Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Ka`u residents can learn how to use fungi to restore degraded landscapes when Zach Mermel presents Mushrooms in the Landscape today at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Photo from VAC
HAWAI`I COUNTY PROPERTY VALUES rose for the second year in a row. Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that values are three percent over last year and that they rose seven percent in 2014.
Mayor Billy Kenoi
Photo by Julia Neal
      According to Cook Lauer, the increases are allowing the county to put together a no-frills budget without having to increase property tax rates. County revenue from property tax bills will increase as values go up.
      “We are thankful that we have some increase,” Mayor Billy Kenoi told Cook Lauer. “A lot of that will go toward absorbing fixed costs.”
      Kenoi’s administration is finishing its draft budget to be submitted to County Council Friday, which has until June 30 to pass it or have it automatically go into effect July 1.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FOLLOWING THREE CONSECUTIVE record-breaking years, Hawai`i Tourism Authority anticipated that visitor arrivals and expenditures would begin flattening in 2015. In comparison to last January, arrivals dipped less than 4,000 visitors (-0.6 percent), and total expenditures dropped to $1.4 billion (-2.5 percent). These slight declines resulted from a reduction in international air seats (-0.9 percent) and the continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies in January.
      Despite softening travel from international markets, additional airlift from core U.S. markets (+9.2 percent) helped to maintain arrivals from the U.S. West (+3.9 percent) and U.S. East (+0.8 percent) markets in January. This included increased air capacity to the neighbor islands, which contributed to continual growth in arrivals and expenditures.
      HTA continues to engage its airline partners in co-op opportunities and discussions on maintaining and stimulating travel demand and distribution to all Hawaiian Islands, especially with current lower fuel costs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Apple Pay is coming to Bank
of Hawai`i debit card holders.
SOON KA`U BANK OF HAWAI`I CUSTOMERS will be able to use their bank-issued debit cards with Apple Pay.
 Customers using iPhone 6 can pay in stores without swiping cards and in apps without entering payment and contact information. A single touch of a finger using Touch ID completes the transaction.
 With Apple Pay, instead of using actual debit card numbers, when customers add their cards, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored. When they make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process payment. Actual debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.
      In addition, paying with Apple Pay is private, as cashiers never see customers’ names, card numbers or security codes.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO YESTERDAY JOINED Jose Diaz-Balart on MSNBC’s The Rundown to highlight her own immigration story and stress the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. 
Sen. Mazie Hirono discussed immigration on The Rundown yesterday.
Image from Office of Sen. Hirono
      “As an immigrant myself, my mother brought me to this country, escaping a terribly abusive marriage in Japan, and she had a vision for a better future for her children, and that is something that so many immigrants, millions of immigrants who came to this country and who are here now hope for also. So what I would like to see is comprehensive immigration reform, much like we passed in the Senate months and months ago.”
      Hirono also continued to urge the House and Senate to come together to pass a clean appropriations bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security before funding runs out at the end of this week.
      “We need to have both the House and the Senate vote on a clean bill because for the Senate to send a clean bill, and the House is just going to put back the kind of amendments that brought us to this particular situation, is not going to advance the dialogue. So, what we need to send, both the House and the Senate, is a clean bill for the President to sign. And then we need to debate and pass comprehensive immigration reform that we have been calling on the House to do for over a year. It is really the ball being in Speaker Boehner’s court right now.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is fighting proposed air travel fees. Gabbard yesterday testified before the House Committee on the Budget to state her opposition to a component of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that would increase air travel fees.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
      “The increased fee would have a major negative impact upon the residents who work and live in Hawai`i,” Gabbard said. “With no interisland railway, highway or ferry system, our residents have no other choice but to fly between islands. Air transportation is an essential lifeline for people in finding a job, starting a small business, going to see a doctor and visiting family and friends.
      “The doubling of the security fee has already had a noticeable impact. For example, the lowest base fare for flying from Honolulu to Maui is $54.33. The taxes and increased security fees escalate the price of the ticket by 25 percent. Another increase would only heighten the burden on our residents as they carry out the everyday responsibilities of life.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE FOR STATE COMMISSION on Water Resource Management is now accepting applications for one open position on the Commission. The Nominating Committee will review applications and send the names of not less than three qualified individuals to the governor, who will nominate one person for the vacant position. The term of the new appointee will begin upon the vacancy after the governor selects from the list of applicants.
      The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate. The term for this position will begin on July 1, 2015 and expire on June 30, 2019.
      The Commission has jurisdiction and final authority over matters relating to the State Water Code (Hawai`i Revised Statutes Chapter 174C). The governor appoints five of the seven members through the Nominating Committee. The Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources serves as the Chairperson of the Water Commission, and the Director of the Department of Health serves as an ex-officio voting member.
      State law requires that each member have “substantial experience in the area of water resource management.” Commission members serve a four-year term without pay, although certain expenses such as travel are reimbursed. Applications and resumes may be sent to Nominating Committee 
Commission on Water Resource Management, 
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 227 
Honolulu, HI 96813
      Applications should be postmarked no later than Tuesday, March 17.
      Applicants will be interviewed between March 23 and March 31.
      To apply online, visit the Hawai`i Boards and Commissions website at http://boards.hawaii.gov/apply/apply-for-a-board/. More information may be found on the Commission’s website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/aboutus/commission/.

Kumu Hula Ab Valencia
Photo by Dino Morrow
HAWAI`I ISLAND MYCOLOGIST ZACH MERMEL presents Mushrooms in the Landscape today at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Nialani Campus in Volcano Village. Mermel discusses how to use fungi to restore degraded environments. The lecture is free, and donations are appreciated.

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park presents hula kahiko Saturday. Na Mea Hula with Kumu Hula Ab Valencia and members of Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu perform at 9:30 a.m., and Kumu hula Manaiakalani Kalua with Akaunu begin at 10:30 a.m.
      Typically held on the third or fourth Saturday of each month, hula halau from across Hawai`i have been invited to perform in a one-of-a-kind outdoor setting at the kahua hula (platform) near the gallery. This special site was realized through the vision of the late Edith Kanaka`ole, kumu hula of Halau o Kekuhi.
      The kahua hula is located a short walking distance from the gallery in an area known as Ka`auea. This sacred spot affords the kumu (master) and haumana (student) a pristine view into Halema`uma`u, the home of volcanic deity Pelehonuamea.
      See volcanoartcenter.org.


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

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