Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015

Kilauea is the hottest volcano on Earth, according to recently announced research. Photo by Peter Anderson
RANDY IWASE IS THE NEW CHAIR of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. Gov. David Ige appointed him after accepting Chair Hermina Morita’s resignation earlier this week.
Randy Iwase
      According to Ige’s office, Iwase’s expertise in this arena stems from his years as the Supervising Deputy Attorney General, whose division provided legal counsel to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and the Public Utilities Commission. He is also a former state legislator and former Honolulu city council member. Recently, he was Chair of the Hawai`i State Tax Review Commission.
      “Randy Iwase’s extensive experience makes him the right person to lead the Public Utilities Commission during this time of transition and transformation,” Ige said. “He has tackled tough issues in the past and has a strong record of commitment to the public. I know he will hold the regulated industries accountable to the people of Hawai`i.”
      Iwase earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his J.D. from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
      “I thank Gov. Ige for this opportunity to help resolve some of the most urgent issues of our time,” said Randy Iwase. “The state’s long-term success depends on the affordable and environmentally appropriate generation and distribution of energy. I’m eager to get to work.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Doug Chin
GOV. DAVID IGE ALSO NAMED DOUG CHIN, local attorney and former managing director for the City and County of Honolulu, as Attorney General. Chin served 12 years at the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney’s office. He is leaving his current post as managing partner at Carlsmith Ball to take the position. 
      “Doug Chin is a man of integrity who has the skills and experience to perform his duties as the state’s attorney general at the highest level,” Ige said. “He is able to defend the state in court, facilitate and negotiate agreements, manage a large department and communicate well. It’s rare to find someone who can do all those things.”
      Chin earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Stanford University and added a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai`i.
      “It’s an honor for me to join the administration and serve as the attorney general. This is an opportunity to solve problems, and I welcome it.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KILAUEA VOLCANO RANKS HOTTEST on Earth in terms of total energy, according to a study of 95 volcanoes in the period of 2000-2014. Robert Wright, of Hawai`i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, came to this conclusion based on data acquired by NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.
      Kilauea, which has been erupting for more than 30 years, spilled lava continuously throughout the study period. It made national headlines in Nov. 2014 when the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a disaster declaration for the area impacted by its recent lava flow.
      See http://earthsky.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u's state Sen. Russell Ruderman
is Chair of the Ag Committee.
WHILE KONA FARM BUREAU HAS STAYED out of the GMO issue, Ka`u Farm Bureau’s former president Chris Manfredi spoke and testified against GMO regulations and has taken that stance while lobbying the state Legislature for Hawai`i Farm Bureau and now as new statewide Hawai`i Farm Bureau President. 
      According to a story in West Hawai`i Today, Hawai`i Farm Bureau asked Rep. Richard Onishi, who represents East Ka`u, Volcano and Puna into Hilo, to sponsor a bill to “amend the state’s ‘right to farm’ law by stating local governments shall not enact laws restricting the ‘right of farmers and ranchers’ to use agriculture technology and other practices not prohibited by federal or state law.” Onishi is Vice Chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
      Senate Ag Committee Chair Russell Ruderman, who represents West Ka`u and Puna, told reporter Nancy Cook Lauer that “no progress will be made on the GMO issue per se” during the legislative session that opens Wednesday. While Ruderman supports GMO regulation and labeling, House Ag Chair Clift Tsuji last year was named a co-legislator of the year for his support of agriculture bioscience by the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
      “The overall issue of agriculture is something we agree on,” Ruderman said. “We’ll focus on the 80 percent of issues in the middle that are common goals.” Those issues include biosecurity, food safety, drought mediation and invasive species.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I HEALTH SYSTEMS CORP., which operates Ka`u Hospital and 12 other facilities statewide, has asked the state Legislature for $267 million over the next two fiscal years, reports Pacific Business News.
      HHSC CEO Dr. Linda Rosen said the increase for FY 2016 includes $80 million for collective bargaining costs, $35 million for fringe benefits and $30 for revenue loss due to new coding standards.
      HHSC is seeking $48 million in emergency appropriations for the current fiscal year to cover unfunded collective bargaining pay raises for the past two fiscal years. It was originally appropriated $82 million.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
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Sen. Josh Green
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN, M.D., Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, has scheduled an Informational Briefing on the health risks of pesticide exposure, particularly to children and other sensitive populations in Hawai`i. The briefing will be held in Room 414 of the State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. 
      “Exposure to pesticides has been linked to diseases from autism to cancer,” Green said, “and may be especially harmful to children and pregnant women, so it is very important for us to understand the risks of pesticide exposure to Hawai`i’s most sensitive populations if we are going to make the right decisions to protect them.”
      The Senate Health Committee will hear evidence presented by experts on public health, epidemiology and toxic exposure, including Michael J. DiBartolomeis, Chief of Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Program & California Safe Cosmetics Program for California Department of Public Health; Janie Shelton, researcher and epidemiologist at UC-Davis’ Department of Public Health; and Paul Towers, Organizing and Media Director for Pesticide Action Network North America.
      “Hawai`i’s children should be able to play outside without having their health put at risk,” Green said, “and we can provide them a safe and healthy environment to grow up in if we make the right choices now.” 
      Green is an emergency room doctor with 15 years of experience caring for families on Big Island, including at Ka`u Hospital.
      For more information, contact Green at 808-937-0991 or sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PARTICIPANTS DISCOVER THE HAWAIIAN goddesses, sisters Pele and Hi`iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent tomorrow 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. 

`O KA`U KAKOU’S SEVENTH ANNUAL Keiki Fishing Tournament & Canned Food Drive is a week from today on Saturday, Jan. 24 at Punalu`u Beach Park. Ages one to 14 check in between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for fishing from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. OKK provides poles, bait and free lunch. Registration is available at local schools and businesses.
      Call 217-2253 or 937-4773 for more information.

COMING UP TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY on Saturday, Jan. 31 is a jazz concert to support an afterschool music program at Ka`u Middle School. The school has a band room full of instruments that have not been used for years due to budget cuts. Through a grant to Volcano Art Center from the Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, Volcano Choy will begin teaching afterschool music classes this winter and spring.
      The jazz concert at Pahala Plantation House will help raise funds to restore the brass and woodwind instruments, to buy sheet music and cover other costs of the program. 
      The outdoor concert will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with food and drinks available for purchase. Suggested donation is $15. Donations may also be made directly to VAC. Call 967-8222.


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