Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014

Summer Fun kept Ocean View keiki busy with excursions and activities. Photos from Teresa Anderson
GRASSROOTS INSTITUTE OF HAWAI`I is calling for tax reform following a study by the financial site Wallet Hub concluding that Hawai`i has the second most unfair tax system in the country. According to the study, Hawai`i trails only Washington in the gap between what citizens consider a fair tax structure and the reality of the state system. In addition, the Aloha State ranked third among states where the middle class (defined as the 40-60 percent income quintile) is overtaxed and was little better about overtaxing the poor. Hawai`i ranked fourth in states that overtax the lowest 20 percent of income earners.

Wallet Hub ranked Hawai`i's tax system as second least fair in the nation.
 Wallet Hub map from Grassoots Institute of Hawai`i
      The survey found that the majority of Americans, regardless of political outlook, believe that higher income households should be taxed at a higher rate than lower earners. Those states that most conform to this model were rated more fair, while those where the tax burden was heavier on middle and lower income householders were rated as unfair. The Wallet Hub survey also noted that Hawai`i is especially dependent on sales and excise taxes – the state ranked seventh in its reliance on revenues from this source.
      “This survey is only confirming what too many of us realize every day,” said Keli`i Akina, President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawai`i. “Hawai`i’s tax system is badly in need of reform that stimulates the economy and reduces the burden on middle class and working households. This isn’t a question of partisanship or politics – the system is faulty no matter what your perspective. If Hawai`i’s policy makers want to help our working families in a substantial and effective way, they should seek out reforms that provide real, measurable tax relief.”

Sen. Brian Schatz
U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ, A MEMBER of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, commended President Barack Obama and leaders from around the world on new commitments to combating climate change. President Barack Obama yesterday addressed the United Nations Climate Summit and announced a new executive order that will require federal agencies to consider climate change in the design of all international development programs and investments. 

      “With more than 120 world leaders committing to fighting climate change today, and hundreds of thousands marching for action over the weekend, our calls to act on the global threat of climate change cannot be ignored,” Schatz said, “Today’s commitments from President Obama and leaders from around the world are an important step forward, but more needs to be done. America has a chance to lead the fight against climate change. If we act now, cut carbon pollution and move to a clean energy economy, we can create opportunities for a better world for our families, our children, and future generations.”

      Earlier this year, Schatz led 31 of his Senate colleagues in a rare all-night session of the Senate to urge action on climate change.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
IN AN EFFORT TO SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE oversight and accountability of the nation’s intelligence community, Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has joined Sen. Ron Wyden, of Oregon, in spearheading a bipartisan, bicameral effort to strengthen the government’s privacy protection board. The legislation gives the oversight board greater ability to carry out its function of balancing the government’s national security and counterterrorism activities with the need to protect the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans. 
      The Strengthening Privacy, Oversight, and Transparency Act, or SPOT Act, expands the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s authority to play a watchdog role over surveillance conducted for purposes beyond counterterrorism. It also allows the PCLOB to issue subpoenas without having to wait for the Justice Department to issue them, and makes the board members full-time positions.

      “The American people should not be forced to choose between safety and security, or freedom, privacy and civil liberties. Recent revelations of actions within the intelligence community show that these basic principles upon which our country was founded have been violated in the name of security. We have a responsibility to the people we serve to make sure that this is not allowed to occur, which is what this legislation seeks to do.
      The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board is an independent body that was expanded in 2007 as part of Congress’ measures to implement the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The commission called for an executive branch board that would ensure that government efforts to protect American security also protect Americans’ privacy and civil liberties. More recently, a number of outside experts, including the President’s own surveillance Review Group, have recommended that the Board’s mandate and authorities be expanded and clarified.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kahuku Summer Fun participants enjoyed arts and crafts projects and journaling.
Photos from Teresa Anderson 
OCEAN VIEW STUDENTS, NOW BACK IN SCHOOL, kept busy during Kahuku Summer Fun. Participants enjoyed excursions to Punalu`u Black Sand Beach, Kahalu`u Beach and Kona Aquatics Center. During the first trip to Punalu`u, representatives from Three Mountain Alliance, state Division of Forestry & Wildlife and Hawai`i wildlife Fund lead a mauka to makai talk story and mini beach cleanup. Then it was swim time.
      Many visitors gave presentations on important subjects. A Ka`u public health nurse taught proper hand washing and the importance of nutritious foods and proper food portions. A healthy snack of oranges and grapes provided by Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center followed.
      Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawai`i taught about dangers of smoking.
      A representative from University of Hawai`i at Hilo discussed STEAM curricula, which includes science, technology, engineering, art and math. Students learned about marine biology, how data is collected, importance of coral reefs and dangers of overfishing.
      Recycle Hawai`i taught about the importance of recycling and how to do backyard composting to feed gardens and plants.
      Kahuku ahupua`a and Hawaiian culture were topics of visiting kupuna.
      Hawai`i Electric Light Co. sent someone to teach about clean energy, including wind, solar, hydro and geothermal. Participants made boats driven by solar power.
      More fun came with soap making, other arts and crafts and journaling. Home Depot donated race car and herb pot craft kits along with aprons, pins and certificates.
      Kahuku Park is looking for coaches for T-ball and Coach Pitch. Call Teresa at 929-9113.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IN SPORTS, KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL TEAMS travels to Kamehameha today at 6 p.m. On Friday, they travel to Kohala.
      The Trojans’ eight-man football team hosts Kamehameha Friday at 6:30 p.m.

FRIDAY IS THE DEADLINE FOR KA`U fifth-grade girls to register for GEMS – Girls Exploring Math & Science – workshops set for Thursday, Nov. 20 at the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou. Registration forms are available at public and private schools.
Drop-off for Ka`u Chamber of Commerce
entries is Friday and Saturday.
      For more information, to sponsor a girl or to request a registration packet, contact Laurel Gregory at 969-8833 or lgregory@hawaii.edu.

PACIFIC ISLANDS ARTS & CRAFTS SALE & yART Sale is Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. The fundraiser includes arts, ceramics, new and slightly used tools, household goods and collectables.

OKTOBERFEST AT KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Lava Lounge in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Friday at 4 p.m. features German food, beer and music. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 
      For more information, call 967-8356 or 967-8365.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LANDS DAY IS SATURDAY. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park waives entry fees to celebrate.

BOTANIST TIM TUNISON LEADS an exploration of a pristine, species-rich old-growth rain forest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Meeting point is Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.
      Call 967-8222 to sign up.

ARTISTS ENTERING KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE’S Art Show can register Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at CU Hawai`i Na`alehu Branch. Next week, Ka`u residents vote for art to grace the cover of The Directory 2015.
      For more information, call Dallas at 516-662-8789.


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