Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ways to limit material going into Hawai`i Island landfills advanced at Hawai`i County Council committees yesterday.
Photo from University of Hawai`i Environmental Studies Department
HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL COMMITTEES yesterday advanced ways to limit material going into landfills. The Finance Committee approved Resolution 126-15 calling for solicitation of contracts for up to $2.4 million annually to turn green waste into mulch at county landfills in East and West Hawai`i.
      The resolution calls for the mayor to enter into a four-year contract, with the option of two one-year extensions, to provide organics diversion, treatment of mulch for invasive species, a compost demonstration project and to expand organic diversion programs to the composting operation.
Bobby Jean Leithead Todd
      Preventing the spread of little fire ants and other invasive species could add as much as $600,000 a year to mulching operations.
      Nancy Cook Lauer, of Stephens Media, reported that the county will also test a method of killing little fire ants using a process to further reduce pathogens. PRFP uses heat created as organic matter breaks down to kill the ants.
      “We see this as a step in the direction of a compost operation,” said Solid Waste Division Chief Greg Goodale.
      A 2009 study found organic matter accounted for 114,000 tons, or 54 percent, of waste in Hilo landfill. Increasing the green waste program would give residents a local mulch option and increase landfills’ lifespans. 
      After being proven, the technology could expand to other regions of the county.
      The County Council Environmental Management Committee moved Bills 32 and 33 to the Environmental Management Commission.
      Bill 32 would require the Environmental Management director to implement a partial pay-per-bag fee program for refuse to be landfilled, allowing each household and business one 33-gallon bag of refuse per week to be landfilled without any bag fee.
      Bill 33 would prohibit disposal of compostable or recyclable material at any county landfill or transfer station as of Jan. 1, 2018. It would also establish additional requirements and fees for commercial haulers with regard to the disposal of compostable or recyclable materials.
      According to Cook Lauer, Environmental Management Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd said the pay-as-you-throw concept is a recommendation of the 2009 Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan, but a plan to allow each household one free bag of garbage a week would be difficult and expensive to implement.
      Solid Waste Division Chief Greg Goodale said charging for garbage would be an incentive for people to limit how much they throw.
      Kohala's County Council member Margaret Wille said the county currently spends $28 million for solid waste programs. The cost rests on the shoulders of the property owners through their taxes, and there is no break for those who reduce their waste and recycle their recyclables, she said.
      Wille said dumping more garbage at Pu`uanahulu would lower the tipping fee and save the county money that could be used for other garbage projects. Currently, the landfill handles about 290 tons per day, she said. An increase to 300 tons per day, would save the county $60,000 to $70,000 a month, she said.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com and westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i Department of Ag asks poultry owners
to be vigilant about avian influenza.
COMMERCIAL AND BACKYARD POULTRY and bird owners need to be vigilant because of outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5 along the Pacific migratory bird path. 
      Hawai`i Department of Agriculture encourages bird and poultry owners to institute and maintain good biosecurity measures, including good sanitation practices and making sure their birds do not come in contact with other wild and migratory birds.
      The strain circulating is a mix of the highly pathogenic Asian and low pathogenic North American strains and has been found in wild birds and in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the risk to people from the current strains of HPAI to be low.
      Poultry and bird owners in Hawai`i who notice high mortality in their poultry or birds should contact HDOA, Division of Animal Industry at 808-483-7106 to report their losses.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Josh Green
ALTHOUGH A BILL INTRODUCED BY KA`U’S state Sen. Josh Green relating to health impacts of pesticides made it to the House of Representatives for consideration, it did not received a hearing before a legislative deadline. 
      SB 1037 called for the state Department of Agriculture to establish and administer a program relating to disclosure of pesticide use.
      The department would have developed a standardized form that pesticide users would have filled out and turned in to the department to report pesticides used in the preceding month.
      Anita Hofschneider, of Civil Beat, reported that Sen. Jill Tokuda expanded the bill to include all farms rather than only large farms as originally targeted to reflect concerns about the environmental impact of large companies.
