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

Refreshments await runners as they are greeted by Miss Ka`u Coffee Amery Silva, at right, at the finish line of Ka`u Coffee Trail Run. Photo by Julia Neal
BILLY BARNETT, OF VOLCANO, WON THE FIRST annual Ka`u Coffee Trail Run Half Marathon this morning as runners from Germany to Japan competed. Barnett described the course as one of the toughest Half Marathons he’s ever raced. He also won the recent Volcano Rain Forest Runs Half Marathon. Barnett said he will be back next year.
Half Marathon winner Billy Barnett with race
director Raylene Moses. Photo by Julia Neal
      Runners of all ages competed in the 5K, 10K and Half Marathon, followed by Portuguese horseshoe and Kendama tournaments.
      The races and `Ohana Day are sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou, which promises to use money raised to benefit the Ka`u community. Activities continue until 3 p.m.
      Entertainment includes hula halau led by Debbie Ryder and Sammi Fo, Keoki Kahumoku and his `ukulele kids and Hui Okinawa Kobodu Taiko.
      Numerous community organizations sponsor educational displays on the coffee drying floor along with vendors selling arts and crafts.
      County of Hawai`i and Ed Olson Trust are two of the sponsors. Olson said he is proud of the partnership between the community and Ka`u Coffee Mill.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

“REFORM AND RESTRUCTURING OF OUR STATE’S health care safety net … will be critical to prevent any loss of jobs or reduction of services, said Ka`u’s state Sen. Josh Green. “A partnership with a local entity will likely be necessary in 2015 to maintain the safety net.”
      The Senate Health Committee chair and emergency room doctor’s comments to Honolulu Star-Advertiser reporter Kriesten Consillio follow Hawai`i Health Systems Corp.’s request to the state Legislature for emergency funds to continue operations.
      Consillio said HHSC has lobbied the state for several years to allow a partnership with a private entity. Earlier this year, the Legislature rejected a proposal to allow HHSC to partner with a local nonprofit provider such as Hawai`i Pacific Health, the Queen’s Health Systems or Kaiser Permanente Hawai`i.
      The Legislature appropriated $102 million to HHSC, $48 million less than requested for 2015. The organization has called for layoffs and other cost-cutting measures, but it still expects a $30 million deficit next year.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u Rural Health Community Association offers health screenings.
Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I’S MAIN WEB PORTAL AT HAWAII.GOV has been named Best Government Website as part of the Web Marketing Association’s 2014 WebAwards (webaward.org). The annual competition is recognized as the premier industry-based website award program in the world. 
      More than 1,500 entries from 40 countries were judged in 96 industry categories on design, ease of use, copywriting, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation and use of technology.
      “This award proves our amazing transformation into the digital age that we started for Hawai`i three years ago is ahead of schedule,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “We are so proud of the entire team that has represented us in this achievement for the state.”
      The newly designed Hawaii.gov was developed via a collaborative effort with Hawai`i Information Consortium, LLC, Hawai`i’s state Internet Portal Manager and the Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT).
Ka`u Coffee grower Berta Miranda is one of several vendors at Ka`u Coffee Mill
for `Ohana Day until 3 p.m. Photo by Julia Neal
      Hawaii.gov was re-launched in 2013 as a comprehensive update to the state’s main web portal. It was released in conjunction with upgrades to webpages across all state departments and agencies, enhanced mobile, touch and speech capability, increased consistency and improved accessibility. The update was part of OIMT’s award-winning Business & Information Technology/Information Resource Management (IT/IRM) Transformation Plan unveiled in 2012.
      Another highly visible change from the plan includes the launch of data.hawaii.gov, the state’s new data portal for access to state government information, in turn leading to increased transparency, driving civic innovation, and engaging participants in a more collaborative form of government.
      The state’s progress in the use of technology across state government was recognized earlier this month with a B+ grade in the Center for Digital Government’s biennial Digital States Survey. This grade is the best-ever score for Hawai`i  and a major improvement from a B- in 2012.
Tutu & Me presents information about its early education programs available
in Pahala and Na`alehu. Photo by Julia Neal
      In addition, Hawai`i was recently one of six states (Hawai`i, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Utah) to receive a perfect score in this year’s State Open Data Policies and Portals report by the Center for Data Innovation. Hawai`i also earned a 2013 Federal 100 award from Federal Computer Week magazine (the only state government in the nation to receive such an award that year) and the 2014 Government Innovator of the Year award from the Government Technology Research Alliance.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD, an Iraq War veteran, is cosponsoring legislation that would temporarily suspend the Visa Waiver Program for countries with citizens known to be fighting for Islamic extremist groups like ISIL. Hundreds of passport holders from European countries and the U.S have already traveled to fight with extremist groups in Iraq and Syria.

Alan Moores displays his art on the coffee drying platform at Ka`u Coffee Mill.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “My first priority, at all times, is to ensure the safety of the American people,” Gabbard said. “If there is a weakness in our national security, we have a responsibility to fix it. This legislation will close a loophole in our visa process to prevent possible terrorists from entering the U.S. freely. As things presently stand, Islamic extremists holding certain European passports can simply get on a plane and fly to the U.S. without a visa. By temporarily suspending the Visa Waiver Program, all visitors from these countries will be vetted and have to go through a visa application process before they are allowed to step on U.S. soil. If we do nothing to close this loophole and allow a terrorist to carry out an attack on our homeland, the impacts will be devastating. Action is needed now.”

      The legislation would suspend the VWP for any country that has identified passport holders fighting with Islamic extremist organizations. Restoration of a country’s VWP participation would be determined by the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence. Restored participation would be based on the ability of the suspended country and the U.S. to identify, track and negate the risk of terrorists from entering the U.S.

Francis and Trini Marques offer coffee samples at `Ohana Day.
Photo by Julia Neal
      The VWP currently allows eligible citizens of 38 countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO HAS VOTED in favor of a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through Dec. 11, which includes authorization for the Obama Administration to train and equip moderate Syrians to fight against ISIL.
      “The President, Secretary Hagel, and Chairman Dempsey have made a strong case regarding the threat ISIL presents to the Middle East, Europe, and our nation,” Hirono said. “I share many Americans’ concerns about ISIL’s growing strength. This is a ruthless, well-funded and organized group that is attracting recruits from all corners of the world, including the United States. Defeating ISIL will require a unified effort and resources from a multi-national coalition.
      “Currently, the President is relying on existing authorities to strike ISIL, but a prolonged military campaign will require specific congressional authority. The President has assured us that U.S. forces will not have a combat mission and I will hold him to that assurance.
Duke Aiona supporters waved signs to motorists traveling through Pahala
on their way to `Ohana Day and Ka`u Coffee Trail Run.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “While I will support the authorization to train and equip moderate Syrians to fight ISIL, it must be done with adequate safeguards to ensure that we do not create a scenario where this training and equipment are turned against us or our allies in the future. There are no easy answers to the complexities confronting the U.S. and our allies. The evolving situation in Syria and Iraq requires the people of the region to respond clearly and decisively against ISIL.”
      The bill, which passed 78-22, now heads to the President’s desk for his signature.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND HOLDS A KA`U COAST CLEANUP tomorrow. Volunteers meet at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool to Ka`u Coast locations for this annual cleanup as part of an international effort.
      Call 769-7629 or email kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

PARTICIPANTS DISCOVER THE TWO HAWAIIAN goddesses Hi`iaka and Pele and the natural phenomena they represent tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Call 985-6011 or see nps.gov/havo for more information.


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