Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Ka`u paniolo return to Na`alehu Rodeo Grounds Saturday to raise funds for Ka`u High Trojans' eight-man football team.
Photo by Julia Neal
WHILE MUCH OF THE FOCUS IN THE AFTERMATH of Tropical Storm Iselle has been on damage caused by hundreds of falling albizia trees that blocked roads and damaged homes and power lines, many of the downed trees in Wood Valley were elderly eucalyptus trees and silver oaks, along with the albizia.
      It also doesn’t take a storm for eucalyptus to come down. Days before Iselle, near the intersection of Wood Valley and Kapapala Ranch roads, a eucalyptus fell across the bed of Mona Chow’s truck as she was driving toward Pahala, throwing her into the steering wheel and totaling the vehicle.
Eucalyptus trees covered stretches of Wood Valley's roads following
Tropical Storm Iselle. Photo by Anne Celeste
      During Iselle, a large silver oak fell onto Clint Strong’s farm shed and nearly took out  his farm machinery and vehicle, said Wood Valley residents.
      According to an Associated Press story in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz met with state Sen. Russell Ruderman, county Director of Civil Defense Darryl Oliveira and other local officials Tuesday regarding formation of a hazard mitigation plan for albizia trees on Hawai`i Island.
      They agreed that all levels of government share responsibility for dealing with hazards the trees pose. The story states that the officials say the next step is to create a budget and figure out how to split the costs.
      Schatz said that because albizia wreaked havoc on power infrastructure and damaged private property, officials must work together to reduce the likelihood of it happening again.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

RICHARD ABBETT, RUNNER-UP to Maile Medeiros David in the August election to represent Ka`u on Hawai`i County Council, said this morning that he is more determined than ever to work on public issues on the island.
      Abbett said that one of his major concerns is industrialization of the Hawaiian Islands. “It is starting to happen and can be seen on every island. Efforts are being put forward that are ignoring the current residents’ economic and quality of life issue all in the name of progress,” he said.
      On Kaua`i, the County Council is considering enacting an excise tax, in addition to the state general excise tax, that would “continue  a regressive tax structure that could force people out of their homes and off the island,” said Abbett.
      On the Big Island, county government “continues to ignore the concerns of the people over the planned waste-to-energy project to handle the island’s garbage. Rather than creating economic opportunity by using the waste stream for new businesses such as recycling discarded wood and other materials, the plan would reduce the amount of recycling and upcycling,” he contended. “So much garbage would be needed to feed the incinerator to make electricity, it would incentivize more burning and less recycling and undermine our zero-waste policy.”
Hawai`i County Council District Six runner-up Richard Abbett, at left,
wants to work on the island's public issues. Photo by Julia Neal
      Abbett said that the waste-to-energy contract, as proposed, could increase the tax burden to citizens for decades. He said the county won’t have enough waste to feed the generator and would have to truck in recyclables and reusables or pay the incinerator company for not having enough garbage. “In Honolulu, the contractual obligations to feed their waste-to-energy incinerator cannot be met,” he contended.
      Abbett said there is a huge increase in infrastructure investments on all the islands. This relies on local tax revenue, and increased taxes lead to local people becoming more impoverished and less able to keep their homes here.
      He also pointed to housing costs. On O`ahu, for example, $400,000 and $500,000 condos and townhomes are marketed as affordable for local people, when, in fact their income cannot support these expensive homes, he said. This will lead to more out-of-state people moving here and displacing the local residents, he predicted.
      He said one approach to reduce the local tax burden is to increase the counties’ share of the transient accommodations (hotel) tax to mitigate the impact and support services necessary for the visitor industries. Last legislative session, he said, some of the transient accommodations tax revenue was diverted to O`ahu to pay for the Turtle Bay preservation project. While in support of protecting that coastal area on O`ahu, Abbett said more money still needed to come to the Neighbor Island counties. This prompted Neighbor Island counties to consider levying an additional excise tax on all the citizenry, which would hurt the local people, he said.
      Abbett said he also worries about the citizens of Ka`u and other County Council districts having their voices heard. He said he testified yesterday in support of Ka`u County Council member Brenda Ford’s resolution to ensure that each County Council district’s representative is allowed to speak before close of debate on any issue before the council. He said that the tactic of stopping debate has been used in the waste-to-energy incinerator discussion, with debate cut off before council members were allowed to present their constituents’ concerns.
      Abbett recommended that counties refrain from committing to expensive capital improvement projects that are not sustainable through current revenues. Even with increases in property taxes as the values of homes and lands increase, there will not be enough money to fund many of these CIPs, he predicted. “This threatens all of our other policy initiatives to maintain the quality of life for our current residents,” he said. “This is particularly harmful to the Native Hawaiian population.
      “These economic policies are where the rubber hits the road. We can’t support our social policy initiatives with such unsustainable capital investment expenditures and continuation of a regressive tax structure.”
      Abbett said he is networking with other people who have been running for office to continue the public discussion and build a movement around these issues.
      To contact him, call 333-6241.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe discusses results
with Board of Education's Human Resources Committee. Photo from DOE
AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE STATE’S more than 11,000 teachers are effective and highly effective educators, according to Educator Effectiveness System results from school year 2013-14 released by the state Department of Education. The 2013-14 school year was the first year of statewide implementation, with no negative consequences for tenured teachers.
      EES results indicate that a vast majority of teachers are performing at the highest levels:
  • 16.0 percent of teachers are rated highly effective, meaning they demonstrate excellence in teacher practice and positive student outcomes;
  • 81.7 percent of teachers are rated effective, which means they demonstrate effective teacher practice and positive student outcomes;
  • 2.1 percent of teachers were rated marginal, meaning improvements are needed to demonstrate effective teacher practice and positive student outcomes; and
  • 0.2 percent of teachers were rated unsatisfactory, which means teachers do not show evidence of effective teacher practice, positive student outcomes.

