Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hawai`i Health Systems Corp.'s East Hawai`i Board of Directors held a meeting at Ka`u Hospital yesterday, speaking with state Reps. Richard Creagan and Richard Onishi and members of the public. Photo by Julia Neal
“WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THE SAFETY-NET HOSPITALS SURVIVE,” said Howard Ainsley at Ka`u Hospital yesterday. The director of Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation’s East Hawai`i Region spoke about the status of Hawai`i’s state hospitals during the organization’s board meeting.
Howard Ainsley
      Ainsley said hospitals throughout the country are distressed because reimbursements, such as those from Medicare, are going down. He said, “Strategic system alliances are more important now” than ever, explaining that relationships with other local entities could help with “economies of scale.” He gave an example of larger hospitals being able to buy supplies cheaper, which in turn could help facilities like Ka`u Hospital save money.
      When questions arose regarding the future of Ka`u Hospital, Ainsley said no one at HHSC wants to see it close, and that recent funding of many improvements is evidence of that. He also said Ka`u Hospital and other HHSC facilities have to “continue to bring value” to communities they serve.
      Board member Wayne Kanemoto said maintaining state hospitals “is a social contract we should have” as taxpayers. He said the Legislature needs to provide funds for services and encouraged audience members to lobby legislators to continue essential services at rural hospitals. He also explained that the entirety of Hawai`i Island is considered rural. “We don’t have the population, but because we’re rural, we should expect services,” he said.
      Reps. Richard Creagan and Richard Onishi expressed their support for Ka`u Hospital. “Ka`u Hospital will survive,” Creagan said. He said he considers the hospital a “return on the investment” of taxpayers. “The services have to be maintained and grow,” he said.
      Onishi said the East Hawai`i Region of HHSC is a “standout.”
      Both representatives encouraged those involved with the hospital at all levels to talk to them about the facility’s importance to the community. “The Legislature is not going to listen to us; they’re going to listen to you,” Onishi said.
      Creagan said, “We may not have always appreciated what Ka`u Hospital means to this community, but we do now.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Nadine Ebert accepts a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of `O Ka`u Kakou from
state Reps. Richard Onishi, at left, and Richard Creagan. Photo by Ron Johnson
SEVERAL KA`U ORGANIZATIONS RECEIVED CERTIFICATES OF APPRECIATION from Hawai`i state House of Representatives yesterday. Reps. Richard Creagan and Richard Onishi presented the certificates at yesterday’s meeting of Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation’s East Hawai`i Region Board of Directors.
      All the organizations were recognized for their efforts to improve Ka`u Hospital. Nadine Ebert accepted a certificate on behalf of `O Ka`u Kakou, which has helped with several construction projects, including the lanai that allows patients to spend time outdoors. Ebert said Ka`u Hospital is “the soul of Ka`u.” Jesse Marques accepted a certificate on behalf of Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, and another went to Ka`u Hospital Charitable Foundation. To acknowledge their efforts in raising $150,000 for the hospital’s emergency room over a ten-year period, certificates also went to Ka`u Red Hat Ladies, accepted by Barbara Beatty, Ka Lae Quilters and Ka`u Golf Group.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hanabusa campaign personnel handed out pens, bumper stickers, pamphlets and T-shirts at Pahala Community Center. Photo by Julia Neal
U.S. REP. COLLEEN HANABUSA MADE STOPS IN KA`U TODAY. At Ka`u Rural Health Community Association in Pahala, she presented Special Congressional Recognition Certificates to Health Academy students. She then visited with Ka`u residents at Pahala Community Center as part of her around-the-island trek to campaign for U.S. Senate.
Colleen Hanabusa talks story with Ka`u residents at
Pahala Community Center. Photo by Ron Johnson
      About 40 residents listened as Hanabusa discussed issues. She focused on Social Security, saying she does not favor raising the age of eligibility and doing so is not a Congressional responsibility. She said a board of trustees annually examines the status of the trust that funds Social Security and makes adjustments based on their findings.
