Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hawai`i County Environmental Management Committee is considering a bill that would impose fees on bags of refuse thrown out at transfer stations, such as this one in Wai`ohinu. Photo from Hawai`i Zero Waste
A PARTIAL PAY-PER-BAG FEE PROGRAM for refuse to be landfilled is on the agenda of Hawai`i County’s Environmental Management Committee meeting this week. The program allows each household and business one 33-gallon bag of refuse per week to be landfilled without any bag fee. 
      According to Bill 32, introduced by Kohala Council member Margaret Wille, its purpose is to reward those who separate their recyclables and compostables from landfill refuse.
Margaret Wille
      Thom Randle, Chair of the county Environmental Management Commission, said the EMC supports the intent of this bill to prevent recyclables and compostables from entering the landfill. He said that successful implementation by the Department of Environmental Management would require an increase in the department’s budget for both personnel and equipment. The DEM Solid Waste Division is preparing an analysis of funding necessary to successfully implement the program.
      Randle said distribution logistics are “challenging, complicated and costly.” He also pointed out that multiple bag distribution locations would be required, as well as a system to document and monitor tags. He also said options to purchase bags at local businesses should be pursued.
      EMC suggested that additional bag costs be set at $4 per 33-gallon bag, and that 15-gallon bags should not be considered. However, if 15-gallon bags are desired, cost of $2 per bag should be set.
      Randle said options for automated monitoring of residential use of transfer station should be researched. One suggestion is for use of remote scan devices similar to toll booth monitoring/billing systems. Residents utilizing transfer stations would be tracked and billed a cost when usage exceeds once per week. Randle said such a system would greatly simplify monitoring and enforcement, reduce requirement for additional personnel and preclude requirement for special bag/tag purchase.
      EMC also emphasized that recycle, reduce and reuse education efforts should be funded and increased to maximize different media sources and opportunities. The committee also suggested expanding HI-5 redemption programs to include additional recyclables to further incentivize diversion and recycling.
      “Rewarding for recycling rather than penalizing for not recycling would be preferable,” Randle said.
      Environmental Management Committee meets Thursday at 3 p.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Na`alehu State Office Building.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. and Florida-based NextEra Energy is coming from Gov. David Ige and state agencies, according to a story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Craig T. Kojima reported that Ige yesterday recommended that the state Public Utilities Commission reject the deal. “When we first met with NextEra, we were very clear that we had serious reservations about its proposal,” Ige said in a statement to the Star-Advertiser. “Those reservations remain, and if anything, are stronger today.” 
      Ige said, “We are committed to a 100 percent renewable future, standing alone among the 50 states in the nation in that action. We need an electric company that sees Hawai`i as the center of its work and the opportunity we represent as one of the greatest moments in history for any utility. We have not seen that in this proposal.”
      The state Office of Planning and Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism filed documents with the PUC stating that the merger “should not be approved,” Kojima said. The office said NextEra has not provided information about possible societal benefits of the deal. “There remain questions or uncertainty on issues such as commitments to corporate giving, impacts to employees/employment/labor, corporate governance and community values,” the office said.
      DBEDT is concerned that NextEra has not proven that it has internalized local issues into its decision making processes. “The applicants have not shown that the proposed transaction is in the public interest. Thus, the commission has the authority to reject the proposal without further consideration,” DBEDT said. “The applicants had the burden of proof and were either unable or unwilling to submit a proposal that satisfied that burden.”
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AVERAGE RETAIL GASOLINE PRICES in Hawai`i have fallen 1.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.33/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 355 gas outlets in Hawai`i. This compares with the national average that has fallen 0.9 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.76/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com
      Including the change in gas prices in Hawai`i during the past week, prices yesterday were 100.7 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 2.5 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 3.5 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 81.2 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.
      “After areas of the West Coast saw hikes at the pump, things are finally beginning to cool with gas prices declining in all but 15 states versus last week,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy senior petroleum analyst. “While California, Arizona and Nevada all saw price increases versus a week ago, the tide turned late in the week when prices peaked and now are moving lower again… . With oil nearing $50/bbl, there’s a very good possibility that by mid-fall, gasoline prices could fall under $2/gallon in a growing number of states.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Lauren Moriguchi
LAUREN MORIGUCHI IS DIRECTOR of the Executive Office on Early Learning, appointed by Gov. David Ige. She will coordinate early childhood education services currently offered within the public school system and will guide policy around the expansion of early childhood education through collaboration with legislators and the governor. 
      Moriguchi was born and raised on O`ahu and has worked in education for more than 15 years. She has served as an educational specialist at the state Department of Education, a preschool teacher, special educator, resource teacher, mentor teacher and educational specialist at both the district and state levels.
      Moriguchi works with Special Olympics Hawai`i and has been instrumental in developing the structure for the Young Athlete’s program, which provides children 2.5 to seven years of age with a developmentally appropriate learning environment for children and parents while providing leadership skills to middle and high school students.
      A graduate of the University of Idaho, Moriguchi received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Family and Consumer Sciences with an emphasis on early childhood, and a minor in Aging Studies. She is currently working on her master’s degree in Curriculum Studies with an emphasis on early childhood.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

INCREASED ACCESS TO TELEMEDICINE for Medicare patients is the goal of new legislation Sen. Mazie Hirono is fighting for. The bipartisan Telemedicine for Medicare Act is a bill that would allow Medicare patients to seek care from Medicare doctors across state lines through telemedicine services.
      “As our country confronts a looming physician shortage, those of us in Hawai`i are already feeling the pain of a lack of access to medical care in rural and underserved communities,” Hirono said. 
A`ali`i is valuable as a component of lei.
NPS Photo by Jay Robinson
      “Hawai`i residents often are forced to drive for hours to see their physician or spend thousands of dollars to fly to O`ahu and the mainland to seek care from a specialist. For seniors, these long travel times are difficult and even impossible. The TELE-MED Act will help to eliminate the financial and physical stress of seeking quality medical care by allowing seniors access to Medicare-participating physicians from the convenience of their home or local doctor’s office.”
      The TELE-MED Act is supported by the Health IT Now Coalition, the Healthcare Leadership Council, the U.S. Chamber, Verizon and the Parkinson’s Action Network.

RANGERS FROM HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park share the uses and cultural importance of native and Polynesian introduced plants tomorrow from 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai.
      Call 985-6011 for more information.

OCEAN VIEW RANCHOS SOLAR SUBSTATION, planned by Hawai`i Electric Light Co., is the subject of a steering committee meeting on Thursday, July 30 at 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. The substation is designed to support solar farms on more than 20 lots in the community.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_July2015.pdf.

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