Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Aug. 3, 2015

Boylan Slat raised millions to help clean up the ocean, and his mission is leading some 30 boats and crews to document plastic garbage between Hawai`i and California over the next three weeks. Photos from theoceancleanup.com
THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH, first discovered by Capt. Charles Moore, who presented his message and Plastic Ocean book in Ka`u, is the target of more exploration and description. Thirty boats set sail from Hawai`i yesterday, headed to California with the aim of identifying, sizing and counting plastics in the ocean, circulated by the North Pacific Gyre, a current that keeps plastics dumped in the ocean swirling around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch until they sink to the bottom, further threatening marine life that ingests them.
Transpac racers are studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on their way
back to the West Coast.
     Most of the boats involved in the research are returning to the West Coast after competing in the Transpacific sailing race from California to Hawai`i, the event that led to Capt. Moore discovering the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997 as he was sailing home from Transpac.
    The current effort aims to document the plastics and raise money to build equipment to clean plastics from the ocean. Called The Mega Expedition, it is sponsored by The Ocean Cleanup, founded several years ago by then 18-year-old Dutch citizen Boylan Slat, who crowdfunded $2.2 million online through social media, coming up with the idea as a high school science project. Slat traveled to Hawai`i for the Mega Expedition send-off.
     The organization’s website says that “the Mega Expedition will collect more plastic measurements in three weeks than have been collected in the past 40 years combined.” See theoceancleanup.com. For more on Capt. Moore and his Plastic Ocean book, see algalita.org. For ocean cleanup activities in Ka`u, see wildhawaii.org or contact Megan Lamson at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or 769-7629.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Current models show Guillermo skirting by Ka`u. Map from NOAA
KA`U IS OUTSIDE OF TROPICAL STORM Guillermo’s current possible paths, according to latest data from the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Models show the storm heading north of the islands on its track northwest As Guillermo moves closer to Hawai`i, watches may be issued later today or tonight for portions of the state. However, CPHC reported that it is still too soon to determine with certainty which islands are most likely to experience the greatest impacts from Guillermo. It is also important to note that significant impacts can extend well away from the storm’s center. 
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KATHRYN MATAYOSHI, SUPERINTENDENT of Hawai`i Public Schools, sent a letter to parent and guardians upon the opening of the 2015-16 school year.
      “Our state and school-level staff has been working hard this summer to ready school campuses and advance our knowledge and skills to best serve your children and prepare them for college, career and community,” Matayoshi wrote. “Our focus this year is ‘Proud to Serve Keiki.’ We’ve spent the last five years reforming the public school system to raise the quality of educational opportunity for your child — new standards, new assessments, new organizational structures to improve collaboration and use of data. These initiatives are starting to pay off — more students are graduating, more students are taking advanced coursework, more students are going to college and are prepared for college-level classes, more students are attending school, and more ninth-graders are transitioning successfully into high school.
Kathryn Matayoshi
      “While there is still work to do, progress is being made. Our military, business and nonprofit partners have taken note of it and are more involved. Reforms are taking root, and we have a solid foundation.
      “This fall, families of children who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment last spring — currently fourth- through ninth-graders and high school seniors — will receive a Family Report of their scores. We’ve been saying it for a while now, and it bears repeating — the SBA scores will set a new baseline and cannot be compared with our old assessment. SBA is more rigorous and aligned with Hawai`i Common Core Standards that provide better insight on students’ educational track and preparation for life after high school. You can learn more at your next parent-teacher conference, or at Parent Night at your school. …
      “We are proud to serve Hawai`i’s children, and we hope you’re proud of your public schools. Lots of our keiki feel the same way.”
      See hawaiipublicschools.org to watch I Am a Hawai`i Public School Student and for more information. 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING and Urban Development has awarded $14,252,365 to Hawai`i in various grants to support development of affordable workforce housing for low and moderate-income persons, address homelessness and provide housing assistance and supportive services for low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
      The HUD funding, awarded under a formula, includes grants from the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Emergency Solutions Grant Program, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS awards. The state of Hawai`i will receive $7,286,071 through the CDBG program, which provides annual grants to states and local units of government to develop viable urban communities and housing principally for low- and moderate-income persons; $1,119,808 from the ESG program, which specifically targets homeless individuals and families to address homelessness; $5,205,409 from the HOME program, which helps to provide affordable housing to low- and very low-income families; and; and $641,077 through the HOPWA program, which provides housing assistance and services to low-income individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
      “Homelessness is one of the most serious and urgent challenges we face in our state, and we need to act now to address it,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development. “With the governor’s new working group of state, county and federal leaders, we’re beginning to see a real and collective seriousness of purpose in solving homelessness from all levels of government. While resolving this crisis won’t come immediately or cheaply, this renewed focus puts us in a good position to work on real, long-term solutions. As part of this new task force and as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’m going to be working closely with HUD and do my part to make sure federal funds, including grants like these, continue to give the state … the critical resources to finally address the housing shortage in Hawai`i and put people back in homes.”

      Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “Too many individuals and families in Hawai`i struggle to obtain a safe and stable home. The issues of affordable housing and homelessness are complex, but we need to continue to work toward solutions. The governor’s Leadership Team on Homelessness is an example of both the leadership and coordination that needs to take place at the federal, state and county levels of government to grapple with these issues statewide. Government by itself cannot solve these issues. It will take a collaboration between the public and private sectors, which is occurring. I will continue work with all stakeholders to secure necessary funding such as these grants, which allows Hawai`i to assist and address the needs of our most vulnerable individuals and families.”

      U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “Hawai`i’s homelessness rate is already among the highest in the country. The extreme shortage of truly accessible and affordable housing on every island makes it increasingly difficult for families and individuals with limited resources to find a safe, stable place to live. While they don't solve the problem, these grants will help support local programs that serve those most in need.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Dick Hershberger presents A Walk into the Past tomorrow and every other Tuesday.
Photo by Ron Johnson
A WALK INTO THE PAST features Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger as Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar tomorrow and every other Tuesday. Programs begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants then take a short walk to the Whitney Vault, where Jaggar conducted seismic and other research. 

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL HOLDS MEETINGS this week. Committee meetings tomorrow include Governmental Relations & Economic Development at 9 a.m., Planning at 9:30 a.m., Finance at 1 p.m. and Environmental Management at 2:30 p.m.
      The full Council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.
      All meetings take place at Council Chambers in Hilo. They are streamed live at hawaiicounty.gov. Click on Council Meetings. Agendas are also available on the website.
      Ka`u residents can participate via videoconferencing at Na`alehu State Office Building.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_August2015.pdf.

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