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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, March 20, 2015

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USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists continue to monitor breakouts near Pu`u `O`o while the lava flow front near Pahoa is inactive. Photo from USGS HVO
BILLS INTRODUCED BY KA`U STATE LEGISLATORS regarding labeling of coffee blends have not advanced in the state Legislature.
      A House bill introduced by Ka`u’s Rep. Richard Creagan never received a hearing. HB387 would have required coffee blend labels to disclose regional origins and percent by weight of blended coffees. It also would have prohibited using geographic origins of coffee in labeling or advertising when roasted or instant coffee contains less than 51 percent coffee by weight from that geographic origin.
Rep. Richard Creagan
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman also introduced a coffee-labeling bill. Although it received a hearing, SB594 did not get passed to the House for consideration. While Ruderman’s bill called for coffee blends to contain 80 percent of coffee of origin, the Agriculture Committee, which Ruderman chairs, removed that requirement and called for listing, in descending order of percent by weight, the geographic origin or regional origin of various coffees in the blend.
      The bill still did not receive hearings by the Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means committees.
      “In my opinion, I was the only one (on the Agriculture Committee) who has an understanding of the coffee-growing industry,” Ruderman told Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today. “I think it’s a matter of lobbyists with financial interests having undue influence over the Legislature.”
      According to Yager, Ruderman said, “There is no other region in the world that allows blending of their geographic brand.”
      Creagan’s bill stated that “for more than twenty-three years Hawai`i has been the only region in the world that statutorily authorizes the uses of its geographic names, such as ‘Kona,’ ‘Maui’ and ‘Ka`u,’ on labels of its specialty agricultural products and requires that only ten percent of the product originate in the geographic area.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Josh Green
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN shared his thoughts on the nomination process of Carleton Ching with Associated Press writer Cathy Bussewitz. Green, who serves as Senate majority leader, was the first senator to call for Gov. David Ige to withdraw his nomination of Ching to head the Department of Land & Natural Resources. Green is a member of the Senate Chess Club, a group of senators who work together toward shared goals. Ige was a member when he was in the Senate. 
      “Chess Club has always been big on integrity,” Green told Bussewitz. “That always made it more important that I vote my conscience, which has always been what the Chess Club stood for, and voted for what was best for the state.”
      According to the story, Green said he received about 500 calls or emails against Ching for every comment he received in support. “Five hundred in a row? You never let that happen,” Green said. “You have to tell your side of the story. And that’s a lesson he (Ige) probably learned.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

USGS HVO scientists take VLF readings to keep track of possible changes
within Kilauea volcano. Photo from USGS HVO
WHILE THE FLOW FRONT NEAR PAHOA is inactive, breakouts continue upslope toward Pu`u `O`o, where lava continues to erupt. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists monitor the flow to keep track of any changes that may be occurring within Kilauea Volcano.
      They gather fresh lava samples as close to the vent as possible. Once a sample is scooped from a pahoehoe lobe, it is quickly quenched in a bucket of water to stop growth of any crystals and to preserve composition of the liquid lava. Once cooled, the sample is sent first to UH-Hilo for quick analysis of a few components and prepared for a fuller analysis of its chemical components by a lab on the mainland. 
      After establishing an appropriate location to resume Very Low Frequency studies over the June 27th lava tube, HVO geologists take measurements, sometimes requiring walking through volcanic gases. Measuring VLF field variations across the top of the tube allows HVO scientists to estimate the cross-sectional area of lava and the amount of lava within the tube.
      VLF radio waves are transmitted from Lualualei Naval Base on O`ahu and received by a handheld device.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE EDUCATION INSTITUTE OF HAWAI`I, an independent think tank, has released results of its 2015 Principals Survey. 
      The institute’s President and Board Chair Roberta Mayor noted that “survey results indicate that principals are overwhelmingly in favor of Gov. Ige’s school empowerment agenda.” The majority also supports the governor’s plan to increase the percentage of Department of Education funding that is allocated by Weighted Student Formula to 75 percent.
EIH President and Board Chair Roberta Mayor
Photo from Hawai`i DOE
      Only one in five principals say the schools are already “empowered” to an appropriate degree. 
      Seven out of eight think school-level personnel should be allowed to control the means by which statewide standards and policies are achieved.
      An even higher percentage of principals (91 percent) think a principal who is not satisfied with support services from the DOE should be able to seek comparable services from a different provider.
       According to the institute’s Executive Director Darrel Galera, “Leading research indicates that principals are a key factor for student achievement. Supporting and empowering principals to be instructional leaders must be a priority, if it is ever to happen.”
      Only one in five of the principals surveyed thinks the DOE is providing the “system of support” that it is contractually obligated to provide, and the principals who say the DOE leadership treats them like partners are greatly outnumbered by those who say they are sometimes treated like servants.
      Only 21 percent think that DOE leadership treats them like a partner.
      According to the institute, a climate of fear that was apparent in the 2014 Principals Survey continues to exist. Only two in five principals, or 41 percent, said they can express concern or critique DOE policies and practices without fear of reprisal, retaliation or being unfairly evaluated on their performance evaluations.
      Principals express displeasure with how the system is currently being run. While 70 percent think Common Core has been good for their students, less than 18 percent thinks that system leadership has done a good job of implementing it. The percentage of principals who think system leadership has done a good job of implementing the new testing regime is only eight percent.
      Three out of four principals think the DOE’s implementation of the new teacher evaluation system has adversely affected morale at their schools. 
      Regarding confidence levels, only one in three principals has confidence in the superintendent, only one in five has confidence in Assistant Superintendents, and only one in nine has confidence in the Board of Education.
      Ray L’Heureux, the institute’s Vice-President and Board Vice-chair, said the institute’s goal is to add some transparency to the public school system, and added, “We also plan to survey teachers, parents and state-level administrators in the near future.” 
      Principals were required to identify themselves to the institute in order to participate in the survey to ensure that only principals completed the survey and that no one principal completed the survey more than once. Some principals chose not to participate because they did not want anyone to be able to link them to their opinions about the DOE. A majority of principals, 144 out of 256, trusted the institute’s promise that the fact of each individual’s participation and that individual’s opinions would be strictly confidential.
      Complete survey results, including the written comments of every survey participants, are available at edthinktankhawaii.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.    
 
BOYS & GIRLS CLUB OF THE BIG ISLAND’S third annual Youth of the Year Banquet & Awards Ceremony is today from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. The theme is Inspiring Youth, and participants can dress as what they wanted to be when they were young. 
      To purchase tickets and for more information, contact Gail Hamasu at gail@bgcbi.org or 961-5536.

HALAU KALEHUAKI`EKI`EIKA`IU holds a garage and bake sale tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Pukeawe Circle in Volcano Golf Course Subdivision.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK’S Kahuku Unit offers its guided Palm Trail Hike Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop trail provides one of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. 985-6011 or nps.gov/havo

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


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

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_March2015.pdf.






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