Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs June 26, 2013

DLNR asks boaters to notify authorities if they see a dead whale floating at sea so that it can be taken care of before washing onto shore. This sperm whale found between Honu`apo and South Point in March is not the first to wash
up in the last year. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service are asking boaters to notify authorities immediately if they see a dead whale floating at sea. Each year, approximately one to four sperm whale carcasses drift ashore in Hawai`i, particularly in May and August, according to DLNR.
      Data also suggests sperm whales are coming into Hawaiian waters from east and north directions, which results in most carcasses landing on the windward side of islands.
      “Early reporting allows us to locate, then tow a floating carcass away from the islands. This is often much easier and less expensive than removing it once it comes aground on a shoreline or reef,” said David Schofield, NOAA’s Regional Marine Mammal Health and Response Program manager. “We know that sperm whales are the deepest diving and one of the largest ranging of all cetaceans, but we still don’t know why we see these stranding peaks in the summer. It could have something to do with migration patterns, but scientists still have a lot to learn.”
      To report a floating whale or any marine mammal incident, call USCG channel 16 or NOAA’s marine mammal hotline at 1-888-256-9840.

Sen. Josh Green
GOV. ABERCROMBIE HAS SIGNED TWO BILLS to improve Hawai`i’s 13-year-old medical marijuana program – the first updates to pass the Legislature since the program began. 
      HB 668 CD1 moves oversight of the program from the Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division and to the Department of Health. HB 668 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, giving time for the transition between departments to occur.
     SB 642 CD1, co-introduced by Ka`u’s Senators Josh Green and Russell Ruderman, among others, increases the amount of medical marijuana a patient or caregiver can grow and possess. Lawmakers also added a provision requiring that only a patient’s primary care physician can certify them for eligibility, but later clarified that people covered in the federal system and those seeing specialist physicians will still have access to Hawai`i’s medical marijuana program. This measure also takes effect in 2015 – one day later than HB 688.
      Local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawai`i voters between Nov. 19 and Dec. 4, 2012.
      Among its findings:
  • 81 percent of Hawai`i voters support access to medical marijuana by sick and dying people under a doctor’s care; 
  • 78 percent of Hawai`i voters support a dispensary system for medical marijuana. 
      Pam Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group, said, “The emergence of legislative champions for medical marijuana like Sens. Will Espero and Josh Green and Rep. Della Au Belatti shows that lawmakers recognize the broad public support among voters. We look forward to working with the 2014 Legislature to establish state-regulated dispensaries and to make additional patient-centered improvements to the Hawai`i program.”

Gov. Abercrombie has signed a bill empowering county fire chiefs to
enforce fire codes. Photo from Office of the Governor
GOV. ABERCROMBIE HAS ALSO ENACTED SIX BILLS relating to issues that range from regulation of Professional Employer Organizations to the Hawai`i State Fire Code. 
      The governor released the following statements regarding these measures passed by the 2013 Hawai`i State Legislature:
      Regarding HB144 (Relating to Professional Employer Organizations): “A result of collaboration involving the industry, state legislators, and this administration, HB144 represents consensus on regulating Professional Employer Organizations, or PEOs, moving forward.”
      Regarding SB1077 (Relating to the Owner-Building Exemption): “SB1077 clarifies the owner-building exemption to ensure that it is used in accordance with its intended purpose. Many owners have been learning too late the risks and responsibilities they are assuming after being advised to obtain an owner-builder permit in order to hire or contract with an unlicensed person. This bill addresses this loophole used by those who have been trying to skirt the law.”
      Regarding HB668 (Relating to Health) and SB642 (Relating to Health): “HB668 rightly frames marijuana as a health issue, and SB642 acknowledges that it is the role of competent physicians and medical personnel to decide the best course of action with regard to the use of any measure to relieve pain or advance healing.”

      Regarding SB682 (Relating to Fire Protection): “The existing fire statute hasn’t been touched in over 30 years. Since then, building occupancies and classifications have changed. This bill further empowers county fire chiefs to enforce the fire code in their counties, which improves safety throughout our state.”
      Regarding SB680 (Relating to Homeland Security): “Long-overdue, this bill modernizes state statutes regarding Civil Defense and homeland security in light of federal changes. It aligns state and federal best practices.”
      Since it may take a few days for the state Legislature to post new acts on its “Acts” webpage, the Office of the Governor provides a list of most recently signed bills at governor.hawaii.gov (click on “Recently Signed Bills”). Bills are removed from this page once they are posted on the Legislature site, capitol.hawaii.gov.

