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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, July 26, 2015

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Ka`u's County Council member Maile Medeiros David presented `O Ka`u Kakou with a Certificate of Merit. Photos from OKK
`O KA`U KAKOU RECEIVED A CERTIFICATE OF MERIT from Hawai`i County Council on Friday. Council member Maile Medeiros David listed OKK’s many accomplishments and activities, including student scholarships, an annual keiki fishing tournament, quarterly senior bingo luncheons, provision of portable restrooms at South Point and Punalu`u boat ramp, maintenance of six miles of Hwy 11 and Ninole Loop Road, invasive species cleanup at Punalu`u lagoon, restoration activities, yard maintenance, home repairs, installation of safety equipment for Ka`u senior citizens, maintenance of eight historical cemeteries, assistance to other nonprofits, schools and community organizations with fundraising events, and manpower for the Ka`u Coffee Festival and Hana Hou Restaurant’s annual keiki Christmas party.
OKK members received lei from Hawai`i County Council.
      “You folks do a lot!” David said. “Quoting from a grateful recipient, ‘I was so touched by the generosity and kindness of your organization. In a world where only bad news captures the headlines, it’s good to be reminded that there are such beautiful souls who give selflessly of their time and energy to help others.’
      “So your mission to improve the quality of life in rural Ka`u, your spirit of volunteerism and aloha, in giving of yourselves through leadership, collaboration, hard work and fostering economic development opportunities exemplifies those important components for building healthy communities through unity and working together.
      “On behalf of Hawai`i County Council, we express our heartfelt appreciation for your unselfish acts of kindness and extraordinary contributions to your community and the people of Hawai`i.
      OKK President Wayne Kawachi said, “I am honored; I am proud to receive this award. More so, I am proud of our members who unselfishly spend many, many hours working in the community.”
      Secretary Nadine Ebert said, “I want to thank the county for all the support we receive, and it is through the support of the community, and of course all of our wonderful members, that we are able to do the things that we do.” OKK also received $15,000 from the council for its continuing efforts.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kathryn Matayoshi
TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE PROGRAM makes sense in Hawai`i, the state Department of Education is implementing a U.S. Department of Agriculture pilot program this school year that allows all students at seven public schools to receive free meal service. The Community Eligibility Provision program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to everyone even if they do not qualify for the free or reduced lunch reimbursement. DOE will look at a range of costs and benefits associated with the program, including financial and administrative costs and savings and impact for schools and students. Based on its evaluation, DOE could expand the program to more schools, including those in Ka`u. 
      The CEP program has been adopted by jurisdictions around the country. “One major factor in the future of the program is the high cost of a meal in Hawai`i compared with much lower rates around the country,” Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to participate in this pilot that could undoubtedly benefit families in need.”
      To qualify for CEP, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced meal through the National School Lunch Program.
      Currently, DOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal, including food costs, labor, utilities, etc. The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. DOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state.
      Under the program, all students in CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.
      “The schools were chosen so that the Department can analyze how families and students in a single island community … respond to the program, while also giving officials the chance to study the impact of individual schools in separate and distinct districts on O`ahu and Hawai`i Island,” Office of School Facilities and Support Services Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson said.
      For more information about CEP, see bit.ly/HawaiiCEP.
      DOE’s School Food Services Branch has a web-based site that provides families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information, see HawaiiPublicSchools.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Michael Champley
HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSIONER Michael Champley detailed recent energy efficiency trends in Hawai`i during the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference in New York City. 
      According to Henry Curtis, Executive Director of Life of the Land, Champley said, “In 2004 the average residential use ... was around 700 kilowatt-hours ... per month. In 2014 that was down to 500. So it dropped around 30 percent in energy use per customer.” 
      Champley stated that renewable energy use has “dropped oil use with respect to generation by about 23-24 percent.”
      Curtis reported that rooftop solar energy accounts for 22 percent of average renewable energy produced but can account for 42 percent of renewable energy production during specific parts of the day.
      Champley said that for Hawai`i to achieve its goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045 will require technology changes and a fair amount of storage.
      Champley also gave his thoughts on the status of rooftop solar in Hawai`i.
      “Exponential growth in customer solar PV installations occurred without fully understanding consequences,” Champley said, pointing out that high electricity rates, state tax policy, solar leasing and declining solar costs drove growth.
      “Demand for rooftop solar outpaced utilities’ ability to effectively manage customer PV interconnection queue and integration issues, created a boom-bust cycle for PV,” Champley said.
      He said the current approach to distributed solar PV “is not sustainable nor market-based.”
      He also said the utilities must “harmonize needs of two distinctive groups of utility customers” by providing customer choice and enabling utilities to serve non-distributed energy resource customers at reasonable costs.
      Champley conluded that utilities, customers and solar industry will need to adopt new business models.
      See ililanimedia.blogspot.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TO CELEBRATE THE FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz co-introduced the Stop Errors in Credit Use and Reporting Act that would make it easier for consumers to identify and correct errors in their credit reports and hold credit reporting agencies accountable.
      “At every opportunity, Republicans have tried to dismantle the historic consumer protections that Dodd-Frank created, but consumers deserve better,” Schatz said. “We should do more to protect consumers – starting with their credit reports. Credit reports are used for everything from buying a home to getting a job. But today millions of consumers have damaging errors in their reports which can be difficult to correct. Our bill will help people correct errors on their credit reports and hold reporting agencies and data furnishers accountable for their mistakes.”
      Credit report errors can lower consumers’ credit scores, leading to higher interest rates and costs for consumers. In addition to financing, credit reports are increasingly used by employers and can determine whether or not someone can get a job. In 2012, the Federal Trade Commission found that one in five consumers had an error on at least one of their credit reports, and one in twenty had an error that was significant enough to downgrade them into a lower credit tier.
      The SECURE Act would make changes to the credit reporting industry that would make credit reports more accurate, give consumers information they need, protect children from identity theft, give regulators better tools for enforcement and give consumers legal remedies.
      The legislation is supported by Consumers Union, the National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), the National Association of Consumer Advocates, U.S. PIRG and Consumer Action.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KDEN’S FINAL PERFORMANCE of The King and I is this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Call 982-7344 for reservations or more information.

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

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






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