Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014

Plantation-style and authentic century-old homes near Ka`u High School with sports-fishing boat and American flag on Christmas morning, a dusting of snow above them on Mauna Loa. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HOSPITAL AND ITS SISTER medical facilities in Hilo and Kona will go without additional funding, according to the new governor’s proposed 2015 budget. Hawai`i Health Systems Corp., the quasi-state organization that runs the hospitals, asked the Legislature for additional help in order to stave off layoffs and cuts in services. Without funding in the governor’s budget, it will be up to the Legislature to add any extra money for the coming fiscal year.
Poinsettia and Ka`u Coffee on Christmas morning at Jimmy and Lisa Dacalio's
farm on Volcano side of Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal
      West Ka`u Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Richard Creagan are the only two physicians in the Legislature and have promised to focus on helping the HHSC system. Proposals include a partnership with The Queens Medical Center or another locally owned health care delivery group.
      Referring to his proposed state budget, Ige said that funding for HHSC “is clearly less than what they are asking for… . It really is about getting new leadership on board … so fresh eyes will be looking at the challenge of providing quality health care in rural communities.”
     Ka`u Hospital has received funding for numerous upgrades and renovations during the last five years.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO SENT HOLIDAY GREETINGS and an update on her legislative agenda to her Ka`u constituents.
Snow over Norfolks on the slopes of Mauna Loa on Ka`u Christmas morning.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “Central to my concerns over the past few months has been the situation in Puna,” Hirono said. “The people there were first battered by Tropical Storm Iselle and have since been faced with a slow-moving but devastating lava flow. I have visited Puna a number of times since Iselle hit and have worked with our Congressional delegation, state, local and federal agencies to bring federal financial support for small businesses, farms and communities impacted by Iselle. This work is far from over, but we have made progress on opening Chain of Craters Road and other issues. Be assured that the work to support our neighbors in Puna will continue and I will fight as hard as I can to get the federal support necessary for recovery and rebuilding.
      “I have also been focused on hearing from and supporting Hawai`i’s servicemembers and veterans. In August I chaired a Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on the state of health care services for Hawai`i's veterans. You can learn more about that hearing here: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/press-releases/hirono-hears-from-hawaii-veterans-questions-va-officials-on-health-care-in-hawaii.
      “The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee that I serve on also worked on a major law to reform how health care is provided to veterans. This bipartisan bill, the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, was signed into law by President Obama on Aug. 7, 2014. The bill includes a number of important provisions for Hawai`i’s veterans that you can learn more about here: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/press-releases/hirono-attaches-key-wins-for-hawaii-in-bipartisan-veterans-deal.
Holiday greetings from U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono
      “I was also proud to chair a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Hawai`i that highlighted ways we can reduce domestic violence in Hawai`i through collaboration between the U.S. Departments of Defense and Justice, as well as state and local stakeholders in Hawai`i. You can find more information at http://www.hirono.senate.gov/news/hirono-headlines/senate-judiciary-hearing_accessing-support-how-the-violence-against-women-act-serves-hawaii-military-families-experiencing-domestic-violence.
      “In the closing weeks of the 113th Congress, the Senate approved several important bills including the National Defense Authorization Act, which sets federal defense policy each year. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I worked to include measures important to our national security in the Asia-Pacific region and Hawai`i’s servicemembers. More information is available here: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/press-releases/senator-hirono-secures-key-measures-for-hawaii-in-defense-authorization-.
      “Congress also approved legislation that funds the U.S. government through Sept, 30, 2015. While this bill supports important investments in education, transportation, housing, national defense and other key priorities, negotiators included provisions that make permanent and unnecessary changes to pension, financial reform and campaign finance laws. Congress is responsible for adequately funding the government each year, and the idea that a functional government can be held hostage in exchange for permanent changes that undermine the middle class is unacceptable to me, which is why I voted against the bill. This was a hard decision and a difficult vote, but ultimately I believe it was the right one for Hawai`i’s working families: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/press-releases/senator-hirono-stands-up-for-middle-class-families.
      “Finally, as we enjoy the holidays, please know that I will hit the ground running in January on behalf of Hawai`i’s families and communities. I am excited to begin work on several new committees, including the Senate Energy and Natural Resources, Intelligence and Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committees. These new assignments allow me to better serve Hawai`i. My continued work on the Senate Armed Services and Veterans’ Affairs Committees positions Hawai`i to have a strong voice in debates over national security, energy, and economic issues.”
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U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD ALSO SENT holiday greetings and an invitation on Congress’s opening day. “Wishing you and your `ohana a wonderful holiday and the very best in the New Year!” Gabbard said. “It’s been an honor to serve the people of Hawai`i and our country in Congress, and I look forward to serving you in the new term, which convenes on Jan. 6, 2015.
      “If you happen to be in our nation’s capital, I hope you’ll swing by our new office to share your aloha at an open house reception following the swearing-in ceremony on the House Floor.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY and the National Park Service at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park announce BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival, Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16, 2015. During the free event, teams of scientists, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, students and the public join forces to discover and inventory as many living plants and creatures as possible in the 333,086-acre national park. Expert-led inventory teams will be dispatched through the park to explore the biodiversity that thrives in recent lava flows and native rainforests from coastline to the summit of Kilauea volcano. Entrance fees are waived both days.
      Themed I ka nana no a `ike (by observing one learns), the park BioBlitz will be part scientific endeavor, part cultural festival and part outdoor classroom. It will provide a unique opportunity to work alongside leading experts to discover, count and document the living creatures in the park; to contribute to the park’s official species list; to explore interconnectedness of plants, animals, the environment, traditional people and our daily lives; and to help protect the biodiversity and rich culture found in the park.
Native `ohelo berries are found in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Photo from NPS
      The park is expanding its 35th annual Cultural Festival to include biodiversity in 2015. At the festival, visitors of all ages will discover how native Hawaiians, as keen observers, lived closely to the land by embodying I ka nana no a `ike principles that continue today. The festival will offer hands-on science and cultural exhibits, food, art and entertainment plus an opportunity to meet individuals and organizations at the forefront of conservation, science and traditional Hawaiian culture — and learn how to join their efforts.
      “Explorers” of all ages are needed. BioBlitz base camp and the Biodiversity & Cultural Festival will be located at the Kahua Hula overlooking Halema`uma`u Crater near Kilauea Visitors Center. All events are free and open to the public; however, advance online registration is required to secure a spot on a BioBlitz inventory team. The Biodiversity & Cultural Festival does not require advance registration. To learn more about the BioBlitz, see www.nationalgeographic.com/bioblitz or call 800-638-6400 ext. 6186. For more information about the park, see www.nps.gov/havo.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A short hike up Pu`u o Lokuana affords a wide view of lower Ka`u.
Photo from NPS
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park offers free outdoor activities this weekend. During Kahuku: Born from a Hotspot Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., participants learn about the birth of the islands from the Hawaiian hotspot and about past eruptions that impacted Kahuku. Visitors identify various pu`u (hills) and other volcanic features and learn about their formation.
      A moderately difficult, 0.4-mile hike to the top of Pu`u o Lokuana takes place Sunday, Dec. 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The grassy cinder cone features the formation and various uses of the hill over time and a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u.

A WEEK FROM TODAY, KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park follows up its Christmas Day brunch with a New Year’s Day brunch from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Fee for adults is $16.95; $9.50 for children 6-11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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