Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014


Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists stand on new lava behind older rocks that got thrown several yards during a methane explosion in front of the shrub at center. Photo from USGS/HVO
ADVANCING LOBES OF LAVA COULD MERGE with the flow front that has stalled 480 feet away from Pahoa Village Road, report Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists who are monitoring the distal end of the June 27th lava flow today. The lobes, at short distances behind the flow front, were moving at a rate of about 5.5 yards per hour yesterday evening.
Lava continues to ooze upslope of the flow
front in Pahoa. Photo from USGS/HVO
      At hvo.wr.usgs.gov, the scientists also reiterate the dangers of getting too close to the lava flow field, showing rocks as large as 1.5 feet in diameter that were thrown several yards by a methane explosion.
      CNN’s Martin Savidge interviewed students from Hawai`i Academy of Arts & Sciences, commending them for their idea of wrapping utility poles with insulating material and cinder to protect them when lava passes by.
      The HAAS students also are developing a program to offer guide service across hardened lava as a way for the public to travel on Pele’s pavement after it crosses roads.
      HAAS at one time considered opening a satellite school in Ka`u.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

WEST KA`U’S CANDIDATES FOR THE STATE HOUSE have final thoughts leading up to the General Election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
     REPUBLICAN DAVE BATEMAN told The Ka`u Calendar newspaper that his assessment after months of campaigning is that “we have many serious social, family, `ohana issues. We are still poverty-stricken. Seventeen percent of families of four are earning $24,000 or less, which, according to the federal government, is not sustainable income – poverty. Yet we are in the highest cost-of-living state in the U.S. We pay the highest state income taxes right behind New York and very high GE tax – also the highest energy cost by a factor of four,” said Bateman. “This compounds the financial plight of all our families.”
     Bateman contended that “65 percent of kids in North and South Kona down to Ocean View go to school hungry and get their two basic meals at school. On the south side of the island, from Na`alehu to Puna, 85 percent of the students go to school hungry,” he said. “This is totally unacceptable.”
     Bateman said his goals include working to improve agriculture. “My plan for all of Hawai`i is to replace 85 percent of food we import with food we produce here. ‘Grow Local. Buy Local.’ This is a $3 billion a year economy; we’ll keep the money here. Spin that once, that is $6 billion infused into the economy of the Big Island.”
Dave Bateman marched in Na`alehu's Fourth of July parade.
      The candidate said he wants to “keep the money in our pockets by cutting taxes. The effective rate of 8.5 percent should be 6.5 percent for most people. All of the personal income taxes should come down 20 percent. This will help small businesses that pay taxes through personal income.”
      Bateman said that regarding the General Excise Tax, he would like to eliminate taxes on food, medicines and medical supplies. He also said he would like to support farm-to-table buying by exempting the GE tax for the first sale of products off of ranches – meaning farm-to-consumer direct sales. He said he calls his proposal for agriculture the Hawai`i Agricultural Recovery Act.
     Regarding education, Bateman said he has talked to many teachers, “and they all like my idea of eliminating the only remaining vertical education system in the U.S. – to move education to local control at the county level so parents, teachers and principals can work together to determine what classes should be taught to local students.”
     For Ka`u and South Kona, he said, “There needs to be new education in agricultural sciences and businesses, two-year agricultural degrees.”
Dave Bateman  
     Bateman claimed he can help turn the economy around. “The current and past leadership has failed to do this. We are in serious financial straights.” He pointed to Republican legislative leader Sam Slom who “has predicted that by 2016, revenues to the state will be down $264 million through GET and income tax collection reductions. The solution is to increase new investments, but we can’t do that if we are the fiftieth state – least desirable place to do business. Overburdening and overtaxing businesses have led to the reputation.”
      Bateman also talked about legalizing marijuana, which he said he totally opposes. He said he served as a military attorney who prosecuted drug cases and is confident that marijuana is a gateway drug.
     Regarding the quasi-state Hawai`i Health Systems Corp., which runs Hilo, Ka`u and Kona hospitals, he said, “I believe we need to transition the state out of the health care business under the HHSC and bring in qualified, knowledgeable and experienced not-for-profit provider(s) who have the know-how and purchasing power to begin to turn around these deficits. There are at least two qualified care providers on O`ahu who could be a partner. We don’t need to reach out to out-of-state providers. I favor joining with a local private partner so all of the income generated by the new partner stays here in the state. Existing Hawai`i Government Employees Association (union) employees under HHSC would be vested to their earned state retirement plans. They will transition over to the new private partner and start with new retirement plans. This should help reduce the high labor cost factor.”
      Bateman declared that “the vision of the leadership over the last 50 years has been short-sighted and not helpful to improving quality of life for residents of Hawai`i. We need new vision, new direction, and we won’t get that unless we have new political and business vision at the state Capitol. I represent that vision and change for a new and better Hawai`i.”
