Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015

The rim of Kilauea Volcano's summit caldera, normally clear on trade-wind days, becomes nearly obscured by vog on some non-trade-wind days. Ka`u residents can participate in a vog study by International Volcanic Health Hazards Network in association with Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Photos from USGS
HAWAIIAN TELCOM RESTORED SERVICE to customers from Pahala to Waikoloa who could not make phone calls or access the Internet for nearly 6.5 hours yesterday. At about 1 p.m., alarms triggered in Hawaiian Telcom’s 24/7 Network Operations Center, indicating a service issue in Kona. Upon further investigation, a fiber break was discovered on Mamalahoa Highway near the intersection to Daniel K. Inouye Hwy. A contractor transporting a grader snagged and severed a 36-strand fiber cable.
      The outage affected approximately 20,000 phone and 5,500 Internet customers, Corporate Communications Executive Director Su Shin reported. Some wireless carriers were also impacted.
      Hawaiian Telcom teams from both Hilo and Kona engaged in a restoration plan that required placing more than 500 feet of cable and 72 individual splices.
      Technicians completed splicing cable and restored all services to impacted customers just before 7:30 p.m.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Josh Green, M.D.
HAWAI`I’S SENATE HEALTH COMMITTEE has advanced a bill that would help Ka`u’s Marshallese community pay for health care. Ka`u’s Sens. Josh Green and Russell Ruderman were two introducers of SB 1327 in response to new state rules that eliminate Medicaid coverage for low-income people who aren’t citizens. 
      Due to federal welfare reform in 1996, certain noncitizens, though lawfully present in the United States, were made ineligible for Medicaid. This ineligibility standard covers Hawai`i residents who are present in the state under respective Compacts of Free Association that the United States has with the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands and Republic of Palau.
      The state recently decided to end Medicaid coverage for most of these migrants and to enroll them in health insurance through Hawai`i Health Connector. This switch means that the federal government, and not the state, will primarily cover the costs of health insurance, saving the state an estimated $27,000,000 per year.
      SB 1327 requires the state to pay costs, including premiums, copays and deductibles, assessed on low-income Compacts of Free Association residents and other lawfully present legal permanent residents who receive health care through Hawai`i Health Connector and would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid except for their citizenship status. It also requires the Department of Human Services to engage in community outreach.
      According to an Associated Press story in West Hawai`i Today by Cathy Bussewitz, Ka`u’s Sen. Josh Green, M.D., chair of the Senate Health Committee, said, “I’ve known for a long time how important it is to provide this care. This is an important piece of legislation because we already have a commitment to those individuals from the compact free states to take care of them. Period.”
      Under current emergency rules, noncitizens who are not aged, blind or disabled and who are currently receiving state-funded medical assistance will continue to receive this assistance through Feb. 28.
      To avoid a gap in coverage and obtain health insurance beginning March 1, those people are required to choose a health plan through Hawai`i Health Connector by Feb. 15.

      For more information and to provide testimony, see capitol.hawaii.gov.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ashton Carter
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO, RANKING MEMBER of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Seapower and member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, has voted to confirm Ashton Carter to be next Secretary of Defense. She questioned Carter during an Armed Services Committee hearing and previous meeting with the nominee. 
      “Ashton Carter’s wealth of experience and institutional knowledge will serve him well as he steps into his new role,” Hirono said.
      “As the nation rebalances to the Asia-Pacific, I will continue to remind our leaders, including Dr. Carter, that Hawai`i holds strategic importance for our force structure in the Pacific. Additionally, I will continue to stress to Dr. Carter and my colleagues in the Senate that we should eliminate the sequester, which has negatively impacted our military’s readiness and therefore impacted the overall effectiveness of our military.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE reported that no one was injured when a car ran off the highway and broke a utility pole near Ka`u Police Station Tuesday. The road remained open while crews replaced the pole.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

INTERESTED KA`U FARMERS AND RANCHERS can attend an energy workshop next week hosted by USDA Rural Development in partnership with Hawai`i County. The primary focus is to notify rural small businesses and agricultural producers of renewable energy loan and grant opportunities and to review new application requirements. Topics to be covered include eligibility requirements, application information and tips for submitting a better proposal. This program does not allow residential use.
      The workshop will be held in the Liquor Conference Room at West Hawai`i Civic Center Wednesday, Feb. 18 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
      For an accurate count on handouts, RSVP to Denise Oda, Business Programs Specialist, at 808-933-8323 or denise.oda@hi.usda.gov.
      More information on the Rural Energy for America Program can be found at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers more than 150 miles of trails,
including Sulphur Banks. Photo from NPS
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN CELEBRATE Presidents Day Weekend with free admission to 
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. All fee-charging national parks will offer free admission from Saturday through Monday. The National Park Service will also waive admission fees on five additional days in 2015 – Apr. 18 and 19 (the first weekend of National Park Week), Aug. 25 (the National Park Service’s 99th birthday), Sept. 26 (National Public Lands Day), and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day). 
      An additional fee-free weekend will be offered at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park May 15-16 for the BioBlitz and Biodiversity & Cultural Festival. During this two-day event hosted by National Geographic and the National Park Service, teams of scientists, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, students and the public will join forces to discover, document and celebrate the biodiversity and culture of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      Hawai`i Volcanoes is one of five national park units on the island of Hawai`i. Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park is also free of charge on fee-free 2015 dates. Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park and Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail do not charge entrance fees.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Charlene Asato
KA`U HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS hosted Honoka`a yesterday. Varsity led at halftime, but Honoka`a rallied in the second half to beat the Trojans by eight points. Final score was 56-64. 
Brian Gascon scored half of Ka`u’s points.
      Junior varsity also lost, 37-46. Kaliikupapalani Aipia-Dolan scored 17 points.
      The Trojans play more games at home tomorrow against St. Joseph’s.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U SCENIC BYWAY COMMITTEE meets today at 5 p.m. at Na`alehu Methodist Church. Public is invited. Email richmorrow@alohabroadband.net for more information.

BOOKBINDING BASICS IS THE TOPIC of a workshop Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. $42 members; $45 nonmembers. Register at 967-8222 or volcanoartcenter.org

KA`U RESIDENTS ARE INVITED to participate in a vog focus group Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Library. Host Claire Horwell, director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, is studying how people cope with volcanic emissions. To sign up, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/421925067973152/ or call 808-967-8809.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf or

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