Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016

The late Sen. Gil Kahele emceed at Gov. Neil Abercrombie's 2010 inauguration event at Pahala Plantation House.
Photo by Julia Neal
SEN. GIL KAHELE, a son of Miloli`i and Ka`u’s state senator in 2011 and 2012, has died. He had been hospitalized and missed last week’s opening of the 2016 state Legislature. During a hearing this morning, Senate President Ron Kouchi informed legislators, who paused for a moment of silence.
Sen. Gil Kahele speaking with Ka`u residents about the future
of Pahala Public & School Library. Photo by Julia Neal
      Kahele was born in Miloli`i, where his father and grandfather were fishermen. He enjoyed taking people on hikes along the coastal trail to his family’s house site and canoe landing. He was a driving force in the establishment of Pa`a Pono Miloli`i, a nonprofit dedicated to keeping the village’s fishing practices and cultural traditions alive for future generations.
      Kahele was instrumental in preservation of wildlands and the South Kona Coast. One of his major legislative achievements in his first year was establishment of the South Kona Wilderness Area, an area roughly 6,000 acres from Honomalino to Kalanamauna dedicated to nature and conservation for perpetuity.
      A longtime operative in the Democratic Party, Kahele helped to organize Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s inaugural events around the islands to be in rural areas. On the Big Island, they were held at Hawaiian Homes Community Hall in Kamuela and at Pahala Plantation House. They were also held on Lana`i and Moloka`i.
      Kahele was a staunch supporter of Pahala Public & School Library when it was threatened with closure. He also worked for clean water and housing for veterans and others.
      Following his graduation from Hilo High School in 1960, Kahele served in the U.S. Marine Corp. and graduated from Laney College in Oakland, California. He retired from Hawai`i State Department of Defense after 33 years as the Director of Public Works at Pohakuloa Training Area.
Sen. Kahele loved walking the villages
of the South Kona Coast.
 Photo by Julia Neal
      On Jan. 11, 2011, Gov. Abercrombie appointed Kahele as senator for the Second District, which encompassed Ka`u, Puna and Hilo. In his first race for public office, he was elected in 2012 to represent Hilo, now known as the First Senatorial District as a result of reapportionment.
      During the current state Legislature, Kahele was to serve as Chair of the Senate Tourism and International Affairs Committee and Vice Chair of Higher Education and the Arts Committee. He was also to serve on Judiciary and Labor & Education Committees.
      “It is with much sadness that I learned of Sen. Kahele’s passing,” Gov. David Ige said. “He was a dedicated public servant who spent the last few years working for the good of his beloved community at the Hawai`i State Legislature. He was a respected and influential leader both in the Legislature and in his hometown community of Hilo. My deepest condolences to his `ohana, friends and supporters during this difficult time.”
      “I am deeply saddened to learn today of the passing of my dear friend, Sen. Gilbert Kahele,” Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui said. “Gil was a warm and caring man with the highest principles and values, who had the unique ability to always make you feel welcomed and at ease. I was honored to have served as his colleague in the Senate and to have continued our friendship thereafter. I will miss his kindness, positive outlook, and ability to make me laugh.
      “I send my thoughts and prayers to Gil’s `ohana and friends. He was a committed and loving husband, father and grandfather, who spoke often of his loved ones with great joy and pride. The people of Hawai`i were privileged that a man of his experience and dedication devoted his life to public service. His smile and infectious laugh will continue to live on in our hearts and minds forever.”
      Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman said, “I am deeply saddened by the passing of an honored colleague and fellow Big Island Sen. Gilbert Kahele. My thoughts and condolences go out to his family and loved ones.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN’S bill aiming to lower the legal limit for blood alcohol content while driving from .08 to .06 has been scheduled for a hearing on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. with the Committee on Transportation and Energy. “We feel strongly that this bill can help save people's lives and make Hawai`i a safer place to live,” Green said.
       “By setting a standard like this at .06, people will get it more clearly in their minds that that’s what Hawai`i believes,” Green told Lei Kaholokula, of KITV News. “Let people realize that Hawai`i puts teenagers and the lives of our loved ones and families first over worrying about the court backlog” that the measure may create.       
