Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014

Macadamia nut trees in Wood Valley were knocked down by Iselle, with winds whipping down the valley's slopes. Trees with
shadow are standing; those without are on the ground. Insurance adjusters are evaluating ag damage in Ka`u. Photo by John Cross
STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN plans to fly to O`ahu to attend a state Elections Commission hearing this Friday. “I have very serious complaints about how the recent primary election was handled,” he said, referring to storm damage that prevented voters from reaching the polls. Ruderman represents east Ka`u and Puna.
Sen. Russell Ruderman said he has very serious complaints about how
the recent primary election was handled. Photo by Julia Neal
      Ruderman said this morning that while it is not his place to tell the Elections Commission how to solve the problem that occurred after destruction by Tropical Storm Iselle isolated people from voting, he will point out some of the problems to the commission. “One was the fact that the election was held on Saturday, Aug. 9, when many people were physically blocked in their homes and couldn’t make it to the polls. Ruderman said that the state Elections Division decided to open the polls after a fly-over determined that major roads were open but did not take into account the voters that could be blocked in from reaching the polls from their neighborhoods. 
       Ruderman said he tried to call Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago to no avail. Ruderman contended that the turnout was at least 40 percent lower due to people being unable to reach the polls. There was no accommodation made for them to vote later, he said.
      The secondary problem involves polling stations that were closed on Election Day. Official notices were posted and given out saying that ballots would be mailed. However, “two days later they changed their minds and decided to hold the election three days later. … So many people didn’t receive the word to go vote, and some waited for the ballot to come in the mail.” Ruderman asked, “Why after making a decision to mail out ballots, change to a three-day-notice, walk-in election when it was hard to get the word out?”
      Ruderman said that if Nago would have returned his call before Primary Election Day, Ruderman could have “corrected Nago’s misinformation about the conditions.” Ruderman, who was not running as he has two more years before campaigning for reelection, said, “I was not running for office. I was fighting for the right of the voters and wanted to tell him.”
      In contrast, said Ruderman, “County Clerk Stewart Maeda is always responsive.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rep. Richard Creagan at Ocean View Community
Center's County Council District Six candidate
forum. Photo by Ron Johnson
WEST KA`U’S STATE REP. RICHARD CREAGAN is studying health and educational issues in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the National Conference of State Legislatures. He said this morning that about a third of Hawai`i state House of Representative members and a quarter of Hawai`i state senators are attending. “It is a place to meet other legislators and find out how they do things and how they are addressing certain issues.”
      Creagan said that legislators from Washington and Colorado have talked to him about their marijuana issues, since Hawai`i could be considering expanding and decriminalizing marijuana use. Creagan said he was surprised to learn that Hawai`i is on the short list of some websites predicting where marijuana could be legalized. Creagan said he does not see legalization here as imminent. He said that some people are against legalization, but then when money becomes involved, people start to change their minds.”
      Creagan said he does not support legalization of marijuana at this time. “There could be some unintended consequences, and there is a downside to legalizing marijuana. On the other hand, some people think ‘the train is coming down the track; might as well get on board.’ However, I think it would be premature to legalize marijuana before we thoroughly look at decriminalizing marijuana and also at medical marijuana issues.”
      Creagan said he recommends watching the experiments where marijuana sales have been legalized “in Washington and Colorado, which have very different legalizing systems, and see how they play out.” Creagan said that in Washington, the liquor board is responsible for licensing marijuana distribution. In Colorado, the system is more wide open, with more liberal licensing of marijuana outlets, Creagan said.
      Regarding health care, Creagan said the National Conference of State Legislatures has included presentations from the two largest medical systems in Minnesota, including Mayo Clinic.
      He said he visited Mayo Clinic and sees its health care services to about half the geography of Minnesota as a model to study. Creagan said he has heard positive results from Hawai`i people seeking help from Mayo.
      Regarding public schools, Creagan said, “We need to reinvent our education system. Otherwise, we are going to lose a generation of people.” He said the conference has included discussions about federal initiatives having been “so rigid that they have been less rather than more effective. We need to look at education to free up the creativity of children. Don’t make them fit into a rigid mold,” Creagan said.
      The weeklong session ends this Friday.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

