Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u New Briefs Friday, Jan. 16, 2015

Ka`u Natural Farming Workshop begins tomorrow and continues the next Saturday at Earth Matters Farm.

TWO MOTIONS HAVE BEEN FILED with Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission regarding NextEra Energy’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co.
      One motion made by a broad coalition of seven groups and two individuals asks the Commission “for a deferral of merger proceedings until the Public Utilities Commission defines Hawai`i’s energy needs and fashions a merger policy that defines the public interest.”
Life of the Land Director Henry Curtis
      The entities are Life of the Land, a 45-year-old statewide community action group; Big Island Community Coalition, a coalition composed of land owners and businesses on Hawai`i Island focused on making Big Island electricity rates the lowest in the state by emphasizing the use of local resources; Puna Pono Alliance, a community group supporting environmentally safe, culturally sensitive, economically viable, and sustainable energy alternatives for Hawai`i County; Friends of Lana`i, a group formed to give voice to the many residents who strongly oppose the building of an industrial wind power plant for O`ahu on Lana`i; Community Alliance on Prisons, a diverse coalition of community groups, churches, scholars, businesses and concerned community members working to improve the quality of justice in Hawai`i; Ka Lei Maile Ali`i Hawaiian Civic Club, which is dedicated to educating the community about Hawaiian history and has written a number of energy and land use resolutions which have been adopted by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs; I Aloha Moloka`i, a community group which opposes windmill farms on Moloka`i, opposes an undersea cable to either Moloka`i or Lana`i and is committed to seeking out viable renewable energy projects for the island of Moloka`i; Lynn Hamilton, a resident of Pahala; and Richard Mayer, a University of Hawai`i Maui College Economics/Geography Professor Emeritus.
      The other document was a petition filed by the five-member Clean Energy Groups: Blue Planet Foundation, Hawai`i PV Coalition, Hawai`i Solar Energy Association, Sierra Club represented by its counsel Earthjustice and The Alliance For Solar Choice represented by its counsel Keyes, Fox & Wiedman LLP.
      Their filing is an Application for Commission Action, Petition for Declaratory Order, and/or a petition for Rulemaking to fulfill the requirements of the Commission’s Orders and Inclinations on the future of Hawai`i’s electric utilities and define the public interest in Hawai`i as a prerequisite to considering any proposed acquisition of the HECO companies.”
      According to Life of the Land Director Henry Curtis, the PUC “now has on its plate two large issues: continuing to develop the utility plan of the future and the proposed merger.” The Commission could decide to do either one first or both simultaneously.
      “The plan should come before which entity will implement the plan,” Curtis said. “In addition, the Commission needs to update its guidance policy on mergers.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kathryn Matayoshi
PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS HAVE BEEN GIVEN a letter to take home to their parents as a reminder of the upcoming spring assessments for English language arts and math. 
      The new assessments, known as Smarter Balanced, are aligned to the Hawai`i Common Core standards implemented statewide at the start of the school year.
      The letter from Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi also included sample exercises explaining how students are being asked deeper questions that require critical thinking.
      “New expectations for student learning mean we need new ways to measure how our students are performing,” Matayoshi said. “These new tests measure not only what students know, but also how well they can apply their knowledge in real-world situations.”
      Smarter Balanced assessments will be administered beginning in March to students in grades three through eight and high school juniors to measure their reading, math, writing, listening, research and thinking skills. Hawai`i is a governing member of a multi-state consortium that has worked with teachers, parents and higher education faculty to develop the Smarter Balanced assessments.
      More than three million students across the consortium participated in the field test last year to ensure questions are valid, reliable and fair for all students.
      “While this is a step forward in our plans to raise student achievement, we expect the change to the new test will result in lower scores as compared to previous years,” said Matayoshi. “However, because it is a new test aligned to new standards, we will not be comparing the results to that of the old test. Results from this year are a new starting point for students.”
      The results also benefit teachers. The Smarter Balanced Assessment System offers information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are thriving and where they need help.
      A number of schools held Smarter Balanced parent nights with activities during the fall. The parent letter includes additional assessment examples and tips for helping with homework.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Mazie Hirono
U.S. SEN. MAZIE K. HIRONO HAS CO-INTRODUCED the Filipino Veterans Promise Act, a bipartisan bill that would help all Filipino World War II veterans receive benefits that they earned for their service to the United States. These veterans fought alongside Americans but were denied veterans’ benefits because they weren’t included on rosters that the United States later used to establish service. 
      “We have heard the stories of how numerous Filipino soldiers were afraid to record their names during World War II for fear the enemy would obtain roster lists and retaliate against them,” Hirono said. “This bill will provide Filipino World War II veterans a process to prove that they indeed served and are eligible for the benefits they’ve been promised. We must now work to ensure every surviving veteran who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American forces receives this well-earned benefit.”
      After World War II, the U.S. Army created the Approved Revised Reconstructed Guerilla Roster of 1948, also known as the Missouri List, based on individuals who came forward after the war to receive health care. This list has been used by the military to verify those who served alongside U.S. troops in the Philippines. It is possible that some Filipinos who fought were not added to this list and could be improperly denied benefits.

