Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016

Ka`u is clear of dengue fever risk, and Miloli`i's level has been lowered. Map from DOH
LABELING OF COFFEE BLENDS is the subject of a bill introduced by Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman. SB2519 would require coffee blend labels to disclose regional origins and percent by weight in blended coffees. It would prohibit using geographic origins of coffee in labeling or advertising when roasted or instant coffee contains less than 51 percent coffee by weight from that geographic origin.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      “Virtually every other geographic region in the world protects its brand in a way that we do not in Hawai`i,” Ruderman said. “This bill supports local agriculture.”
      Hawai`i County Council, home to most of Hawai`i’s coffee growers, unanimously passed a resolution asking the state for such a change.
      “If it’s only 10 percent, it’s not Hawai`i coffee,” Ruderman told Ivy Ashe, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. “It’s deceptive labeling.”
      Ruderman’s bill also calls for percentages of all geographic regions that blends contain to be listed in descending order.
      “It’s simply requiring honest labeling, like every other product you see,” Ruderman told Ashe. “The ingredients are listed in order. Coffee doesn’t follow that rule.”
      “We need to fix the fact that we don’t protect our brand,” he said. “You don’t see Idaho potatoes that aren’t from Idaho … we are an outlier.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S STATE SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN shared other priorities for the 2016 legislative session.
      As a step to improve Hawai`i’s low voter participation, Ruderman wants all who get driver’s licenses to be registered to vote if qualified. Ruderman’s SB2259 would require that, beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, any person who is eligible to vote and applies for a new or renewed motor vehicle driver's license, provisional license, instruction permit, limited purpose driver's license, limited purpose provisional driver's license, limited purpose instruction permit or identification card be automatically registered to vote if that person is not already registered to vote; provided that upon receipt of notification from the respective county clerk, the applicant shall have 21 calendar days to opt-out of automatic voter registration.
Sen. Russell Ruderman wants the state
to pass a Motor Voter Act.
      “This ‘Motor Voter’ law has been successful in other states,” Ruderman said. “The more people involved, the better our government will work for us.”
      Ruderman introduced what he called the Homo Sapiens Bill. “This bill clarifies that under state law, the rights given to a ‘person’ are given only to people, not corporations,” he said.
      SB2261 would amend the definition of “person” or words importing persons, to mean an individual human being of any age, sex or nationality, provided that the term does not include huis, partnerships, corporations, firms, associations, societies, communities, assemblies or any other form of business or legal entity.
      Ruderman’s SB2268 would prohibit application of neonicotinoid insecticides without a permit after June 30, 2017 to protect honeybees and other pollinating animals.
      “Neonicotinoid pesticides have been found to be a major cause of dangerous bee dieoff,” Ruderman said. “Many states and countries have made this change recently, since bees are crucial to our agriculture and environment.”
      SB2271 would appropriate funds to the Department of Agriculture for research and mitigation efforts relating to the rapid `ohi`a death disease in the state. It would also require the department to submit a report to the Legislature. “Rapid `Ohi`a Death is a fast developing threat to our entire native forest system,” Ruderman said. “We must urgently slow its growth and find a solution. This bill funds research and preemption efforts.”
      Little fire ants are targets of Ruderman’s SB2518, which would appropriate funds to the Hawai`i Ant Lab for personnel and equipment to support mitigation of LFA. “Fire ants are an intolerable pest that has spread thoughout much of the Big Island and threatens the other islands,” Ruderman said.
Sen. Josh Green
      Ka`u residents can track progress of these and other bills at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U IS NO LONGER AT RISK for dengue fever, according to a map updated yesterday by Hawai`i Department of Health. Miloli`i’s status has also been lowered to “some risk.”
      DOH has identified two new cases of dengue fever on Hawai`i Island. Currently, as many as three of the confirmed cases to date are potentially infectious to mosquitoes. All others are no longer infectious.
      Since the beginning of DOH’s current investigation on Hawai`i Island, thirteen imported dengue fever cases have been confirmed (seven on O`ahu, three on Maui, two on Hawai`i, one visitor), and one imported chikungunya case (on Hawai`i) has been confirmed.
      “The dengue experience underscores the absolute need to be ready for any kind of mosquito-borne virus,” Ka`u’s state Sen. Josh Green said. “We need to fully restore all the positions for vector control and entomology for the Big Island and other neighbor islands. The largest threat to Hawai`i’s security is infectious disease. It’s not international terrorism or fluctuations in tourism; it is infectious disease because that could fundamentally affect our economy and all our people.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

James M. Thomas
HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE HAVE CHARGED an Ocean View man with arson and other offenses in connection with a house fire Tuesday afternoon in Ocean View. 
      At 7:30 a.m. today, 38-year-old James M. Thomas of Ocean View was charged with first-degree arson, first-degree terroristic threatening and four counts of second-degree reckless endangering. His bail was set at $64,000. He is being held at the Kona police cellblock pending his initial court appearance scheduled for tomorrow.
      At 5:50 p.m. Tuesday, Ka`u District officers were assigned to a fire on the 92-8200 block of Bamboo Lane. When they arrived, firefighters were at the scene, and the house Thomas occupied with his family was determined to be a total loss.
      Investigation determined that Thomas intentionally started the fire while two women and two teenage boys were inside. No one was injured. The damages were estimated at $145,000.
      Thomas was arrested at the scene and taken to the Kona cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A FUNDRAISER FOR KA`U HOSPITAL is set for later this month. `O Ka`u Kakou presents a spaghetti dinner along with silent auction, bake sale and craft sale on Saturday, Feb. 27 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
      To donate to the silent auction, call Ursula D’Angelo at 896-2624.
      To buy $10 dinner tickets, call Nadine Ebert at 938-5124.

HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE REMIND motorists about the dangers of speeding in a school zone.
      During morning and afternoon hours, children and school crossing guards have encountered numerous near misses while crossing in crosswalks fronting elementary schools islandwide.
      School crossing guards are present at most elementary schools to assist with the safe crossing of children and are trained to temporarily hold traffic until all children have completely crossed the roadway.
      Speeding in a school zone is a traffic violation with a fine of $307, and failure to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk incurs a $150 fine.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PARTICIPANTS LEARN ABOUT THE VITAL role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, its many forms and flower on a free, easy one-mile walk Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit of
      Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. See nps.gov/havo.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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