Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016

Waipio Valley, along with Ho`okena and Miloli`i, has been closed due to dengue fever. See more below. Map from Hawai`i County
HAWAI`I’S SCHOOLS AND HEALTH CARE could benefit from legalized gambling, Sen. Josh Green and Rep. Richard Creagan told Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today.
Rep. Richard Creagan
Sen. Josh Green
      Green told Yager he could consider a local lottery or participation in Powerball, “provided that’s the extent to which we’ve OK’d gambling and that any resources generated went to education and health care.”  
      Green said he is generally opposed to legalized gambling “because the societal consequences can be very negative and dramatic.”
      Creagan told Yager he also opposes gambling in general, but, “we could get a bigger bang for the buck than a lot of states by marketing gambling toward tourists. I think a lottery could make sense if (proceeds) were targeted to schools and health care. The devil is in the details.”
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
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WAIPIO VALLEY ACCESS ROAD and valley area have been closed to all traffic, and access will be limited to valley residents only, Hawai`i County Civil Defense reported yesterday. The restricted access will remain until further notice as a precaution during the island’s current dengue fever outbreak.
      Ho`okena and Miloli`i remain closed to the public, as well.
      Yesterday, the state Department of Health reported two more confirmed cases of dengue fever, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of the outbreak to 215. These cases include 195 residents and 20 visitors.
      Dengue is a virus that is transmitted from an infected person to a mosquito, which can then infect another person. Dengue fever cannot be spread directly from person to person. Of the 215 confirmed cases, two are recent and could be in the stage of their illness in which they can infect mosquitoes.
      Civil Defense reminds the public that “the most effective method to reduce the spread of dengue is for everyone to avoid and prevent mosquito bites. Fight The Bite by wearing clothing that minimizes exposed skin, using mosquito repellent and avoiding activities in areas of high mosquito concentration during the early morning and late afternoon periods when mosquito activity is greatest.”
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Kamaile (Nichols) Turcan
A HAWAI`I ATTORNEY for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Islands branch will clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Kamaile (Nichols) Turcan will become the first law clerk of Native Hawaiian ancestry to serve a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Turcan will assist Sotomayor with oral arguments and help the justices with acting on emergency applications to the U.S. Supreme Court.
      Turcan was salutatorian at Kamehameha Schools and graduated from University of California at Berkeley with a BA in Integrative Biology. After working for several years as a field biologist, she entered the University of Hawai`i Law School, graduating in 2008 with a Certificate in Environmental Law. She served as Editor-in-Chief of the UH Law Review, participated on the International Environmental Law Moot Court team and received the Carl K. Mirikitani Jr. Valedictory Prize.
      After graduating, Turcan served as a law clerk for Federal District Court Judge David Ezra, followed by a clerkship with Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Clifton. She describes those two experiences as essential preparations for her coming clerkship with Justice Sotomayor.
      Turcan works in Hawai`i as an Attorney Advisor with NOAA, providing legal advice to the federal agency tasked with managing and conserving fishery resources and protected species within the Western and Central Pacific Region. The scope of her work includes environmental law, administrative law and some international law. She has been an attorney with the Pacific Islands Section of NOAA since 2011.
      In a University of Hawai`i online story, Turcan said, “The opportunity to work on some of the biggest legal questions of our day, to help Justice Sotomayor, is the ultimate opportunity for a young lawyer and an unparalleled experience.
      It’s an incredible lifetime opportunity for any law graduate, let alone one from Hawai`i, and I have to keep pinching myself.
      “One of the exciting things about the Court is one never knows what nationally important issue will present itself. The Court is always faced with ‘hot topics’ such as civil rights, the scope of the Fourth Amendment protections in light of rapidly changing technology, and weighty legal disputes between Congress and the President.”
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a major in Hawai`i
Army National Guard.
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD yesterday co-introduced the Veterans Administration Bonus Elimination Act to help ensure timely delivery of care to U.S. military veterans. The bill denies bonuses to senior Veterans Administration executives who fail to ensure that veterans receive care within 30 days, as required under VA guidelines. 

      “It is unconscionable that senior VA officials are rewarded with bonuses while hundreds of thousands of veterans across the country are still facing major delays in receiving the care that they need and have earned,” Gabbard said. “Even after the VA scandal in 2014, veteran wait times have increased. In October 2015, the VA said there were nearly 500,000 veterans who were waiting over 30 days to receive care. The fact that the systemic problems within the VA that created this situation continue to persist is deeply troublesome. Those who are responsible for ensuring our nation’s veterans get the care and services they need should be held accountable, not rewarded for their malpractice. This bill is a step forward in repairing our veterans’ trust.”
      According to VA guidelines, veterans should wait no longer than 30 days for a medical appointment. In 2014, whistleblowers at several VA hospitals revealed that employees often manipulated waiting list data to collect performance bonuses. An internal audit found that over 120,000 vets waited at least 90 days, even after the scandal broke. In Hawai`i, veterans experienced the longest wait times in the country, averaging 145 days for a simple primary care visit. That same year, the VA paid $142 million in bonuses, ranging from $500 to $13,000, to employees.
       As these VA crises unfolded in 2014, Rep. Gabbard introduced the Access to Care and Treatment Now for Veterans Act to allow veterans to get immediate care from non-VA medical providers. Her legislation was ultimately included in the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, which was signed into law that same year.
       Gabbard is a major in Hawai`i Army National Guard and a veteran of two Middle East deployments. She is a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.
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HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH holds a public informational meeting to discuss proposed changes to cesspool rules tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. 
      Major proposed changes include:
Prohibiting installation of new cesspools in all areas of the state. Currently, new cesspools are still allowed in parts of Hawai`i and Maui Counties, and up to 800 new cesspools are being installed each year. Hawai`i is the only state that still allows new cesspools, according to DOH.
Adding requirements as the Legislature directed to implement Act 120 of 2015 for certification of qualified cesspools and qualified expenses. Act 120 provides a temporary income tax credit of up to $10,000 for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic tank system or an aerobic treatment unit system, or connecting to a sewer system.
Clarifying that when a building modification would change the nature or quantity of the wastewater flowing into an individual wastewater system, DOH may require upgrading the system.
      Other changes are summarized in a rationale paper found at http://health.hawaii.gov/wastewater/home/public_notice/. A copy of proposed rules is also provided on the website.
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PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT FORMATION and various uses of the grassy cinder cone Pu`u o Lokuana and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u on a free, moderately difficult, 0.4-mile hike to the top Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      See nps.gov/havo for more information.


Applications available at okaukakou.org.

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