Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, July 11, 2014

Ka`u residents and Hawai`i Wildlife Fund representatives return to Kamilo Point on Sunday to continue their efforts to rid the extremely vulnerable site of a continuous flow of marine debris. Photo from HWF
A WASTE-TO-ENERGY SYSTEM THAT WOULD INCINERATE trash to create electricity was a hot topic at the County Council District Six candidate forum held Wednesday at Pahala Community Center. Systems under consideration focus on maximizing the flow of trash from around the island into an incinerator in Hilo. The garbage would be trucked from as far away as Waimea, the Hamakua Coast, Pahala and Wai`ohinu.
Richard Abbett
      Moderator Bob Ernst, of the Sierra Club, told the candidates Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration is currently considering proposals by three waste-to-energy companies offering alternatives to dumping trash into landfills. Covanta Energy Corp., Green Conversion Systems, Inc. and Wheelabrator Technologies, Inc. made the short list out of eight vendors who submitted bids following a request for proposals from the county. However, because all three finalists are waste-to-energy companies, Kohala council member Margaret Wille is calling for the administration to scrap its current RFP process and start over with a broader one that would be more inclusive of other alternatives. Ernst asked if the candidates if they would support Wille’s proposal.
      Jim Wilson, of Volcano, said he would support Wille’s proposal.
      Maile David, of Captain Cook, said the RFP is a legal procedure, required by statute, and that she is not sure it could be withdrawn. She suggested that there may be other means of stopping it.
      Richard Abbett, of Ocean View, said he agrees with Wille and said, “We should stop before making a bad mistake.” He said it may be necessary to recycle less in order to have enough material to meet the requirements of the incinerator.
      The candidates also addresses several other questions on environmental issues.
      “What is your stance on GMO laws of the county?” Ernst asked.
      Wilson said, “GMO needs to be completely transparent; we need to know what is in the product.”
Maile David
      David said the county’s ban addresses some of the concerns and is a good starting point. She also noted the pending federal lawsuit against the bill.
      Abbett said the ban is similar to a ban on pesticides in streams and rivers that he worked to get passed in Washington state. “The principle is same – personal choice of persons to know what they put in their bodies.”
      “Would you welcome more military expansion at Pohakuloa Training Area?” asked Ernst.
      Abbett said he wouldn’t support it.
      David said the issue would have to be brought to the community, not just County Council.
      Wilson said he supports PTA but is not sure about increasing arms at the training area.
      Ernst said Gov. Neil Abercrombie is urging Hawai`i Island residents to support geothermal and asked the candidates if they support an undersea cable to distribute electricity from here to other islands.
      Wilson said he would need a lot more information before deciding.
      David said the issue has “huge environmental considerations” and that she would need to do more research.
      Abbett said he is against the cable. “It’s the exact wrong direction,” he said. “We need to be decentralizing power. Exporting power in an underwater cable is not my idea of economic development for the next century.”
Jim Wilson
      The candidates found common ground on several subjects.
      When moderator Kristine Kubat, of Recycle Hawai`i, asked the candidates if they would support a ban on Styrofoam packaging material in the county, each of the three said yes.
      “Would you consider having an environmental management advisory hui?” asked Ernst. They all were open to such an idea. 
      Kubat asked the candidates if they would support changing law so curbside trash pickup companies could also take recyclables, which is currently not allowed. All answered yes.  
      Ernst asked the candidates if they would support requiring events by organizations that receive county grants-in-aid to be zero-waste events. They also said they would. Abbett added that nonprofits “are already doing a great job, and this would be a great incentive.”
      When asked if they recycle at home, all three candidates said they do. David added that her family also composts.   
      See more on the candidate forum in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Howard Ainsley
HOWARD N. AINSLEY HAS SUBMITTED HIS RESIGNATION as Regional Chief Executive Officer of East Hawai`i Region of Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. effective Aug. 9. The region includes Ka`u Hospital and Hilo Medical Center, along with Hale Ho`ola Hamakua and Yuko Okutsu Veterans Home.
       “Over the past five years, I’ve had the honor of working with exceptional people as we became the first HHSC affiliated organization to implement an electronic medical record and develop a Family Residency Program; we’ve made significant improvements in our clinical quality and core measures and introduced state-of-the-art technological advances to our hospitals,” Ainsley said. “We are becoming a more patient-centered organization intent on improving the quality of care for our island’s residents and have much to celebrate. It has been my pleasure serving the East Hawai`i Community through this period of growth, and I leave the organization in the care of a dedicated, hard working, and gifted team of board members, executives and managers. I know they will continue to push the region toward becoming a top-notch hospital in Hawai`i, and wish them the very best.”
      Ainsley will join Novant Health System in North Carolina as CEO of its newest affiliated facility, Morehead Memorial Hospital. The private, not-for-profit system operates in North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia.
      “We are thankful for having had Howard’s leadership over the past five years as we went through our transformation to becoming a more quality driven organization,” said Gary Yoshiyama, East Hawai`i Regional Board chairman. “We wish Howard the very best as he enters the next stage of his career.
      “The East Hawai`i Region will continue to focus on its vision of becoming a health care system that provides patient centered, culturally competent, cost-effective care with exceptional outcomes and superior patient satisfaction,” Yoshiyama said. “Our board has also reaffirmed its commitment to its strategic plan and will move forward with it as its guiding document.”
      HHSC’s East Hawai`i Regional Board holds its annual public meeting at Ka`u Hospital Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

The Thirty Meter Telescope requires development and education
of a local workforce. Image from tmt.org
DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION OF A LOCAL WORKFORCE is necessary to support the Thirty Meter Telescope planned to be completed on Mauna Kea in 2022. Representatives of University of Hawai`i at Hilo, Hawai`i Community College and Hawai`i Island observatories held a panel discussion on expanding the island’s astronomy-related workforce, reports Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune Herald
      According to project spokesperson Sandra Dawson, the telescope would provide from 120 to 140 jobs, with about 80 percent of the jobs being engineers and information technology positions.
      Dawson said TMT plans to contribute $1 million a year for science, technology, engineering and math education on Hawai`i Island. It currenty has three interns from the island working in Pasadena, CA, she said.
      Doug Simons, executive director for the Canada-France-Hawai`i Telescope, said there is high demand for locally based contractors and staff. “We’re eager,” Callis reports him saying. “You can call us desperate.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.

Keiki learn `ohe kapala, Hawaiian bamboo stamping, with Ranger Rebecca
Carvalho. NPS Photo by Jay Robinson
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK hosts the park’s 34th annual Cultural Festival tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
      Participants enjoy hula kahiko and music, watch skilled practitioners demonstrate their art, try their hand at Hawaiian crafts and taste traditional Hawaiian foods.
      Two hikes are also scheduled. The new Pu`u o Lokuana cinder cone hike is from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and `Ohi`a Lehua from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
      Call 985-6011 or email havo_interpretation@nps.gov for more information.

HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED’S KA`U chapter holds its next meeting Saturday at Ka`u Coffeehouse & Guesthouse in Na`alehu at 5 p.m.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND HOSTS A KA`U COAST CLEANUP at Kamilo Point Sunday. Volunteers meet at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to the site. Sign up at 769-7629 or kahakaicleanups@gmail.com.

BOTANIST TIM TUNISON GUIDES A FIVE-HOUR, four-mile, round-trip hike exploring the subalpine zone of the Mauna Loa Trail Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free for Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park members; nonmembers are invited to join in order to attend. Email admin@fhvnp.org or call 985-7373.


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