Dr. Linda-Jane Irwin, at right, with HILT representative
Janet Britt. Photo by Tim Britt 
DR. LINDA-JANE IRWIN HAS DONATED a perpetual conservation easement of over 32,000 square feet of her property located along Wright Road in Volcano to Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. This small parcel is part of a larger effort by HILT and community members in Volcano to protect kipuka, or small oases of intact forest canopy in an area that is increasingly being developed. These oases provide green corridors for birds, butterflies and other insects to use while moving around the forest and onto adjacent protected lands such as Hawai`i Volcano National Park, Kahauale`a Natural Area and Ola`a Forest Reserve. Irwin’s donation brings the total number of conservation easements secured by HILT in its Kipuka Mosaic Project to four. 
      Hawaiian Islands Land Trust has been working with a group of landowners to preserve as much of the forest canopy as possible for the use of native birds and other species that move back and forth along the flank of Mauna Loa. The Kipuka Mosaic Project is a grassroots conservation initiative that has brought together many small landowners, professional resource managers and HILT to help ensure the survival of rare flora and fauna, especially native birds, along the southern flanks of the massive Mauna Loa Volcano. Data indicate the presence of native Hawaiian birds including the endangered `apapane and `oma`o, as well as the more common birds such as amakihi, `elepaio and `io, the Hawaiian Hawk. Three large protected areas – Hawai`i Volcano National Park, Kahauale`a Natural Area preserve and the Ola’a Forest Reserve – are divided by huge and partially undeveloped subdivisions that have the potential to fragment the connections between these important protected areas. HILT’s Kipuka Mosaic Project aims to secure numerous conservation easements within these potentially fragmenting subdivisions that will help provide a continuum of habitat for native and endemic flora and fauna.
      Regarding the conservation transaction, Irwin stated, “When I purchased the property next to my home in 2004, I immediately knew that this wonderful native `ohi`a forest should be preserved in perpetuity. Finally, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust’s Kipuka Mosaic Project has become a reality, and I am delighted to add my parcel to this beautifully conceived idea.”
      Ted Clement, HILT’s executive director, said, “On behalf of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I want to thank Linda-Jane Irwin for helping us create lasting good by adding another perpetual green patch to our conservation quilt.” Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the first nationally accredited land trust in Hawai`i, has conserved over 17,500 acres to date. To learn more, see hilt.org.

AIKIDO AT PAHALA COMMUNITY CENTER is a new class being offered by Alan Moores at 7 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. The family class is for individuals from six years of age through adult. About 14 people have joined, and the instructor said that he will create two classes if the group grows much larger . Moores said Aikido is called “the Art of Peace.” Aikido means “the way of harmony.” The goal is to defend oneself with the least harm to the aggressor. For more information, call Moores at 928-0919 or contact him at artbyalan2011@gmail.com.

LOW-INCOME FAMILES can sign up for assistance in paying their electric bills Friday at the Old Pahala Clubhouse on Maile Street from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Residents can also sign up Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hawai`i Economic Opportunity Council office in Na`alehu office behind the Community Center.

Hawai`i County Band will again march in Na`alehu's Independence Day
Parade Saturday. Photo by Peter Anderson
NA`ALEHU FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION is Saturday. The parade starts at Na`alehu Elementary School at 11 a.m. Before the parade, free pancake breakfast takes place at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. 
      Following the parade, `O Ka`u Kakou will sponsor keiki activities at Na`alehu Park with a water slide, bouncy apparatus and climbing wall. Free hot dogs and shave ice will also be distributed at the park. Music and kani ka pila will entertain participants. Seniors can enjoy a free lunch at the Na`alehu Community Center, which will be followed by senior bingo and prizes.
      Assembly of God church also offers free hot dogs, chili and a concert after the parade.
      Businesses, organizations, and individuals who wish to participate in the parade or donate can call Debra McIntosh at 929-9872. Two prizes will be awarded for the most creative entry and the most patriotic entry. To be eligible to win, entries must be received by Friday.



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