Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Sept. 26, 2014

Portable classroom at Kea`au High, part of the Ka`u-Kea`au-Pahoa state Department of Education complex area, would be used for students at Keonepoko Elementary, should lava cut off access to their school near Pahoa. Image from DOE 
“WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO KEEP A SENSE of normalcy in our schools, and we stand ready to adjust our operations as needed," said Mary Correa, state Department of Education complex area superintendent for Ka`u, Kea`au and Pahoa.
      DOE continues to work on contingency plans for public schools, students and staff in preparation for lava to eventually cross Pahoa’s Hwy 130. The lava flow stalled Sunday on its approach toward Pahoa. However, volcanic activity is ongoing.
DOE is placing module classrooms in Kea`au High School parking lot in anticipation
of the possible loss of Keonepoko Elementary to lava, which has slowed but
is still active. Photo from DOE 
      Given the information from the subject-area experts, the DOE is committed to doing what is necessary to allow public school teachers and students to continue teaching and learning. This includes preparing for the potential loss of Keonepoko Elementary on Kahakai Blvd. The DOE is building an alternate site for elementary students in the Kea`au High lower parking lot that could hold a number of classrooms. The site would accommodate at least 17 classrooms and up to 500 students and staff. The initial estimated cost to the DOE is $9 million.
      “We believe that setting up an alternate site is necessary in order to ensure that our teachers and students have everything ready should we lose a school,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We continue to tackle a number of scenarios, and we appreciate the flexibility of our staff, the cooperation of our families, and the collaboration with Hawai`i County agencies in our preparation efforts."
      Based on the expectation that access to Keonepoko Elementary, Pahoa High & Intermediate, and Pahoa Elementary will be compromised, plans are being made for students who reside north of the flow to be rerouted to the Kea`au complex when the flow crosses Hwy 130. Students who reside south of the flow will remain in their home schools if those facilities are not negatively impacted.
      “When the lava crosses the highway, we want to make sure everything is in place in order to provide continued school services,” said Correa.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
      Pahoa complex currently has an estimated 1,800 students and roughly 300 employees.
      Plans have been shared with parents at all three schools via letters and school meetings. Besides student planning, DOE is also initiating plans that would guide affected employees on necessary changes. Earlier this month, the DOE asked parents and staff who may have changed their residence to immediately update their contact information with school administrators.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ENSURING THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT recognizes the unique hardships facing Hawai`i’s rural areas in providing quality healthcare options is the subject of U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s new bipartisan legislation. H.R. 5592 would allow Hawai`i and Alaska to decide which areas of the state should be considered rural and, in turn, eligible for federal grants and programs dedicated to improve the healthcare services in rural areas. Alaska’s Republican Congressman Don Young is an original co-sponsor of the bill.
       The bill would allow Hawai`i and Alaska to make their own state-designated Frontier Areas. Currently, the federal government determines the areas based on a statistical model that does not take into account the unique geographical challenges facing Hawai`i and Alaska.
      “Hawai`i should be able to determine its own Frontier Areas because the current federal process doesn’t know or serve our communities, therefore negatively impacting the ability of our rural areas to qualify for certain federal assistance,” said Gabbard, who met with concerned rural community health leaders last month. “The problem with the federal standard is that it relies on population numbers and physical distances from urban areas without fully recognizing how long it can take to drive” to them. “The federal government cannot rely solely on numbers to understand the reality our island residents face.”
      In addition to allowing Hawai`i and Alaska to use state-approved definitions for rural areas, H.R. 5592 would also create another frontier category for other areas facing geographic remoteness that is not adequately reflected by simple distance and population figures.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pres. Obama has expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine
National Monument. Map from wikipedia
“THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS DEDICATED to protecting our environment for our future generations,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said regarding President Barack Obama’s proclamation expanding protections for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, creating the largest marine reserve in the world. The monument is a group of unorganized, mostly unincorporated United States Pacific Island territories managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service of the United States Department of the Interior. These remote refuges are “the most widespread collection of marine- and terrestrial-life protected areas on the planet under a single country's jurisdiction,” according to Wikipedia. They protect many endemic species including corals, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, seabirds, water birds, land birds, insects, and vegetation not found elsewhere. The area covers 490,000 square miles.
      “I commend the president’s recognitions of traditional fishing opportunities and expanded protections of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument,” Abercrombie said.
      “This action strikes a good balance between protecting our ocean resources, along with traditional and recreational fishing, since they are such an important part of Hawai`i’s unique history and culture.
      “As a kama`aina himself, the president shares our sincere respect and affinity for our precious ocean. This welcomed act will provide a gift to our keiki, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a healthy and thriving ocean ecosystem.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

