver of high bills — expensive imported oil.”
      According to Shimogawa, Hawaiian Electric is pursuing more renewable energy, lower-cost liquefied natural gas and modern smart grids. “And we’ll continue to make this our priority,” Unemori said.
State Rep. Richard Onishi, candidate for District Three
Photo by Julia Neal
      Shimogawa also reports that in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing yesterday, the utility said that it is “focusing on developing and executing the new business model, plans and strategies required by Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission’s rulings in April, as well as other actions that will reduce rates.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PAHALA PUBLIC & SCHOOL LIBRARY has a job opening for a part-time Student Helper II position. Applicants must be full-time college students (classroom or on-line) and have computer skills.
Michael Last, candidate for state Senate District Three
Photo by Julia Neal
      Interested students can call Debbie Wong Yuen at 928-2015 or go to the library during open hours: Monday,Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed 12:30 to 1 p.m.); Tuesday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. (closed 3 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.); and Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
      The deadline to apply is Tuesday, July 15.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

VOLCANO VILLAGE HOLDS ITS FOURTH OF JULY Parade & Celebration on Friday. The parade begins at 9 a.m. at the post office and travels Old Volcano Road to Wright Road to Cooper Center, site of vendor booths and tables, entertainment, keiki games and silent auction. 

KA`U CONTINUES ITS FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES with Ka`u Roping & Riding Association’s Rodeo this Saturday and Sunday. Events include Open Dally, Team 90s, Double Mugging, Ranch Mugging and Wahine Mugging.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.



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