Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015

Climate change science began at Mauna Loa Observatory, according to Jeff Mikulina, of Blue Planet Foundation. See story below.
Photo from MLO
KA`U POLICE CADETS graduated yesterday along with 14 other new police officers from Hawai`i County. The Ka`u-connected cadets are Roger W.B. Carvalho, Jr., grandson of Bobby Baba, of Pahala, and Brian H. Kohara, son of Deborah and Danko Kohara, of Na`alehu. Ceremonies were held at Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.
Police Commissioner Bobby Gomes
      The recruits, who just completed six months of intensive training, will undergo four months of on-the-job field training with veteran police officers before they are qualified to work alone. Class President Adam M.K. Cho said the recruits built a strong bond over the course of their training. They chose “Imua e na ikaika Loa,” which means, “The mighty push forward,” as their class motto. “This motto represents us with our motivation and drive for whatever was thrown our way,” Cho said.
      During the ceremony, friends or family members pinned new police badges on each police recruit. Chief Harry Kubojiri described the badge as a symbol of public trust. “Keep it always shining as an example of your inner self,” he said.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi noted that of 2,500 county employees, only 400 are presented with a gun, a badge and the power to make arrests. With that, he said, comes “incredible responsibility.”
      Police Commissioner Bobby Gomes, of Pahala, in his 53rd year serving the police force as a regular and retired officer, told the group that his career has been and continues to be an honor. He noted that the Big Island Police force is known for Maika`i – which means expressing the feeling to the public that everything is good. The word Maika`i is close to Maka`i, which means police in Hawaiian, Gomes said.
      Gomes was praised for his service by Mayor Billy Kenoi. He also was honored earlier at a surprise dinner where County Council member Maile David presented to Gomes a proclamation from the County Council for his half century of service.
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CLIMATE CHANGE SCIENCE began in (Ka`u) Hawai`i, “with a small lab atop Mauna Loa dutifully recording the uptick in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The story of how the globe responds to this greatest threat of our generation is currently being written. Now Hawai`i has a chance to help write the ending,” writes Jeffrey Mikulina in an opinion piece in Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning. Mikulina, Executive Director of Blue Planet Foundation, points to the international climate agreement signed last weekend in Paris, saying that now “the hard part begins. How do we cap global greenhouse gas emissions at levels that keep our planet’s heating well below a couple of degrees Celsius? Hawai`i could have the answer.
Jeffrey Mikulina
      “With our abundant natural resources, a long history of innovation and a culture of pulling together for common purpose, Hawai`i is uniquely positioned to lead the globe in solving our climate crisis. Hawai`i is already on the map for its bold renewable energy policy and clean energy deployment. Now it’s time for us to illuminate the pathway to a 100 percent renewable energy future.”
      As an incentive to work on this issue, Mikulina points to local weather: “We had a taste of a changing climate this past summer as the Pacific became a cauldron with record high temperatures, unprecedented downpour events, dying reefs, slackening trades and an unheard-of 15 tropical cyclones close to home. Folks with long history in these islands know it — something feels different.”
      He also points to progress: “In 10 years, we’ve tripled the amount of renewable energy we use. We have 40 times the number of electric vehicles on the road... . In 2007, the utility forecast a total of 161 rooftop solar installations on O`ahu by 2015; today we have over 51,000. Energy storage – the holy grail for renewable energy – is increasingly available. Earlier this year, the company SolarCity signed an agreement with the Kaua`i utility cooperative to provide a large amount of solar power cheaper than oil power – at night. What was once the province of science fiction is now being put into practice.”
      Mikulina also notes that Blue Planet Foundation “worked hard to help make Hawai`i the first state in the nation with a 100 percent renewable energy law. That policy is changing the conversation globally, as other states and nations seek to adopt their own commitments to zero fossil fuel.”
      He urges “transforming our utility – regardless of ownership – to an innovative utility model of the future that is focused on customer choice and energy services. (It will need to act more like Netflix and less like Blockbuster.) We will need to rapidly implement the long-delayed community solar program to enable all electricity customers – including renters and families in high-rises – to participate in renewable energy. And it means putting in place aggressive policies to reduce our annual consumption of fossil fuel-based gasoline and diesel for transportation from half a billion gallons annually to zero.”
      See staradvertiser.com and blueplanetfoundation.org.
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Dr. Lyle Peterson
DR. LYLE PETERSON, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is mostly satisfied with the state’s handling of the current dengue fever outbreak. “The response of the Hawai`i State Department of Health to the ongoing outbreak on the Island of Hawai`i has been timely, well considered and appropriate,” Peterson wrote in his assessment. “Coordination between state and county is excellent, and operations within Hawai`i County are proceeding under an effective incident command structure at the Hawai`i County Civil Defense Agency. All facets of a public health response to a dengue outbreak have been addressed adequately: community outreach, surveillance, diagnostic testing, medical care and vector control.”
      Peterson did find, however, that “the outbreak has revealed critical deficiencies in communications and medical entomologic capacities within the Department of Health that should be urgently addressed.” 
      Peterson said introductions of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya are likely and will require entomologic expertise that currently does not exist at DOH. “Entomologic assessment has been hampered by lack of technical and general staffing capacity,” he said. Noting that epidemiologic assistance is available from CDC as needed, Peterson said he is concerned about staff fatigue and a potential crisis if another health event develops. “There exists an urgent need to restore entomologic capacity lost … in recent years,” he said.
      According to Peterson, there is no need to establish dengue laboratory testing on Hawai`i Island or encourage use of dengue rapid tests. He said the state Laboratories Division is “very proficient at performing the best tests available and quickly reports results.”
      Also, communications capacity is “woefully inadequate,” Peterson said. He recommended hiring additional communications personnel who are knowledgeable about social media and website management “to fill critical gaps.” He again offered CDC help from a communications consultant who can provide additional recommendations.
      As of yesterday, the number of confirmed dengue fever cases on Hawai`i Island stood at 153, with 136 being residents and 17, visitors.  
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Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building
Photo from Wikipedia
A QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT HIKE in interest rates was announced today by the Federal Reserve, the first time in seven years. This means that mortgage, vehicle and other interest rates for loans will also rise.
      Fed chair Janet Yellen announced that “this action marks the end of an extraordinary seven-year period during which the federal funds rate was held near zero to support the recovery of the economy from the worst financial crisis and recession since the Great Depression.”
      In a statement, the Fed said economic activity has been “expanding at a moderate pace. Household spending and business fixed investment have been increasing at solid rates in recent months, and the housing sector has improved further.”
      Unions and the Bernie Sanders Presidential campaign objected, saying the burden will fall on the poor and middle class citizens. Stock markets reacted positively to the hike.
Kenneth Makuakane
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KENNETH MAKUAKANE offers a free concert this evening at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      Free; park entrance fees apply. See nps.gov/havo.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER hosts its annual Keiki Christmas Party Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. featuring a visit from Santa, face painting, tattoos, stockings, ornaments, food, stickers, games and music. Everyone is welcome.

HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count project offers the community a chance to monitor humpback whales from the shores of Hawai`i. The count is held the last Saturday of January, February and March (during peak whale season) of each year from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
      The 2016 Sanctuary Ocean Count dates are
 Jan. 30, Feb. 27 and March 26. Registration is required. See http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/involved/ocwelcome.html.


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

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_December2015.pdf.

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