Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015

HHSC East Hawai`i facilities, include Ka`u Hospital, are in preliminary acquisition talks. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HOSPITAL AND OTHER FACILITIES in Hawai`i Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawai`i region are discussing possible acquisition with Adventist Health. The California-based company operates Castle Medical Center on O`ahu and 19 other hospitals, 230 clinics and several home health agencies on the west coast and in Hawai`i, according to a story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser
      “There actually have been no discussions up until this point,” Rita Waterman, of Adventist Health, told reporter Kristen Consillio. “The initial conversation is taking place later this week, so it’s very preliminary discussions at a very exploratory stage. Any number of scenarios are possible, so I wouldn’t begin to characterize it at this stage. There are a number of different working relationships, and lots of different arrangements are being created. This is not particularly unique because it’s happening all across the United States.”
      HHSC’s East Hawai`i regional CEO Dan Brinkman told the Gomes that Adventist is the first organization that has contacted the East Hawai`i hospitals about public-private partnership options.
      “Our finances have been shaky. The fundamental issues that caused that have not been resolved,” Brinkman said. “We’re very concerned there will be additional deficits in the coming years.” 
Maile David
      East Hawai`i Region laid off 87 employees this year in the face of a $7 million budget deficit.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL YESTERDAY approved a resolution to amend Hawai`i County’s general plan, in accordance with the general plan comprehensive review process, relating to geothermal resources development. The resolution calls for the relevant Hawai`i County Planning Commission to have authority to regulate future geothermal development in Hawai`i County subject to state law. The resolution also states that additional development of geothermal resources should mitigate impacts to people by use of best available control technology and that additional development of geothermal resources that are not part of the previously approved production facilities should avoid urban areas zoned for residential use.
      Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, reported that Ka`u County Council member Maile David drank water that one of many testifiers allegedly brought from a geothermal well or spring. “I’m doing this for me and my family because I respect my culture and I cannot refuse a gift,” David said. “I was taught that.”
      Callis said other council members “politely declined or didn’t respond.” He also said David didn’t seem to suffer any ill effects.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A TROPICAL DISTURBANCE 685 MILES south-southeast of Hilo has developed sufficient persistent deep convection around a closed circulation to be considered a tropical depression. This is the sixth tropical cyclone in the Central North Pacific basin for the 2015 season. Tropical Depression Three-C is moving over very warm water. It is expected to become a hurricane in about two days south-southwest of the main Hawaiian islands.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

AS KA`U COFFEE PICKING SEASON BEGINS, statewide statistics from last year show record prices for Hawaii-grown coffee, but growers produced fewer beans and made less money. According to Andrew Gomes, of Honolulu Star-Advertiser, U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that growers received an average of $6.70 per pound, but the total for the season fell four percent from last year’s record amount.
      The report also said progress is being made in controlling coffee berry borers but warned that the pest still threatens the industry.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HVNP Chief Ranger John Broward
JOHN BROWARD IS THE NEW Chief Ranger at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. He will direct visitor and resource protection for the 333,086-acre park. 
      Broward has served the National Park Service since 1983 and has an extensive background in search-and-rescue, helicopter management, incident command and emergency medical response, in addition to visitor and resource protection. He first volunteered as an archaeological technician for Biscayne National Park in Florida before graduating from Florida State University with a degree in archaeology. He moved on to Everglades National Park, where he worked as a fee collector, a wildland firefighter and a law enforcement ranger. He spent several years as a backcountry area ranger at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon before becoming a law enforcement ranger at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in 2001.
      Since 2001, Broward worked his way up the ranks as the park’s emergency operations and search-and-rescue coordinator and eruption crew supervisor. He also worked as the supervisory law enforcement ranger and has served intermittently as Acting Chief Ranger.
      “I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the National Park Service volunteer program,” Broward said. “Volunteering is how I got my foot in the door, and that door opened up into a lifelong career,” he said.
      Broward emphasized that planning ahead and preparation are the most essential elements to a great visit to a national park.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

WHILE SEVERAL STATE AGENCIES OPPOSE the purchase of Hawaiian Electric by the NextEra company out of Juno Beach, FL, one state agency is asking that NextEra hand out no-layoff notices during the first four years, should it buy the company.
      Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News, reports this morning that Mark Glick, administrator for the state Energy Office, recommended that the state Public Utilities Commission increase workforce commitments proposed by NextEra from two years to four years.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is willing to run for vice president next year, according to Ryan Kazmirzack, of the Garden Island newspaper on Kaua`i. “The question that I’ve always asked myself is, where can I be in a position to make the most positive impact? That’s what motivated me to run for office at 21,” Gabbard answered in response to a question asked during an address to Kaua`i Chamber of Commerce. Gabbard said no one has asked her to run for vice president.
      See thegardenisland.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. SEN. MAZIE HIRONO co-introduced the Middle Class Creating Higher Education Affordability Necessary to Compete Economically Act, a bill to increase access to affordable post-secondary education for low- to moderate-income students. The bill would address the significant loss in value of Pell Grants by adjusting them for inflation, reinstate year-round Pell Grants, and increase the number of eligible semesters to 15.
      “As college tuition increases across the country, students and families are struggling to make ends meet,” Hirono said. “Unfortunately, the Pell Grant program has not grown at the same rate as rising college tuition. More than 23,000 Hawai`i students rely on Pell Grants, and those students deserve to know they can count on Pell Grants to help pay for college, regardless of their schedules, work or family commitments. Investing in education is one of the best investments we can make to grow our middle class.”
      According to the state Higher Education Executive Officers Association and the College Board, the burden of paying for college has shifted to students as tuition continues to increase and state funding continues to decrease. More than 23,000 Hawai`i students rely on the Pell Grant, and more than 1,600 students used year-round Pell Grants before they were cut in 2011.
      The Middle Class CHANCE Act will support students by increasing the individual maximum award to $9,140, bringing the maximum amount to the average in-state tuition costs at public four-year institutions; restoring year-round Pell Grants, allowing students to receive additional Pell dollars for courses taken during summer or intercession; and allowing Pell Grant recipients to use awards for 15 semesters instead of the current 12 semesters.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Paul and Jane Field invite Ka`u residents to join Stewardship at the Summit.
Photo from NPS
KA`U SUMMER BASKETBALL League championships are free to the public at Ka`u High School Gym today. The women’s game begins at 6 p.m., and the men’s at 7 p.m. 

DURING STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, volunteers help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from trails. Meet at Kilauea Visitor Center. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT THE VITAL role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a lehua tree and the lehua flower Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on this easy, one-mile or less walk.
      Call 985-6011 for more information.


BUSINESS SPACE IS AVAILABLE for rent at the open location where Kama`aina Kuts and Styles by Elise are located in Na`alehu. Call Corrine at 937-1840 for more information.

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

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