Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016

Paul and Jane Field lead Stewardship at the Summit in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Photo from NPS
HAWAI`I’S STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL DOUG CHIN’S office filed a notice of appeal late yesterday afternoon over a recent ruling by First Circuit Court Judge Jeanette Castagnetti ordering the Legislature to provide sufficient funding to DHHL for its administrative and operating expenses, in line with the constitutional mandate to do so. In the current fiscal year, the order identified this amount as being more than $28 million.
Doug Chin
      Department of Hawaiian Home Lands expressed disappointed in yesterday’s decision. “It’s discouraging to see the attorney general pursuing an appeal of this matter on the basis that the court has overstepped its powers,” said Jobie Masagatani, Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair and DHHL Director. “The appeal will eventually end up at the Supreme Court level, and the Supreme Court already ruled in 2012 that the court can determine what is ‘sufficient funding’ for operating and administrative expenses for DHHL. It feels like an unnecessary delay that hurts DHHL and its ability to effectively meet its mission to place native Hawaiians on the land.”
      In late November, Castagnetti concluded, “The Legislature has failed to appropriate sufficient sums to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for its administrative and operating budget in violation of its constitutional duty to do so. This failure includes every fiscal year since at least 1992.” In her 40-page ruling, Castagnetti said, “DHHL suffers from a lack of funding and staffing, which adversely affects beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.”
      For the last three years, the Legislature has appropriated $9.6 million in general funds to DHHL, nearly one-third the amount requested by the DHHL to “sufficiently sum” operations. Prior to that, the Legislature provided no general funds to the department, prompting six native Hawaiian beneficiaries to file suit against the state in 2007. The Hawai`i Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs Richard “Dickie” Nelson III, Kelii Ioane, Sherilyn Adams, Kaliko Chun, James Akiona, and Charles Aipia, in 2012, citing the state’s failure to sufficiently fund DHHL.
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HAWAI`I STATE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH will hold weekly dengue information sessions in Kona and Hilo to provide timely updates and answer questions from the community about Hawai`i Island’s dengue outbreak. Participants will learn about the prevalence, transmission and symptoms of dengue fever; outbreak response efforts; how to interpret case counts and maps; and best ways to Fight the Bite. 
      Weekly sessions will be held every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the State Office Building, Rooms A, B and C at 75 Aupuni St. in Hilo, and at West Hawai`i Civic Center, Mayor’s Conference Room at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy in Kailua-Kona.
      Beginning Jan. 19, weekly sessions will be held every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. at Yano Hall, 82-6165 Mamalahoa Hwy in Captain Cook.
      Sessions are open to the public and scheduled to continue through February.
      Contact the DOH’s Hawai`i District Health Office at 974-6001 for more information.
      Yesterday, DOH reported three more confirmed cases of dengue fever, bringing the total to 213. One of those cases is considered potentially infectious, with onset of illness as late as Jan. 2.
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PALI, THE EARLIEST HURRICANE recorded in the Central Pacific, is weakening and heading further west. At 11 a.m., the category-one storm was 1,520 miles southwest of South Point. Maximum sustained winds are near 80 miles per hour, according to Central Pacific Hurricane Center. Forecasters are uncertain if Pali will restrengthen or dissipate.

Sen. Brian Schatz's guest at the State of the Union address
was Trelaine Ito, of Mililani.
HAWAI`I’S U.S. SENATORS SHARED their thoughts about the State of the Union address President Barack Obama delivered yesterday.
       “Tonight, we heard the President reflect on the significant progress we have made in the last seven years,” Sen. Brian Schatz said. “From the economic recovery to health care reform to historic global action on climate change, we have seen real results that have strengthened our economy and provided more opportunities for working families. But there is still more work to be done, and President Obama outlined a clear plan on how we can build on that progress.
      “The President’s commitment to tackle college affordability is an important step forward. Right now, too many students in Hawai`i and across the country are leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and many are choosing to not go to college at all. When the cost of a higher education discourages young people from going to school, it doesn’t just impact the student, it also affects our local communities and our economy. We all want the best for our kids and that’s why I’m confident we can fix this broken system, make college affordable, and give more students a better shot at success.
Sen. Mazie Hirono invited student Sierra Schmitz
to be her guest for the State of the Union address.
      “We have come too far to return to policies that led to the Great Recession and failed families in Hawai`i and across the country. In President Obama’s final year and beyond, I hope my colleagues in Congress answer the President’s call and make real, commonsense reforms that move our nation forward.”
      Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “Tonight, President Obama laid out how far our country has come since he took office in 2009 and the road that lies ahead. The President emphasized that quality education is a key part in the continued success of our country. My guest Sierra Schmitz is one of millions of students who are struggling to afford a college education. Large financial debt shouldn’t be a burden on the futures of our students. We must work to make their paths a little easier.
      “The President also reminded us that we all have a part to play in shaping America’s future, and he’s right. We have a lot left to do like passing comprehensive immigration reform, closing the pay gap and raising the minimum wage. Working together, we can continue to ensure that America will remain the land of opportunity for all.”
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Robert Lindsey, Jr.
OFFICE OF HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS is launching two scholarship programs making a half-million dollars available to post-secondary students. 
      The OHA Higher Education Scholarship, administered by Hawai`i Community Foundation, requires students be of Native Hawaiian ancestry, be enrolled full- or part-time in an accredited two- or four-year college and have a 2.0 or higher grade point average for undergraduate students and 3.0 or higher for graduate students.
      OHA’s Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program Scholarship is administered through University of Hawai`i for Native Hawaiian students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This funding provides scholarships and wrap-around services for students at any UH campus.
      “The scholarship money that we award represents our commitment to helping strengthen the future path of Native Hawaiian students,” OHA Chair Robert Lindsey, Jr. said. “It is also our contribution to their hope for a life where they can support a family and develop abilities they need for higher-skilled jobs.”
      “Education is a great way for our Native Hawaiian students to uplift themselves and pursue higher-paying careers,” said Kamana`opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana, CEO of OHA, who was the first person in his family to get a doctorate degree. “I was able to get where I am today thanks to my education and am able to use that background to bring about positive change for our community.”
      To apply, see oha.org/scholarships for links to the scholarship programs. Applying could also make additional funds from other scholarship programs available for students.
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IN KA`U HIGH SPORTS, boys basketball team hosts Hawai`i Preparatory Academy today, and girls basketball team heads to Hilo Friday. 

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT continues Friday in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Volunteers help out the park and the `aina by cutting invasive Himalayan ginger on park trails. Loppers and gloves are provided. Participants are encouraged to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and close-toed shoes. Work is often in the shade of the forest with sweet sounds of native honey creepers like `apapane, `amakihi and `oma`o above to serenade volunteers. Water, snacks, rain gear and sun protection are recommended.
      This project is open to the public, and no reservations are required. Interested people can stop by Kilauea Visitor Center to get directions and more information. The hike is around a one-mile, moderate round trip into Kilauea Caldera down Halema`uma`u Trail, leaving from Kilauea Visitor Center. The hike involves walking over rough uneven terrain on a dirt and rock path, with up to a 400-foot elevation change.
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See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_January2016.pdf.

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