      According to Hofschneider, Rep. Clift Tsuji did not schedule a hearing because he had already considered two similar proposals and was concerned about the bill’s broad application to all farmers.
      See civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Fire Chief Darren Rosario
DO RULES LIMITING EMPLOYEES’ discussions of internal affairs limit their freedom of speech? Nancy Cook Lauer examines the issue in West Hawai`i Today. Cook Lauer reported that Capt. Sean Sommers is under investigation by Hawai`i County Fire Department. He received a letter from Fire Chief Darren Rosario saying he violated department rules when he criticized it and the fire chief in a March 19 interview on Hawai`i News Now
      The rule states that “no member shall publicly criticize or ridicule the department, its policies or the members … when such action tends to impair the good order or efficiency of the department, interferes with the ability of officers to maintain discipline or it’s made with reckless disregard for truth or falsity.”
      According to Cook Lauer, the chief wrote, “It is alleged that you have violated the aforementioned rules and regulations of the Hawai`i Fire Department with your televised media interview, which aired statewide on Thursday, March 19, 2015.”
      Hawai`i News Now interviewed Sommers about suspension of two West Hawai`i battalion chiefs.
      “This is exactly the reason you don’t hear from other personnel in the fire department,” Sommers told Cook Lauer. “They fear retribution, and I don’t blame them. … I truly am risking everything right now.”
       Honolulu attorney Jeff Portnoy, who specializes in First Amendment issues, said that, in general, he thinks the rules go too far. “Government employees do not lose their First Amendment rights to speak out about what they believe is wrongdoing they believe is not being appropriately handled by those in authority,” Portnoy said. “To me, these Hawai`i Fire Department rules go way too far in trying to stifle appropriate criticism, and at least on the surface are too general and appear to attempt to keep any criticism of the department from public scrutiny.”
      Battalion chiefs Steve Loyola and Ty Medeiros were suspended in November. Loyola told Hawai`i News Now they were suspended for criticizing how Rosario was running the department. A 24-year employee of the department, he told Hawai`i News Now morale is at an all-time low, and 25 people have quit the department during the past three years.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Brian Schatz
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION YESTERDAY announced the United States’ commitment to reduce carbon pollution by 28 percent over the next ten years in an effort to combat climate change.
      “Today’s commitment by the Administration … is critical to our fight against climate change,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. President Obama has laid out a bold and viable plan that will put us on a path to stabilizing the climate. The historic commitments from China and emerging economies such as Mexico to cut carbon pollution have shown us that American leadership on climate change has a real global impact. These targeted goals give us unique opportunities to strengthen our economy, improve public health and leave a better world for our families and our children.
      “Our global partners committed to reducing carbon pollution should know that just last week the U.S. Senate passed an amendment stating that climate change is real, caused by humans and that we should take action to cut emissions. I and many of my colleagues in Congress are dedicated to supporting the President’s Climate Action Plan and ensuring that the United States is able to not only follow through, but build on the commitments made today.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH BOYS VARSITY VOLLEYBALL TEAM overpowered Christian Liberty Academy in three straight sets yesterday. Scores were 25-14, 25-9 and 25-12.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kolea lau nui choked by ginger.
Photo from NPS
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN HELP REMOVE invasive Himalayan ginger tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Loppers and gloves are provided. Participants are encouraged to wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants and closed-toed shoes. Work is often in the shade of the forest with sweet sounds of native honey creepers like `apapane, `amakihi and `oma`o above. Water, snacks, rain gear and sun protection are recommended. This project is open to the public, and no reservations are required. Interested people can stop by Kilauea Visitor Center to get directions and more information. The hike is around a one-mile, moderate round-trip into Kilauea caldera down the Halem`auma`u trail, leaving from Kilauea Visitor Center. The hike involves walking over rough uneven terrain on a dirt and rock path, with up to a 400-foot elevation change.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and

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