      Hanabusa said she favors lifting the cap on income that is taxed for Social Security. “People don’t know there’s a cap,” she said. “If you earn money, you should pay into Social Security.”
      She also said Social Security income should not be taxed at all. “If we want to take care of seniors, we have to revise the tax structure,” she said.
      Hanabusa also expressed concern about the status of rural hospitals such as Ka`u Hospital. She said 80 of rural hospitals’ income comes from Medicare reimbursements and that she was the only representative who voted against a two-percent cut in reimbursements.
      Regarding the status of the Micronesian community in Ka`u and the rest of the state, she said she is working toward getting the federal government to compensate the state for expenses involved in their care. The estimated cost is $187 million per year. She suggested making Micronesians eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
      Other issues Hanabusa brought up as important to her were education, Native Hawaiian recognition, the appropriate role of the military in Hawai`i and the pivot to the Asia-Pacific region as a center of defense.
      Regarding her race against Sen. Brian Schatz for Senate, Hanabusa referred to her experience in government at state and federal levels as qualifications. She was elected to the state Senate in 1998, serving as Senate Majority Leader before being elected the first woman President of the Senate in 2006 – making her the first Asian American woman to preside over a state legislative chamber in the United States. 
      “To do what I’ve been able to do is the best training,” she said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Apollo 11 landed on the moon 45 years ago today.
TODAY IS TRANQUILITY BASE DAY IN HAWAI`I. The Hawai`i state Legislature unanimously passed SCR 82 during the 2014 Session, marking the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, when Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans in history to walk on another world. This seminal event helped launch humankind’s first steps beyond Earth, and the state of Hawai`i played an instrumental role in both training the Apollo astronauts for their historic mission at multiple lava fields on the Big Island and in providing a communications link with the Apollo spacecraft through the Koke`e Tracking Station on Kaua`i during its sojourn to the lunar surface. 
      In recognition of this occasion and Hawai`i’s support for and continued involvement with space exploration, Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin is also commemorating this historic occasion through a video presentation in which he discusses Hawai`i’s role in the Apollo program, as well as the substantial scientific, educational, social, and commercial opportunities and benefits the aerospace industry in general, and space exploration in particular, can bring to the state.
      “Hawai`i has positioned itself to become an active participant in the aerospace industry,” said Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. “Space tourism, regional unmanned aerial systems test site, small satellite launches, a research park on the Big Island based on space exploration, robotics, and laser telecommunications are areas that Hawai`i can be a leader in the aerospace world.
      “We are on the verge of expanding and establishing a niche market around science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” he added. “This industry will be good for Hawai`i residents, our nation, and the world.”
      For more information, contact the office of Sen. Will Espero at 808-586-6360 or the Hawai`i Office of Aerospace Development at 808-383-9811.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I WILDFIRE MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION is hosting a series of free community wildfire preparedness workshops. Those who attend will learn about Hawai`i’s wildfire issues and how they can mitigate those issues through proper home landscaping techniques and home structure modifications.
      They will also learn about how to develop a clear and achievable family emergency plan, what actions to take during a wildfire and proper evacuation procedures. HWMO makes each workshop a fun, interactive and casual event that the whole `ohana can enjoy. Each family will also receive a free copy of the Ready, Set, Go! Hawai`i Wildland Fire Action Guide that can be used as a step-by-step tool for carrying out the recommended actions. HWMO will also be holding a raffle at the end of each workshop.
      Elizabeth Pickett, Executive Director of HWMO, explains, “It is essential that Hawai`i’s residents learn about the important role they play in protecting their family, home, community and natural resources from wildfires. Participants will be safer and empowered after attending these workshops.”
      Workshops take place tomorrow at Ocean View Community Center; Friday, July 25 at Cooper Center in Volcano Village; and Monday, July 28 at Pahala Elementary School. Each workshop starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m.
      For more information, email pablo@hawaiiwildfire.org, call 808-885-0900, or see hawaiiwildfire.org.


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