      EES gives equal weight to two major categories – Student Growth and Learning Measures, and Teacher Practice Measures. Educators are evaluated on several areas, including classroom observations, student survey, core professionalism, student learning objectives and the Hawai`i Growth Model. A working portfolio is used to evaluate non-classroom teachers.
      “Overall, the results reflect more or less what we what we expected: most teachers are effective, with very few teachers rated as marginal, and even fewer rated as unsatisfactory,” Deputy Superintendent Ronn Nozoe said. “More importantly, EES is designed to help teachers and their administrators have high-quality conversations throughout the year about how to improve teaching and learning.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

There's still time to sign up for tomorrow's Healthy Soils workshop.
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN STILL SIGN UP for the Healthy Soils workshop at Pahala Community Center tomorrow from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information and to sign up, call Jennifer at 933-8350.

KA`U HIGH CLASS OF 1979 HOLDS ITS REUNION tomorrow 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.

ON SATURDAY FROM 9:30 A.M. TO 12:30 P.M., a guided, 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hike over rugged terrain at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park focuses on the area’s human history. Call 985-6011 for more information.

TROJAN FOOTBALL FUNDRAISING RODEO takes place Saturday at Na`alehu Rodeo Grounds. Ka`u paniolo raise funds for the team’s travels to Moloka`i and Maui this season.

VOLCANO ART CENTER’S HULA KAHIKO SERIES continues on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with performances by Kumu hula Ab Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuak`ieki`eika`iu, Kumu hula Pohaikealoha Souza with Halau Hula Kamamolikolehua and Kumu hula Patrick Kapuawehi Choy with Halau Hula Kalehua`apapaneoka`au.
      Cultural specialist Loke Kamanu and `ohana offer Na Mea Hula, All Things Hula, on the lanai of Volcano Art Gallery from 9:30 a.m. with 1:30 p.m. for.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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