      DEMOCRAT RICHARD CREAGAN, who currently holds the state House of Representatives seat for west Ka`u and South Kona, told The Ka`u Calendar newspaper that as a physician, he has been weighing in on the Ebola issue: “While it is unlikely that Ebola would come here from Africa, our state needs to be ready, and we should take this opportunity to improve our policies and our infrastructure.
Rep. Richard Creagan rode a patriotic truck in Na`alehu's Fourth of July parade.
      “One of the things we have to consider is that Ebola could be used by a bioterrorist organization. When I worked for the Health Department as a Bioterrorism Preparedness Epidemiological Investigator, one of the scenarios we reviewed was of a terrorist who was willing to die infecting him or herself with Ebola and then coming to America during the incubation period and then when they became sick spreading the virus around before they died.” 
     Creagan said he would like to see “better screening at airports, quarantine locations at airports (our new Kona airport fire station has such a quarantine room), and a unit set up at one of our major O`ahu hospitals to deal with infections caused by Biosafety Level-3 (BL-3) and Biosafety Level-4 (BL-4) diseases. We really have no dedicated unit that is properly set up for such emergencies. While our legal infrastructure and laws were strengthened during and after the SARS epidemic, we need to look at that again and improve its functionality.
     The candidate said that wastewater treatment is a big issue. “The proposed changes to the wastewater treatment rules are an egregious attempt by a lame-duck administration to ram through draconian measures that will hurt homeowners throughout Hawai`i, but especially on the Big Island (estimated 50,000 cesspools). At a recent gubernatorial forum in Kailua-Kona, all candidates asked that the Health Department defer any decisions or rule making until a new administration was in place.”
State Rep. Richard Creagan
     Creagan called for home rule on wastewater regulations. “I believe that Hawai`i Island is different enough geologically and demographically that we should be able to determine our own rules on this issue. This is another area where home rule is needed.”
     A second potable water well at Ocean View is an important goal, Creagan said. “I was able to have appropriated $725,000 to plan and do site development for a second well for Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. On Oct. 23 Loren Heck chaired a meeting of the ad hoc committee of volunteers who will develop a plan for this second well. I have discussed this with Quirino Antonio, the head of the Department of Water Supply, and he strongly supports this well and the community involvement and will be available to meet with the ad hoc committee. I have assurances from my House colleagues that funding to finish the well should be available when the planning is completed. The reality of the House with 44 out of 51 members being Democrats – it is extremely unlikely that a Republican could obtain funding for a project in his or her district. That is why there are (Republican) representatives and senators only on O`ahu, where CIP money is less important and religious issues such as gay marriage can predominate,” Creagan said. 
     Regarding truth in labeling in the coffee industry, Creagan said that “Brenda Ford achieved a stunning result with her coffee labeling resolution and has provided a clear mandate for the Legislature. It is of note that in the final hearing on that bill there were 17 testifiers in support, but only David Bateman testified against. He is of course supported by the coffee blenders. This is the clearest mandate to improve the labeling of all Hawai`i’s coffees, but it may be another issue that would be best decided on an island basis, i.e., the Legislature could within an overarching framework allow the counties to decide on laws for products from their respective islands. Hawai`i Island’s Kona and Ka`u coffees might benefit more from labeling protection than coffees from other islands.
A concert this Saturday honors the late Dennis Kamakahi.
      Concerning medical marijuana, Creagan stated, “It is likely that medical marijuana will be expanded in terms of the amounts that can be possessed, dispensaries and indications for its use in this Legislature. The issue of decriminalization will also be raised again. While I think it is perhaps premature to consider legalization because of possible unintended consequences, we will undoubtedly have informational briefs from Colorado and Washington people as we look at what they are doing, the problems and the possibilities for Hawai`i.
     See tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs for thoughts from Libertarian candidate Jon LaLanne.
     To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A CONCERT TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE of the late Dennis Kamakahi takes place this Saturday, Nov. 8 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. Dennis Kamakahi lost his battle with lung cancer on April 28 during a career in which he was famous for slack key, `ukulele, harmonica, singing and songwriting.
      Sponsored by the Center for Hawaiian Music Studies, the concert and kani ka pila with `ohana features John Keawe, Diana Aki, Martin Pahinui, Ben Ka`iwi, Dennis’ son David Kamakahi, Keoki Kahumoku, Peter deAquino, Kai Ho`opi`i, the Abrigo `Ohana, Katy Rexford, Rion Schmidt and more. Donations will be accepted.

HISTORIAN BOYD D. BOND DISCUSSES EVENTS that led to statehood for Hawai`i at After Dark in the Park Tuesday.
      The free program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support After Dark programs.


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