      Ka`u residents can offer testimony on SB2053 at capitol.hawaii.gov. To be heard Thursday, testimony must be submitted by tomorrow at 2:45 p.m.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Gov. David Ige gave his State of the Union address yesterday.
Photo from Office of the Governor
GOV. DAVID IGE GAVE his second State of the State address before the Legislature yesterday.
      Ige talked about doing things the right way to make things happen. “It begins with being truthful,” Ige said. “We, in government, are obligated to be truthful, even when the truth is not easy or popular. When we live without truth, our actions fail to pass the test of time. Moreover, we tend to repeat our mistakes because we have not learned from them.”
      Ige gave the SuperFerry and Thirty Meter Telescope as examples where the state failed to follow the law. Regarding the SuperFerry, Ige said “the state should have followed the law and done the right thing in the first place.” In its recent ruling (regarding TMT), the state Supreme Court … said “the state didn’t do the right things in the approval process. It told us we needed to do a better job of listening to people and giving them a real opportunity to be heard,” Ige said.
      “The unrelenting search for truth, knowledge and understanding is an essential part of our human makeup. It helps us become who we are.
      “So does our obligation to be true to our past and cultural heritage.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz attended Gov. Ige's
State of the Union address.
Photo from Sen. Schatz
      “That’s why it’s so unfortunate that our past and our future have been pitted against each other on the slopes of Mauna Kea. As governor, I am committed to realigning our values and our actions. They are what define us as a community and allow us to move forward – proud of our past and facing our future with strength and confidence.”
      Ige reaffirmed his commitment to TMT and pledged that “this time, we will listen carefully to all, reflect seriously on what we have heard and, whatever we do in the end, we will do it the right way.”
      Ige said he wants his administration to govern with compassion. He said he wants to do as much as possible to help homeless families throughout the state. “That’s why we increased funding for the Housing First effort and organized a Landlord Summit to encourage acceptance of more low-income and homeless tenants from building owners,” he said.
      Ige said lack of affordable housing is the major reason why homelessness has become so widespread. He said he wants to work with the private sector to develop a comprehensive approach to reduce regulatory barriers, strengthen financial tools, streamline procedures and re-orient policies toward increasing housing production.
      “Our highest single obligation is to take care of our children,” Ige said. He said he wants to air-condition classrooms throughout the state.
      He said he is working with the Department of Energy, other state departments, utilities and clean energy companies to cool 1,000 public school classrooms by the end of this year and thousands more each year through the end of 2018. “We are going to get this job done,” he said.
      In agriculture, Ige urged the Legislature to move more aggressively to take on threats to Hawai`i’s homegrown resources with the creation of the Hawai`i Invasive Species Authority.
      “The transcendent call from our island state to the surrounding world is that when we demean others we betray ourselves. There is a finer, better way. Pledge to it; make it real every day and lead the way,” Ige concluded.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS and college students can receive help with filing Free Applications for Federal Student Aid that are required for access to federal and state financial aid for college. The workshop takes place today from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View.
      See stjudeshawaii.org or email cindycutts00@yahoo.com for more information.

Kumu Hula Pele Kaio
USGS HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY scientist Jim Kauahikaua and HVO volunteer Ben Gaddis present the story of the 1880 - 81 Mauna Loa eruption using maps, art and photographs today at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

KUMU HULA PELE KAIO presents Hei: Traditional Hawaiian String Figures tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

HOW COMMUNITIES PROTECT themselves from vog is the topic of a Volcano Awareness Month program tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center.

VOLCANO RESIDENT RUSSELL ATKINSON discusses Burning Man Thursday at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village.
      Call 967-8222 for more information.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_January2016.pdf.

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