 The Filipino Veterans Promise Amendment would direct the Department of Defense, in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to establish a process for determining whether certain individuals meet the necessary service requirements to receive veterans’ benefits and subsequently be verified as a Veteran by the United States Army.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD IS ACCEPTING submissions from Hawai`i high school artists for the 2015 Congressional Art Competition, hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives. 
      “Every year, I’m impressed by the talent and creativity of Hawai`i’s young artists,” said Gabbard, who has hosted the Kaha Ki`i Art Competition for Hawai`i’s Second Congressional District since 2013. “The nationwide competition is a great platform for our students to showcase the beauty of the islands and our communities from their unique perspective, and the winning pieces will be on display for one year at the U.S. Capitol and in my Washington and Hawai`i offices for visitors to enjoy. I’m grateful to the fine arts educators who inspire our young artists every day and also encourage them to participate in activities like the Congressional Art Competition.”
      Submissions are due by Feb. 13. Semi-finalists will be announced Feb. 17, and Gabbard will announce the winning pieces at an awards ceremony on March 28 at the Hawai`i State Capitol.
     Interested applicants can find complete details regarding the competition at www.gabbard.house.gov or by calling 808-541-1986.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

KA`U NATURAL FARMING WORKSHOP is scheduled for the next two Saturdays, Jan 17 and 24, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Earth Matters Farm at South Point and Kama`oa Roads. Participants learn about creating soil health & nutritional food.
      $100 for both days includes garden lunch.
      Register at 939-7510.

A MUSHROOM CULTIVATION WORKSHOP takes place tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Fees are $40 for VAC members and $50 for non-members plus a $25 supply fee. Participants bring a bag lunch.
      Call 967-8222 to register.

Halau I Ka Leo Ola O Na Mamo Photo from Volcano Art Center
VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 2015 Hula Kahiko series begins on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. with a performance by Na kumu hula Pelehonuamea Harman and Kekoa Harman with Halau I ka Leo Ola o Na Mamo.
      The students of Halau I Ka Leo Ola O Na Mamo come from the Hawaiian language Immersion pre-school Punana Leo o Hilo, Hawaiian language immersion K-12 school Ke Kula `o Nawahiokalani`opu`u and Ka Haka `Ula `o Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language at UH-Hilo. For the past five years, their mission has been to perpetuate the Hawaiian language and culture through mele and hula. All classes are conducted in Hawaiian.
      This presentation is free and open to the public and will be presented authentically in an outdoor setting, rain or shine without electronic amplification at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Audience members are encouraged to bring sun/rain gear and sitting mats.
      Park entrance fees apply.

PARTICIPANTS DISCOVER THE HAWAIIAN goddesses, sisters Pele and Hi`iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Epic stories are depicted in the natural landscape on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. Free


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