Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, July 13, 2014


Courtney Okinishi takes first in the women's traditional division at Kapapala Ranch yesterday, where Hawai`i Island Archery club held a tournament. Photo from Royden Okinishi
THE FLEDGLING KA`U BRANCH of Hawai`i Farmers Union United held an organizing meeting last night at Ka`u Coffeehouse in Na`alehu, and David Case, the statewide secretary of the organization, reviewed the history of the national Farmers Union United founded in 1902.
      He said that the Farmers Union is unrelated to labor unions, predating them. He said Farmers Union United was formed to help family farms with such efforts as getting products to market. He said it was founded at a time when the name “union” meant cooperating, as with electrical co-ops that were organizing to bring energy to farms across the nation. Union was a commonly used term and often used to refer to the country, the United States.
State Rep. Richard Creagan encourages small
farmers to become involved in the political process.
      Case described the organization as a “bottoms up” group where leaders represent members and do not act on their own without discussion and approval by members. He said conflict of interest rules prevent leaders from using the organization for personal benefit.
      He said the Farmers Union is set up to protect and benefit small family farms. He contrasted its history with the American Farm Bureau, which he contended was “founded by the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts” to serve corporate agriculture, with different goals than the Farmers Union.
      Case said Hawai`i Farmers Union is approaching 500 members. Membership is $45 a year, with $5 going to the national organization, which has offices in Washington, D.C.
      Legislation, education and enterprise are priorities, he said. The organization is increasingly involved at Hawai`i state Legislature each year.
      State Rep. Richard Creagan, who is acting vice-president of the Ka`u branch, said it is important for small farmers to become more involved in the political process. County Council candidate Richard Abbett, who is acting treasurer of the Ka`u branch, said later that he is volunteering his services to help at the Legislature as he has extensive experience in advocating on behalf of community organizations at state Legislatures.
      The meeting also included a presentation on fig farming in Ka`u and a discussion on possible products from hardy and pesky plants, from Christmas berry to guava and “Hawaiian oregano.”
      Ka`u Natural Farming practices and ideas came from speaker Richard Perea.
      See hfuuhi.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A new report offers suggestions on improving Hawai`i
Island's transportation systems.
“DESPITE THE GEOGRAPHICAL COMPLEXITIES associated with islandwide transportation connectivity and accessibility, there are a number of optimizing cost-effective technological innovations available both in public transit and through the private sector.” This is the conclusion of a report by the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment for The Kohala Center. 
      According to the report, while the average public transit commute time for rural areas is 50 minutes, Hawai`i Island’s average is 68 minutes.
      The report calls for improvements to the Hele-On bus system to increase ridership and reduce personal vehicle use. Suggestions include redesigning routes with more direct and express trips, clearly defining stops and scheduling service to optimize times and peak hours.
      Improving communication would also increase Hele-On ridership, the report says. It suggests upgrading and redesigning the mass transit system’s web page to make it user-friendly, interactive and intuitive. It also calls for clear signs at designated bus stops, clear and more intuitive route mapping, major communication campaigns when changes are made and web and mobile phone applications with GPS tracking of vehicles.
      Car-share and ride-share services would also reduce the number of personal vehicles on roads, the report states. It suggests engaging the business community to introduce such programs and implementing car-share services in existing rental car agencies.
      The report, Expanding Transportation Opportunities on Hawai`i Island, is available at deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/106554/Hawaii%20Transit_Final_for%20distribution_2014.pdf?sequence=1.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Eight-man football returns to Ka`u High in the upcoming school year.
Photo by Dave Berry
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL TROJANS’ EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL TEAM will have more opportunities to play in the upcoming season. Following Ka`u High’s pioneering effort in fielding Hawai`i Island’s first eight-man team when there weren’t enough players for an 11-man team last season, Pahoa and Kohala plan to have eight-man teams this year, reports J.R. De Groote, of West Hawai`i Today
      While there are still not enough leagues to have an official eight-man football state championship, Ka`u athletic director Kalei Namohala told De Groote she has spoken with Maui Interscholastic League’s coordinator about the possibility of a champion vs. champion post-season matchup.
      “I’m glad that we got to do eight-man last year,” Namohala said. “I’m so proud of our kids, coaches and community that embraced it. I believe in helping our students succeed in life through whatever positive means available and within our limitations.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. SENS. BRIAN SCHATZ AND MAZIE HIRONO are cosponsors of the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act that Schatz said “would protect families from corporate interference and make sure that employers cannot deny women essential health benefits mandated by federal law,” including birth control coverage.

      “Corporations aren’t people, and they should not be given Constitutional rights,” Schatz said. “The health and welfare of people should always come before corporations. Our bill will ensure women have the right to make personal health care decisions for themselves and their families.”
      In a divided decision regarding a case brought by owners of Hobby Lobby stores, the U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled that closely held private corporations can impose their religious beliefs on women by denying them birth control coverage as part of their health insurance.
Archers like Courtney Okinishi shot their arrows at targets
representing game during a tournament at Kapapala.
Photo from Royden Okinishi
      Hirono denounced the Supreme Court’s five-to-four decision. “The Supreme Court based this decision on the fact that Hobby Lobby is a ‘closely held corporation,’ and therefore the religious liberty of the humans who own and control the corporation must be protected,” she said. “I disagree with the five Justices’ interpretation of the applicable federal law and will join my colleagues to overturn this decision so that women who work for companies like Hobby Lobby will have access to health care coverage to which they are entitled.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

COURTNEY OKINISHI, of Pahala, took first place in the women’s traditional division at Hawai`i Island Archery Club’s tournament at Kapapala Ranch yesterday. Alan Moores, of Pahala, took first in the seniors’ division. The archers shoot at targets designed to look like game across the pastures and woodlands of the ranch. 

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED to Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee’s meeting tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church.

VOLUNTEERS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE in Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Forest Restoration Project on Friday, July 18 must register by tomorrow. The non-profit invites volunteers to remove knotweed and other invasive plants in an area of Mauna Loa strip. To register, call 352-1402.

AFTER DARK IN THE PARK PRESENTS HULA PERFORMANCES Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Halau Hula Kamamolikolehua, under the direction of kumu hula Pohai Souza, shares hula hula `auana. Also on stage are Halau Hula Kalehuapuakea, with kumu hula Keu Ostrem, and Halau Hula Kamaluokukui, under the direction of kumu hula Malina Kaulukukui. Music is performed by Kualoa, featuring Kula Abiva and Poki`i Vaughan.
      The program is free; park entrance fees apply. $2 donations support After Dark programs.

KA`U HOSPITAL HOSTS THE ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING of East Hawai`i Regional Board of Directors for Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. this Saturday, July 19 at 2 p.m. Island residents are invited to attend this meeting, which will be specific to Ka`u and its surrounding community.
      An overview of services offered at Ka`u Hospital and its rural health clinic will be presented prior to opening up the floor for comments and suggestions on the provision of healthcare for the residents of East Hawai`i.
      For more information, call Terry Larson, Administration Secretary at 932-3103.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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