One of Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's campaign stops was Pahala Community Center.
Photo by Julia Neal
“THOUGH I WILL NOT BE CHALLENGING THE RESULTS of this election, I remain very concerned about the public’s confidence and trust in our election process,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa regarding her loss to Sen. Brian Schatz by 1,769 votes in the race for the seat vacated by the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. “I ask former colleagues and friends in the Hawai`i state Legislature to explore what is necessary to ensure the people that their vote truly counts.
      “I heard from many who feel strongly that they were disenfranchised from the voting process this election, and I stand ready to support any collaborative effort to have those voices heard.”
      Schatz responded, “I want to congratulate Congresswoman Hanabusa on waging a spirited and tough battle. Now it is time for us to unite as we move forward to the general election.
      “I thank the voters for placing their trust and confidence in me. I will never lose sight of the fact that I am only able to do my work representing the people of Hawai`i because of the voters’ support.”
      Schatz faces Republican Cam Cavasso, Libertarian Michael Kokoski and nonpartisan Joy Allison in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

INSURANCE AGENTS ARE DESCENDING ON KA`U to measure damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, especially to macadamia nut orchards and Ka`u Coffee fields.
      Ka`u farmers and ranchers can obtain crop insurance and funds to repair damage through Farm Service Agency. The deadline to sign up for 2015 NAP crop insurance is Monday, Sept. 1. 
      For information about FSA’s programs, including what to do in advance of the next disaster, see fsa.usda.gov/hi. For a more comprehensive look at USDA disaster assistance, see usda.gov/disaster.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HVO's website is being updated regularly, and the observatory's
monitoring capacity is back to normal after repairs to
its electrical system. Photo from HVO
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY IS ONCE AGAIN fully operational following power issues created by Tropical Storm Iselle. The storm caused only minor damage to HVO’s field instruments, but electrical problems within the observatory impaired processing of data and updating of the website.
      The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, CO monitored earthquakes during HVO’s power problems, and scientists at Alaska Volcano Observatory scanned satellite imagery for data on Hawai`i’s volcanoes.
      Updates for Hawai`i’s active volcanoes and earthquake data for the state of Hawai`i are available at hvo.wr.usgs.gov, 967-8862 or askHVO@usgs.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RANDY LEE SHARES THE ART OF LEI MAKING Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the porch at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

KAHUKU PARK IN OCEAN VIEW hosts a Music Appreciation Concert Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call Teresa at 929-9113.

Three kumu hula present their halau this Saturday. From left are
Ab Valencia, Pohaikealoha Souza and Patrick Kapuawehi Choy.
Photo from Volcano Art Center
ATTENDEES LEARN HOW TO OPTIMIZE INPUTS, protect against drought and increase production during a Healthy Soils workshop at Pahala Community Center Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. The event features vendor booths, food and door prizes. Seating is limited. Sign up with Jennifer at 933-8350.

KA`U HIGH CLASS OF 1979 REUNION takes place Friday at 6 p.m. at Rays on the Bay at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay. Contact Margo Lu Takata or Holli Wade on facebook for information.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S HULA KAHIKO SERIES continues on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with performances by three halau: Kumu hula Ab Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuak`ieki`eika`iu, (Kilauea, Hawai`i); Kumu hula Pohaikealoha Souza with Halau Hula Kamamolikolehua (Kaka`ako, O`ahu); and Kumu hula Patrick Kapuawehi Choy with Halau Hula Kalehua`apapaneoka`au (Palolo, O`ahu).
      These three kumu hula `uniki’d (graduated) together in 1991. Each established their own halau after their `uniki. They continue the hula traditions of their teacher Mae Kamamalu Klein, of Kane`ohe, O`ahu, and enjoy coming together to share the mana`o, aloha and traditions of hula.
      Cultural specialist Loke Kamanu and `ohana set up shop on the lanai of the Volcano Art Gallery from 9:30 a.m. with 1:30 p.m. for Na Mea Hula, All Things Hula. Kamanu shares a variety of instruments, implements and lei styles that play an integral role in the life of the hula practitioner. This memorable demonstration is hands-on and family-friendly.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.


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