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Ka`u News Briefs June 5, 2013

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Army and Navy reservists in the medical professions join Ka`u residents waiting for eye tests, among the free screenings and care available through June 12 at Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center.
Photo by Julia Neal

A 5.2 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE struck the deep ocean off the southeast coast of Ka`u yesterday at 2:13 p.m. It was centered 12 miles east of Lo`ihi Seamount, which is just 22 miles offshore. Lo`ihi and the quake epicenter are on the flank of Mauna Loa Volcano, the largest volcano on the planet.
Yesterday's 5.2 magnitude earthquake is in red southeast
of the Ka`u Coast. Image from USGS
      Buildings rattled in Ka`u and all the way to Hilo. It was felt across the Big Island and on Maui. The location was 33 miles southeast of Pahala. 
      Neither injuries nor serious damage was reported. Civil Defense reported no tsunami threat from the quake.

THE FUTURE OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES IN HAWAI`I is taken up this evening in a public meeting begin held by Hawaiian Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Industries at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Public comment is welcome, and the electric company is tasked with planning for secure, affordable energy. Plans can be seen at www.irpie.com. The Public Utilities Commission will also review and approve the electric companies’ plans.

Jamae Kawauchi
FORMER COUNTY CLERK JAMAE KAWAUCHI AND FORMER COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIR Dominic Yagong gained support from a judge yesterday regarding a suit that charged them with investigating and firing four election workers in a “willful and wanton way.” According to a story by Erin Miller, of West Hawai`i Today, Judge Elizabeth Strance said “the admissible evidence now before this Court appears to clearly support a finding that Defendants Kawauchi and Yagong acted both with cause and within the scope of their employment within the County of Hawai`i.” The judge also wrote that the “plaintiffs have not provided this Court with ‘clear and convincing’ evidence of any animus or ‘willful or wanton;’ tortious conduct by Defendants Kawauchi and/or Yagong towards the Plaintiffs…. Similarly, there is no evidence that Defendants Kawauchi and/or Yagong personally conducted any investigation, regarding the actions of the Plaintiffs in connection with the County Elections Warehouse.”
      The four were fired for allowing outside business activity and drinking in a county warehouse.
      An email from the defendants’ attorney Francis Jung, reported this morning in West Hawai`i Today, said, “Dominic Yagong and Jamae Kawauchi are both extremely thankful and pleased with the Court’s decision. All of their actions were made with the intent of fulfilling their duties to the public to the best of their knowledge and abilities as hardworking, dedicated and honest public servants. Hopefully, the young people of Hawai`i will not be afraid to seek future careers in public service or elected office out of fear of being persecuted by frivolous lawsuits. Justice will prevail in the end.” See more at westhawaiitoday.com.
      Since leaving the County Clerk’s post, Kawauchi has been working for the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Yagong’s term ended as Council member, and he lost his run for mayor.

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd
COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR NOMINEE Bobby Leithead Todd has gained support from a former Environmental Management director Lono Tyson, who says her experience on the job should make up for her not having an engineering or related degree required by County Charter. The statement was reported by Nancy Cook Lauer in West Hawai`i Today this morning. Leithead Todd earned a law degree and English degree, has served most recently as the Planning director and is a former County Council member. She also previously served as chief of the Department of Environmental Management, which oversees solid waste, including sewage systems and the handling of garbage and trash services of the county.
      According to West Hawai`i Today, Councilmember Brenda Ford said, “While there are pros and cons to having an engineer as the director of the Department of Environmental Management, I personally believe it should be an engineer to understand the technical aspects of the position. I support the charter as it was passed by the voters of Hawai`i County.”
      Leithead Todd’s nomination by Mayor Billy Kenoi needs approval by the County Council. See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

A PO`OKULA FOR KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS’ HAWAI`I ISLAND CAMPUS has been named for the first time. Kahealani Nae`ole-Wong is the first assistant head of school. Po`o Kula Holoua Stender, the head of the school, described her as “an exemplary educator who brings a wealth of teaching, curriculum development and instructional leadership experience to her new position.

Pierre Omidyar
Arianna Huffington
CIVIL BEAT AND HUFFINGTON POST recently forged a partnership called HuffPost Hawai`i.
      Civil Beat founder Pierre Omidyar, who also founded EBay, said the teamwork will help get Hawai`i news to the world. Civil Beat will run news feeds with Huffington Post.
      Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington was a keynote speaker at the Specialty Coffee Association Convention in Los Angeles where Bull Kailiawa placed as one of the top ten in the world. At the convention, The Ka`u Calendar publisher Julia Neal met Huffington and talked about the success of the farmers after losing their jobs when the sugar industry failed and their challenge with land security.
      The land where most of the Ka`u coffee farmers have expired leases went up in a foreclosure auction last month, and the bank owed money against the property, Lehman Brothers, made the highest bid. Whether Lehman will become the owner of the property or a higher bid will be cast will be determined at a court proceeding to finish the foreclosure, which is yet to be scheduled.

HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE REMIND the public that the Kuleana Hotline is not a substitute for 9-1-1 calls. In an emergency, people should always call 9-1-1.
      The Kuleana Hotline is designed to prevent tragic events in public places, including schools, restaurants and other locations where members of the community gather.
      Unlike Crime Stoppers, to which citizens may report information about a specific crime, the Kuleana Hotline is an avenue for reporting something that may not be criminal yet but has the potential to turn disastrous if not prevented.
      “Many tragedies committed by individuals or organized groups have been preceded by warning signs,” a statement from the Police Department says. “We as a community are responsible for notifying the police if we see or hear anything that has the potential to turn into a malicious act.”
      The statement gives examples of what to call the Kuleana Hotline about:
  • If you read a post on a social networking site about a person interested in purchasing a firearm and the person signals intent to cause harm with that weapon, call the Kuleana Hotline. 
  • If you witness suspicious activity around public buildings, utility companies or bridges, call the Kuleana Hotline. 
  • If you see something or someone’s behavior that may seem innocuous but gives you a “funny feeling” in your stomach that something is “just not right,” call the Kuleana Hotline. 
      Tips could help authorities intervene before those warning signs develop into a crime or tragedy.
      Kuleana is the Hawaiian word for “responsibility. “The significance of the hotline’s name is that we are all neighbors living on this island together, and we are all responsible for preventing acts of terror or mass injury,” says the statement.
      The number for the Kuleana Hotline is 961-2219. It is not manned around the clock, but it allows for callers to provide information by leaving voice mail messages.

TROPIC CARE 2013 CONTINUES THROUGH WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, with free health screenings and care at Ocean View Community Center and Ka`u High School. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on the last day when it ends at noon.
       An Army Reserve medical care team is providing physical, eye and dental exams and care at no cost to anyone who goes to either location, first-come, first-served.
      In addition to medical services, residents living off the grid and using a generator for power will have access to service members specializing in mechanics, who will work on any systems that need attention.
      For more information about Tropic Care, call 701-566-1932.

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


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