Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015

Ka`u residents may be able to see the International Space Station as it passes over Hawai`i tonight. NASA photo from Wikipedia
HAWAI`I FARMERS UNION UNITED has announced bills it supports in the current state legislative session. Vice President and Legislative Committee Chairman Simon Russell asks the public to testify on the bills.
      HB 509 would create a classification of agricultural public lands entitled “taro lands.” It would appropriate funds to the Board of Land and Natural Resources to create an inventory of lands classified as such.
      HB 627 would establish the Hawai`i farm-to-school program and appropriate funds for two farm-to-school coordinator positions.
      HB 850 would appropriate moneys for critical positions in University of Hawai`i’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Cooperative Extension Service.
      HFUU opposes HB 849, which would amend Hawai`i’s Right to Farm Act to ensure that counties cannot enact laws, ordinances or resolutions to limit rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in agricultural practices.
      More information about the legislation and how to testify is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Interim DLNR Chair Carty Chang
IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY AND RISKS LIVES to rescue people, and state Department of Land & Natural Resources is sending out a warning. The agency has cited two hikers who were lost in the state Kahauale`a Natural Area Reserve overnight while returning from a hike to Pu`u `O`o Crater. Division of Conservation & Resources Enforcement officers said the hikers were rescued by Hawai`i County Fire Department after spending the night in the NAR. 
      A 23-year-old man from Maryland and a 24-year-old man from Pahoa received citations from DLNR officers for entering into a closed area. They must now appear in Hilo District Court. The violations are misdemeanor offenses punishable by a fine and/or one year in prison.
      DLNR closed Kahauale`a Natural Area July 2007 due to hazardous and unsafe conditions caused by volcanic activity. The closure was extended to July 2015 and may be continued as long as unsafe conditions persist.
      “Entering into closed areas is a serious offense that unnecessarily risks lives and places rescuers in jeopardy,” said Carty S. Chang, Interim DLNR Chairperson. “DLNR will enforce these closures and take enforcement action on violators,” Chang added. After receiving citations, the two hikers were released.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Bobby Jean Leithead Todd
HAWAI`I COUNTY’S DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT is stepping up efforts toward recycling of green waste. Revenue from a new tipping fee for businesses will help finance expansion of green waste recycling services across the island. 
      The county will begin charging the new fee on March 1 to businesses that deposit green waste at recycling facilities in Pu`uanahulu and Hilo. The fee will not affect individual residents or homeowners, who will continue to be allowed to drop off residential green waste free of charge at seven locations around the island.
      The county currently pays more than $1.6 million a year to recycle green waste into mulch that is distributed free to the community, and consumers across the island are asking for more recycling opportunities closer to home.
      The new tipping fee is expected to raise more than $500,000 a year to help finance an expansion of organics recycling services islandwide, including establishing new green waste recycling locations at additional transfer stations.
      “Adding new green waste drop-off and recycling locations at additional transfer stations will help us to divert more organics from our waste stream and will extend the life of our landfills,” said Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, director of the Department of Environmental Management. “Our residents have been asking for more recycling opportunities, and we feel the timing is right to launch this initiative.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pres. Obama's budget includes increased funding for Mauna Loa Observatory.
Photo by Mary Miller from NOAA 
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S RECENTLY announced Fiscal Year 2016 budget contains funding for important initiatives for Hawai`i. 
  • $444 million for military construction projects in Hawai`i. 
  • $70.2 billion in funding for the Veterans Administration, a $5.1 billion increase from last year. 
  • $33 million for Native Hawaiian Education Program, a $1 million increase from last year. 
  • $12.8 million for Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions of Higher Education. 
  • $3.1 million for Asian-American and Native American-Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. 
  • $12 million for Native Hawaiian Health Care. 
  • $1.5 billion in funding for community health centers, including 14 in Hawai`i. 
  • $14.7 million to support operations at two Tsunami Warning Centers including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, targeted research and development and international coordination activities. 
  • $10.2 million, an increase of $3 million from last year, to support and maintain 50-plus years of sustained observations and research at NOAA’s six Atmospheric Baseline Observatories, including Mauna Loa Observatory. 
  • $286 million to protect plant health, including an increase of $2 million for the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection program to provide the necessary staffing, canine teams and equipment replacement needed to adequately inspect baggage bound for the continental U.S. from Hawai`i and Puerto Rico. 
  • $2.5 million for Hawai`i energy programs including the State Energy Program, Weatherization Assistance and energy research programs. 
  • $42 million to support the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium, which includes the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawai`i. 
  • $4.5 million to support an inventory of life-saving and life-sustaining commodities and equipment such as cots, blankets, emergency meals, bottled water and other items for disaster response purposes at the nine distribution centers across the U.S., including one in Hawai`i. 
  • $2 million for Small Business Administration outreach to Native American communities, including Native Hawaiian Organizations. 
      “Many of the priorities laid out in the President’s budget reflect a commitment to stand on the side of middle class families, with key investments in research and innovation, early and higher education, national security, military construction, veterans and infrastructure,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said. “These will help create jobs and accelerate economic growth while the reforms to our broken tax system will make sure everyone pays their fair share.
Sen. Mazie Hirono
Sen. Brian Schatz
      “As a member of armed services and intelligence, I continue to advocate for Hawai`i’s major role in the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific. The budget also includes projects and priorities to support a sustainable future in Hawai`i and across the country, like Hawai`i’s ‘Islands Forests at Risk’ Collaborative Landscape, which will provide crucial protection of native species and their habitats and is the first time Hawai`i’s application has ranked in the top three proposals to receive current and permanent funding. I look forward to working with the delegation to ensure these priorities are funded.”
      Sen. Brian Schatz said, “The President’s budget proposal lays out a clear path forward to ensure that our economy continues its recovery and that our economic priorities are focused on strengthening and expanding the middle class. I am pleased that the President has made clear that we should put an end to the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration and invest in research and development, a strong national defense, education and our nation’s infrastructure.
      “The budget proposal creates a fairer tax system by ending some tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent in order to provide more resources for middle-class workers and their families, clean energy programs, and investments in education programs like universal pre-K and affordable community college. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the appropriations committee to protect Hawai`i’s priorities and build a stronger economy for our middle class.”
Ka`u residents can sign up for Saturday's Ka`u Coast Cleanup.
Photo from HWF
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A KA`U COAST CLEANUP TAKES PLACE Saturday. Volunteers meet Hawai`i Wildlife Fund staff members at 7:45 a.m. at Wai`ohinu Park to carpool/caravan to Pa`ula/Lepana on the Kalaemano property. Sign up with coordinator Megan Lamson at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or 769-7629.

THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION passes over Hawai`i this evening, rising in the southwest at 6:54 p.m. and moving to the right. It will pass above Venus and Mars at 6:56 p.m.

The theme of Volcano Art Center's annual fundraiser is
Abracadabra: The Magic of Art.
VOLCANO ART CENTER’S ANNUAL FUNDRAISER Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village features silent and live auctions, entertainment, gourmet food, handmade confections, fine wine and champagne. Proceeds help develop future community art education and enrichment programs. $55 members; $65 nonmembers. Tickets are available at Niaulani Campus, VAC Gallery, Banyan Gallery and The Most Irresistible Shop in Hilo. 967-8222 or volcanoartcenter.org.


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