VOLUNTEER ATTORNEYS ARE PLANNING a Ka`u Legal Clinic, and those in need of legal services can sign up now for free legal advice to low-income Ka`u residents. This will be an opportunity to get information on the following types of cases: 
  • Family Law – Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Paternity, Guardianships and Adoptions; 
  • District Court – Landlord-Tenant, Small Claims; 
  • Bankruptcy – Collections, Chapter Seven; 
  • Probate/Estate Planning – Wills and/or Trusts, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directives; and 
  • Native Hawaiian Rights – Water Rights, Trusts, Access Rights and Hawaiian Homelands. 
      Ka`u Legal Clinic is being planned for Saturday, Nov. 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Ka`u Rural Health Community Association’s Resource and Distance Learning Center, 96-3126 Puahala Street in Pahala.
      Interested residents must pre-qualify and pre-register to participate in this special service. Call 313-8210 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by Oct. 17.
      Registration forms are available at krhcai.com, okaukakou.org and vish.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IN TROJAN BOWLING, Lanni Ah Yee is holding an average score that ranks her in the top 20 varsity girls on the island, while Kathryn Padaray ranks in the top 30. In Trojan boys bowling, Cameron Enriques ranks in the top 15 islandwide, Travis Taylor, J-R Albos and Jamal Buyan rank in the top 25, and Trevor Taylor, Jacob Flores, Titan Ault and Kaweni Ibarra rank in the top 30.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u High Trojans host Kamehameha this evening.
Photo from Taylor's Treasures Photography
Drop-off is today and tomorrow for next
weeks Directory cover art show.
ARTISTS CAN REGISTER TODAY from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. for Ka`u Chamber of Commerce’s Art Show 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.

KA`U HIGH TROJANS EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL TEAM plays its final home game of the season today at 6:30 p.m., hosting Kamehameha-Hawai`i.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK waives entry fees to celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow.

Bob Herkes
SERVICES FOR THE LATE Rep. Bob Herkes are tomorrow at Dodo Mortuary Chapel in Hilo. Visitation is from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Celebration of Life begins at 11 a.m. Aloha attire is requested.

BOTANIST TIM TUNISON LEADS AN EXPLORATION of a pristine, species-rich, old-growth rain forest tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
      Participants visit Pu`u Maka`ala, a section of the Natural Area Reserve System just outside of Volcano Village, and habitats such as a rare Kilauea sedgeland bog that boasts a minimal amount of invasive species intrusion and an abundance of native fauna.
      Tuition is $50, and pre-registration is required. Call 967-8222 to sign up.

THE PACIFIC CRAFTS & CERAMIC SALE and yART Sale take place today from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.

KA`U CHAPTER OF HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED meets tomorrow at Na`alehu Community Center at 5 p.m. Statewide President Vince Mina will talk about his recent trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Farmer’s Union Fly-In event.
      Organizer Malian Lahey encourages gardeners and farmers to “bring your home-grown produce for the produce swap table. Drop off something and pick up something yummy that your neighbor is growing!”
      Rep. Richard Creagan will also answer questions from attendees.
      For more information, email Malian Lahey at malian@kauspecialtycoffee.com.


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