Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, July 19, 2014

The summit eruption of Kilauea volcano from Halema`uma`u Crater continues to attract visitors to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo by Stephen Geiger
A NEW NATIONAL PARK SERVICE REPORT FOR 2013 shows that the 1,583,209 visitors to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park spent $124,937,400 in communities near the park. This spending supported 1,476 jobs in the local area. 
      “We are pleased to again report a steady annual increase of visitors to Hawai` Volcanoes National Park, a World Heritage Site,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “The ease of viewing the summit eruption from Kilauea, the many free cultural and scientific programs, the re-opening of Volcano House, and the diverse ecosystem of native plants and animals that park stewards have worked hard to protect for nearly 100 years are part of what attracts people, and can be attributed to the increase,” she said.
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando speaking at
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Photo by Julia Neal
      Visitors from across the country, around the world, and from local communities statewide and islandwide, visit Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the NPS – and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities and businesses,” Orlando said.
      The 2013 report reflects a consistent trend of increasing visitation to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park over the last five years, as well as higher spending by visitors in local communities. In 2013, visitation increased 6.7 percent over 2012 (1,483,928 visitors), and spending increased by 10.2 percent ($113,376,400). The 2012 visitation to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park was 9.7 percent higher than 2011 (1,352,123 visitors), and 2012 spending was up 17 percent from 2011.
      The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas, Christopher Huber and Lynne Koontz for the NPS.
      The report shows $14.6 billion of direct spending by 273.6 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported more than 237,000 jobs nationally, with more than 197,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.5 billion.
      According to the 2013 economic analysis, most visitor spending was for lodging (30.3 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.3 percent), gas and oil (12.1 percent), admissions and fees (10.3 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent).
      The largest jobs categories supported by visitor spending were restaurants and bars (50,000 jobs) and lodging (38,000 jobs).
      To download the report, see nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

“INCUMBENT POLITICIANS NEED CHALLENGERS,” state House of Representatives District Three Libertarian candidate Fred Fogel told Civil Beat. “Voters need a choice at the polls — someone without political career ambition. Someone who is willing to make the necessary, systemic governmental changes to better serve the people.
      “Government is like a pyramid with the small federal oversight at the top, larger state government below, county governments beneath that, and the people as the broad foundation. Today that pyramid is upside down, with an overreaching federal government at the top and correspondingly less power until you reach the people at the tip. We must right this pyramid before it collapses.”
      Fogel answered several questions posed by Civil Beat staff.
Fred Fogel, candidate for state House of Representatives
District Three
      Regarding genetically modified organisms, Fogel said he favors labeling of all GMO food products, starting with produce. “However, requiring the manufacturers of processed foods to label GMO foods should happen at the federal level. … If the state requires such labeling, we might find ourselves with a reduced selection of processed foods. Of course ‘every cloud has a sliver lining,’ and the unavailability of processed foods might steer people towards more ‘real food,’ in turn supporting local agriculture.
      “As far as the ‘public safety issue,’ present laws regarding GMO and the use of pesticides are adequate. However, I believe the counties should have more say than the state or the federal government on all issues, not just pesticides and GMO.
      “The present philosophy of federal law ‘trumping’ state law and state law trumping county law is exactly opposite of what our founding fathers envisioned. If the people (and associated government) in a specific county want to regulate, ban or legalize something, they should be able to trump higher-level governments.
      “Of course, this philosophy would apply to everything and include things like education, health care, transportation, alternative energy, gambling, prostitution and cannabis. If people have “home rules” in the areas of pesticides and GMO, they should have home rule for everything!
      Regarding Hawai`i’s high cost of living, Fogel said, “In a free enterprise system, it’s not the responsibility of government to make things like housing, food and transportation less expensive (usually through subsidies which penalize and reward others). Rather, it is the responsibility of government to enact legislation that will facilitate the purchase of housing, food and the like. Improve the business climate and you will give those people with the drive and desire a better opportunity to succeed in all facets of life.
      Fogel calls for government to eliminate sales tax on food and medicine, implement a flat business tax and a flat income tax, eliminate tax on tips and inheritance, embrace alternative energy to reduce the cost of electricity and make building codes optional for private owner-occupants, “who through personal choice would accept the resulting impacts relating to insurance, loans, liability and resale value.” 
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      Fogel said he is not satisfied with the way Hawai`i’s public school system is run. His suggestions of improvement include paying good teachers more and helping underperforming ones find a different profession; providing more trade training; issuing school vouchers and allowing parents to send children to schools utside their district if space available; and dissolving the state school board … and creating county boards compromised of principals (public and private). …”
      “My primary goal in representing the people is to implement fundamental changes to they way government operates — the result being government that serves the people better at the lower cost of the taxpayer. In simple terms the people will get more bang for their buck. This can be done by creating an environment where the people have more freedom to pursue their dreams and enjoy the benefits of their efforts. The resulting growth in the economy and business environment will support generations to come through better job opportunities. This can only be achieved with a coalition of like-minded politicians working together. Eventually lawmakers will come around to doing the right thing.”
      See civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL YESTERDAY REJECTED a resolution calling for the Kenoi administration to start over the process of finding an alternative to burying trash in Hilo landfill. Kohala council member Margaret Wille introduced the resolution after Kenoi narrowed a list of potential companies to three that specialize in waste-to-energy as an alternative.
      Nancy Cook Lauer reported in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald that Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman was one of 49 people who testified against a waste-to-energy system. In written testimony submitted as a private citizen, Ruderman said he was on the 24-member Solid Waste Advisory Committee that had voted unanimously against recommending a waste-to-energy incinerator, “partly because the county’s waste stream is not large enough to economically support any such system and partly because an incinerator would undermine the committee’s stated goal of reducing waste and eventually achieving zero waste.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa
      “Consider taking the recommendation of those who studied this more than anyone else and move to zero waste instead of a trash-hungry installation that will require burning everything to be economical, while we continue to import compost and organic materials at great cost.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HOSPITAL HOSTS THE ANNUAL PUBLIC MEETING of East Hawai`i Regional Board of Directors for Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. today at 2 p.m. Topics discussed will be specific to Ka`u and its surrounding community. 
     A presentation will cover an overview of services offered at Ka`u Hospital and its rural health clinic. The floor will be opened for comments and suggestions on providing healthcare for residents of East Hawai`i.
      For more information, call Terry Larson, Administration Secretary, at 932-3103.

COLLEEN HANABUSA COMES TO PAHALA COMMUNITY CENTER tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The congresswoman who is running for U.S. Senate against Brian Schatz will present Special Congressional Recognition Certificates to Ka`u Rural Health Academy students. The presentation will be followed by a talk story with community members. The public is invited.
      See hanabusaforhawaii.com for more on Hanabusa’s campaign.


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