Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016

Recent rockfalls have enlarged the eruption vent at Halema`uma`u Crater. Photo from USGS/HVO
HALEMA`UMA`U’S LAVA LAKE CONTINUES to rise. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that the lake was 92 feet below the floor of Halema`uma`u Crater this morning. Recent rockfalls have widened the vent.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov for updates, photos and videos.
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Paul Ponthieux
Greg Chun
BLUE PLANET AND KAM SCHOOL VETS have joined Hawai`i Island Electric Cooperative’s board. 
      Hawai`i businessman Greg Chun has worked for companies including Parker Ranch, Bishop Holdings Corporation, Keauhou Resort, Historic Hawai`i Foundation and Hawaiian Electric. 
      Chun is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Hawai`i Hilo and then went on to obtain his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UH-Manoa.
      Chun most recently served as vice president of Kamehameha Schools.
      Vincent Paul Ponthieux co-founded Blue Plant Energy alongside Henk Rogers and Aleks Velhner. BPE is an energy storage company formed in partnership with Sony Electronics with the ultimate aim of getting homeowners off the electrical grid. Pontheiux is also director and CTO of Blue Planet Research, another venture he co-founded with Rogers to promote DG micro-grids using renewable technologies.
      With a background in engineering and architecture, Ponthieux brings more than 25 years of experience working on sustainability projects in the Pacific. He worked with NASA to design a communication system for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems’ Mars simulator on Mauna Loa.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
Michelle Galimba
      “Chun and Ponthieux both bring valuable insight to HIEC and are exceptional additions to the team!” said Richard Ha, who spearheaded HIEC. 
      HIEC is a nonprofit cooperative association formed by community and business leaders on Hawai`i Island to explore the potential merits of a community-based, cooperative ownership structure for electric utility service on Hawai`i Island. HIEC is also exploring how other energy sectors, such as transportation, can be transformed to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
      Other board members include Ka`u rancher Michelle Galimba and Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman.
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HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY is looking to fill Adult Correction Officer vacancies. Recruitment is open on the Department of Human Resources and Development jobseekers webpage and ends on Friday, Jan. 29 at midnight.
      To qualify, applicants must meet all of the requirements listed on DRHD’s webpage. Applicants must be a high school graduate or have a GED. They must also have one year of responsible work experience showing that the applicant possesses the ability to relate effectively with people in following instructions of a supervisor and giving or exchanging information.
      For a full list of requirements and information on how to apply, see http://agency.governmentjobs.com/hawaii/default.cfm?action=jobbulletin&JobID=1318844.
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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TOOK executive action today regarding gun control, using his office to create changes he implored Congress to pass. 
      “This is not a plot to take away everybody’s guns,” Obama said. “You pass a background check; you purchase a firearm. The problem is, some gun sellers have been operating under a different set of rules.”
      The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives now requires merchants who sell guns at stores, gun shows or over the Internet to get a license and conduct background checks.
Pres. Obama announced new measures to curb gun violence today.
Photo from Office of the President
      ATF is also finalizing a rule to require background checks for people trying to buy some of the most dangerous weapons and other items through a trust, corporation or other legal entity.
      The FBI is overhauling the background check system to make it more effective and efficient. Improvements include processing background checks 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and improving notification of local authorities when certain prohibited persons unlawfully attempt to buy a gun. The FBI will hire more than 230 additional examiners and other staff to help process these background checks.
      Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch has sent a letter to states highlighting the importance of receiving complete criminal history records and criminal dispositions, information on persons disqualified because of a mental illness and qualifying crimes of domestic violence. Lynch convened a call with U.S. attorneys around the country to direct federal prosecutors to continue to focus on smart and effective enforcement of existing gun laws. She also issued a memo encouraging every U.S. Attorney’s Office to renew domestic violence outreach efforts.
      The President’s FY2017 budget will include funding for 200 new ATF agents and investigators to help enforce our gun laws.
      ATF has established an Internet Investigation Center to track illegal online firearms trafficking and is dedicating $4 million and additional personnel to enhance the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network. ATF is also finalizing a rule to ensure that dealers who ship firearms notify law enforcement if their guns are lost or stolen in transit.
      The Administration is proposing a new $500 million investment to increase access to mental health care.
      The President has directed the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology. The President has also directed the departments to review the availability of smart gun technology on a regular basis and to explore potential ways to further its use and development to more broadly improve gun safety.
      Responding to Obama’s action, a message on National Rifle Association’s Facebook page said, “While President Obama announces new executive orders on gun control, a new poll shows very few Americans actually care about the issue. So not only is the president defying the will of Congress, he’s also ignoring the American people – who are actually buying firearms and exercising their Second Amendment rights in record numbers.”
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AS PRESIDENT OBAMA UNVEILED executive actions to reduce gun violence today, data from 2014 revealed that Hawai`i, which has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the county also has the lowest number of gun deaths. According to a report from the Violence Policy Center, 12.5 percent of Hawai`i residents own guns, and the state has 2.82 gun deaths per 100,000 people. 
      VPC said the report reveals that states with weak gun violence prevention laws and higher rates of gun ownership have the nation’s highest overall gun death rates, while states with the lowest overall gun death rates have lower rates of gun ownership and some of the strongest gun violence prevention laws. However, even in these states, the human toll of gun violence is far above the gun death rate in other industrialized nations.
      VPC’s data came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
      The state with the highest per capita gun death rate was Alaska, followed by Louisiana. According to VPC, each of these states has extremely lax gun violence prevention laws as well as a higher rate of gun ownership.
      VPC defined states with weak gun violence prevention laws as those that add little or nothing to federal law and have permissive laws governing the open or concealed carrying of firearms in public. States with strong gun violence prevention laws were defined as those that add significant state regulation that is absent from federal law, such as restricting access to particularly hazardous and deadly types of firearms (for example, assault weapons), setting minimum safety standards for firearms and/or requiring a permit to purchase a firearm and restricting open and concealed carrying of firearms in public.
      For a list of gun death rates in all 50 states, see http://www.vpc.org/fact-sheets/state-firearm-death-rates-ranked-by-rate-2014/.
      Read comments, add your own, and like The Ka`u Calendar News Briefs on Facebook.

Kalani Meinecke Photo from WCC
KA`U HIGH GILS BASKETBALL TEAM hosted Honoka`a yesterday. Honoka`a led throughout the game, ending with a final score of 52-20.

SPEAKING OF KA`U’S HERITAGE is the topic of a free event coming up at Pahala Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guest speakers are Prof. Kalani Meinecke, from Windward Community College’s Hawaiian Studies program. Kumu Kalani, as he is known by his students, “breathes life into the Hawaiian language through his personal and intimate knowledge of both culture and language,” his WCC biography stated. 
      More speakers are Samuel Kamuela Plunkett and Emalia Keohokaole.
      The evening includes mo`olelo sharing, kukakuka (talk story) and light refreshments.

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS MEET this evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.

TINA NEAL, SCIENTIST-IN-CHARGE of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, describes the history of Kilauea’s current eruptions and provides in-depth accounts of volcanic activity during the past year at After Dark in the Park tonight at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs.


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

 See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_December2015.pdf.

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