Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Gubernatorial candidate Sen. David Ige meet with Ka`u residents in Pahala yesterday. Photo by Julia Neal
SEN. DAVID IGE WANTS TO BRING A NEW STYLE of leadership to the governor’s office, he told Ka`u voters at a coffee hour in Pahala yesterday held at the home of Marion Villanueva. Hoping to win the Democratic primary election to unseat Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Aug. 9, Ige said his leadership is based on being open and honest, listening to all views and “doing the right thing the right way.”
      Pahala resident Bobby Gomes asked Ige about “constant threats” of benefits for kupuna being taken away by the state. “The state pushes us around,” he said. Ige, chair of the state Senate Ways & Means Committee, said he would not let the governor balance the budget on the backs of kupuna and retirees. He said he and the state Legislature fought Gov. Neil Abercrombie “tooth and nail” when the governor proposed taxing pensions.
      Ige also said that, under his leadership, the Legislature focused on making sure trust funds for state pensions and health insurance are in good financial shape.
Sen. David Ige Photo by Ron Johnson
      Regarding a new law requiring some board and commission members to provide financial disclosure, Ige said it is in the public’s interest.
      In his opinion, recent resignations of members following approval of the law “demonstrate why we need financial disclosure.” In some cases, he said, boards and commissions have become about special interests rather than public service. The financial disclosure, which is the same as required of other public servants, will allow communities to “keep and eye on them.” He said he is confident that many qualified citizens will be willing to “serve and disclose.”
      “Public education is the great equalizer,” Ige said. It is “the gateway and creator of opportunities.” He criticized the Department and Board of Education for their “one size fits all” approach and said "those closest to the children are the most qualified to decide what’s best for them.”
      Equity and access are Ige’s concerns regarding the question of whether taxpayer dollars should go to private preschools. While he is not in favor of it, “My personal view is it’s the community’s decision,” he said. He pointed out that private preschools are usually not in communities that need them and that every child should have an equal opportunity for early education. “Are the private preschools willing to operate as public schools?” he asked.
      Growing food and energy crops is another priority for Ige. He said the state needs to commit 200,000 acres to farming, with food being the primary focus. “Ag can be a thriving industry,” he said. He supports small family farms and organic farming.
      Ige also expressed interest in trying to help with the issue of land security for Ka`u Coffee farmers, who could possibly lose the land where their award-winning coffee is grown. Many of the farmers’ leases on land provided after sugar production ceased about 18 years ago have expired, and the land is currently up for sale. He said he will talk to some of the farmers in the near future.
      Regarding biofuel production, Pahala resident Lynn Hamilton told Ige, “One of our biggest concerns is the cost of energy.” She told Ige that a biofuel project here would have resulted in higher electric rates. Ige said, “I couldn’t get that project,” but that he recently met a farmer who is producing biofuel that he says is cheaper.
      Protecting the environment is another priority, said Ige. Pahala resident Peter Volpe said, “The legislators ought to appreciate what we have here in Hawai`i” in regard to invasive species. Ige responded that the lack of invasive species control is about “a lack of leadership” from the governor. He said the Legislature has supported funding for more inspectors at points of entry and other programs for the last four years and is frustrated that implementation has taken so long.
      He discussed little fire ants and said a protocol is in place to treat colonies once they are identified.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Dan Brinkman
DAN BRINKMAN IS INTERIM REPLACEMENT AS CEO of Hawai`i Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawai`i Region, reports Pacific Business News. He replaces Howard Ainsley, whose resignation is effective Aug. 9. 
      Brinkman said he is interested in becoming the permanent CEO. “But I also feel strongly that the organization should look and see who is out there and who best fits,” he told reporter Matt Tuohy.
      Brinkman joined Hilo Medical Center in 2007 as the chief nurse executive and became regional chief operating officer in early 2014. He came from Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center, where he was an assistant administrator of interventional cardiology and cardiac surgery.
      He has an associate’s degree in nursing from Pikes Peak Community College, a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Augusta State College in Georgia and a master’s degree in public administration from University of Colorado.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE THIRTY METER TELESCOPE IS BEGINNING ITS construction phase on Hawai`i Island, following last Friday’s approval of a sublease by Hawai`i Board of Land and Natural Resources. Contingent on that decision, TMT’s International Observatory Board of Directors recently approved the initial phase of construction, with activities near the summit of Mauna Kea scheduled to start later this year.
      Initial construction activities will include grading the site in preparation for future building work, enabling a site dedication ceremony in October. A statement from the TMT organization said it is committed to work within a plan for responsible development on Mauna Kea created by the Office of Mauna Kea Management.
      “TMT has worked for many years to design an unprecedented telescope, but also to work with the community to incorporate respect for Mauna Kea in our stewardship,” said Gary Sanders, Project Manager for TMT. “It is an honor and a privilege to now begin building our next-generation observatory in so special a place.”
      TMT will now make its first annual contribution to The Hawai`i Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund, a program that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education across grades K-12, secondary and post-secondary education. Over the life of the TMT lease on Mauna Kea, TMT will give $1 million per year to the THINK Fund.
Thirty Meter Telescope is beginning its construction phase.
Photo from tmt.org
      In the construction sector, TMT will create about 300 full-time construction jobs. TMT has committed to the hiring of union workers for these positions. Looking further ahead, during operations, TMT will have a staff of about 120-140, which will be drawn as much as possible from Hawai`i Island’s available labor pool. A workforce pipeline program in the meantime will also educate and train island residents for jobs with TMT, as well as other observatories and high-tech industries.
      “The start of construction of TMT is great news for Hawai`i Island residents,” said Sandra Dawson, TMT’s Manager of Hawai`i Community Affairs. “We are proud to be a good citizen of the community as we all work toward building a revolutionary astronomical instrument.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THIS FRIDAY, AUG. 1 IS THE DEADLINE TO SUBMIT comments regarding newly proposed Agricultural Worker Protection Standard rules.
      The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued proposed changes to the WPS to increase protections from pesticide exposure for the nation’s agricultural workers and their families. See epa.gov/oppfead1/safety/workers/proposed/index.html.
      The Western Integrated Pest Management Center recognizes the importance of stakeholder input on this issue and the need to convey the opinions of growers, pest managers and other stakeholders in the West to federal decision-makers.
      To facilitate this input, the Center developed a survey for stakeholders to respond to the major proposed changes. The survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.
      To access the survey, see surveymonkey.com/s/K2ZG3ZD.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Army Signal Corps Formation at Kilauea Military camp in the 1940's.
Photo from NPS
THE FORMER WORLD WAR II DETENTION SITE at Kilauea Military Camp is today’s topic of a tour and screenings of the documentary, The Untold Story: Internment of Japanese Americans in Hawai`i.
      Showings of the documentary are at 1 p.m. at KMC’s Lava Lounge and 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. A one-hour tour begins at 2:30 p.m.
      The tours and film screenings are free. No registration is required. For tours, participants meet at KMC’s check-in area at near the flagpole. Park entrance fees apply.

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT HAS SET DATES for August. Volunteers meet at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails on Fridays, Aug 1, 15 and 29 and Saturday, Aug. 9 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free; park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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