Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Stan Kaina and friends present an evening of hula and Hawaiian music tomorrow at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Photo from NPS
KA`U’S SEN. JOSH GREEN TOLD Dan Nakaso, of Honolulu Star-Advertiser, that he received more than 1,000 phone calls, texts and emails last weekend in opposition to Gov. David Ige’s choice of Carleton Ching to head the state Department of Land & Natural Resources.
Sen. Josh Green
      “Only one individual, a conservative from Kona, asked me to support the nominee,” Green said. “I’m very fond of Gov. Ige, but this threatens to shatter the public trust in his decision-making by putting a lobbyist developer as the head of DLNR. That is why I hope against hope that he’ll find a different position for this gentleman.”
      According to Nakaso, the Senate will not let a vote occur on the nomination until approval is assured. “They’re counting the votes right now,” political analyst and MidWeek columnist Dan Boylan told him. “You bet there’s strong-arming going on. I’m not sure Ching would go forward if they weren’t pretty certain they had the votes.” 
      Boylan said, “David appointed this guy. He will not sell him out for political capital. He’ll stick with the guy and go down with the guy if need be. David’s boring. He’s got no charisma. But he does believe in heart, and he believes in people being good people. Somewhere along the line he decided that Carleton Ching is a good guy.”
      A vote is expected later this week.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Current seismic activity in the area of the great crack is similar
to past earthquake swarms. Map from HVO
SIX EARTHQUAKES HAVE OCCURRED in the past two days in the vicinity of the Great Crack, approximately six miles northeast of Pahala on the makai side of Hwy 11 toward Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reports that seismicity levels in the area of Kilauea’s Southwest Rift Zone are similar to past swarms in the same location. 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE has released a Request for Proposals for its Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for fiscal year 2015. Total funding available is approximately $350,000, with awards ranging from $10,000 to $40,000. The 24-month project period begins on or before Jan. 1, 2016 and continues to Dec. 30, 2017. Matching funds are not required but are calculated into scoring criteria.
      Preference will be given to projects that increase production and/or consumption of specialty crops, foster development of fledgling crops, support organic programs for Hawai`i specialty crop farmers and include priority categories.
      The deadline is May 1. A link to RFP is at http://spo3.hawaii.gov/notices/notices/rfp-15-01-add/getfile?filename=rfp_scbgp-fb_fy-2015_hi.pdf.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

IN RESPONSE TO DIFFICULTIES encountered by citizens and media seeking public records, the Grassroot Institute is launching OpenHawaii.org, a site dedicated to providing access to hard-to-obtain government data for the purpose of holding government accountable. 
      At the roll-out of the website, Grassroot President Kelii Akina said, “While Hawai`i has fine sunshine laws, government agencies often make it hard for the public to get the information they need. OpenHawaii.org will now make it possible for citizens to hold government accountable by seeing exactly how tax dollars are being spent. Grassroot Institute is pleased to offer this as an independent public service to fulfill our role as a watchdog and educational resource.”
      While the website will eventually make available records from any government department, its premiere will feature county and state salary and overtime records, as well as retirement, health insurance, budgetary and other data.
      Records show that police and fire departments spend the most on overtime across the state as well as on pensions and benefits.
“This data is critical to understanding the crisis in pension costs and unfunded liabilities currently faced by the state,” Akina said.
      In the future, OpenHawai.org will include additional government data including budgetary information, sunshine meeting information, department audits and more salary, overtime and pension information.
      See new.grassrootinstitute.org and openhawaii.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard meets with officials of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Photo from Office of Rep. Gabbard
CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD MET with the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government High Council of Women’s Affairs and Director General and discussed the importance of supporting and aiding the peshmerga as an ally against Islamic extremist terrorists, particularly ISIS. 
      Ms. Pakshan Zangana is a Kurdish politician who serves as the President of the High Council of Women’s Affairs in the Kurdish Regional Government – Iraq. Previously, she was head of the Women’s Committee in Kurdistan Parliament and a member of the Women’s League’s secretariat. In 2005, she was part of the Kurdish List delegation to support the writing of Iraq’s Constitution. Zangana was born in Suleimaniyah. She joined the Peshmerga in 1980s. She later earned a degree in physics before going on to get her master’s in social science. 

      Before joining the KRG, Ms. Florin Gorgis, now Director General of the KRG High Council of Women Affairs, worked for Andorra International, Newroz Telecom and Ishtar Broadcasting Corporation. She has also worked for UNICEF and participated in numerous UN workshops and training programs. A native Assyrian Christian speaker, she also speaks Kurdish, English, Arabic and French. Born in Diana, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, she studied English at the University of Salahaddin and completed an executive program at the Maastricht School of Management in 2012 in the Netherlands.
      “It was an honor to hear from these brave women who are fighting for their lives, their families and their freedom against ISIS,” Gabbard said. “These women are resilient and courageous and are working on the front lines to keep their home safe and secure. The United States must take action and become a true partner by providing the necessary military aid directly to the Kurdish peshmerga.”
      The KRG of Iraq’s High Council on Women’s Affairs was established in 2009 by the KRG Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister heads the Council, which includes six Ministries: Interior, Finance, Justice, Culture & Youth, Labor & Social Affairs and Education. The High Council on Women’s Affairs has been particularly active in light of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and Syria with the rise of violent extremism such as ISIS, where many thousands of women have been subjected to persecution, violence, slavery and extortion. 

      Zangana and Gorgis also attended the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U BOYS VARSITY VOLLEYBALL TEAM’S record is now 2-1, following a loss to Hilo yesterday. Scores were 23-25, 12-25 and 11-25. JV also lost, 0-2. Ka`u volleyball fans can participate when Ka`u hosts Kohala tomorrow at 6 p.m.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers a St. Patrick’s Day Buffet today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Lava Lounge presents the Whirlijigs Irish Dance Troupe and music from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356

KA`U RESIDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE in Hawai`i County Council’s meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Videoconferencing is available at Ocean View Community Center. The meeting is also live-streamed at hawaiicounty.gov. Click on Council Meetings.

Vendor spaces are available for next month's fundraiser bazaar.
Photo from Debbie Wong Yuen
AN EVENING OF HULA AND HAWAIIAN MUSIC takes place tomorrow from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The evening features Stan Kaina, Leo Nahenahe o Pohai Kealoha and dancers from Kumu Hula Ab Valencia’s Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

KAUAHA`AO CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH in Wai`ohinu holds a fundraising bazaar on Saturday, April 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and invites individuals, school and sports groups to be vendors at the flea market. The Church is located at the corner of Hwy 11, Kama`oa Road and Pinao Street, just above the Wong Yuen Store and Gas Station.
      The charge for a vendor booth is $10 for a 10’x10’ space. Vendors need to bring their own tables, chairs, tents and, if power is needed, a generator. Vendors can sell anything except hot food and plate lunches.
      For more information and to reserve a space, call Walter Wong Yuen in the evening at 928-8039.
      The church will be selling laulau plate lunches, baked goods and more.


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