Celebrate International Women’s Day Wednesday, March 11, 2009 with a screening of the documentary film called â€œPatsy Mink:Â Ahead of the Majorityâ€ at The Palace Theater in Hilo at 6 p.m. DirectorÂ Kimberlee Bassford will be present for a question and answer session following the film. Â “Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority” is the first documentary to explore the life and times of Congresswoman Mink, who grew up on a Maui sugar plantation and went on to be the first woman of color in the U.S. Congress.
Due to newspaper downsizing, Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s Big Island Bureau Chief Rod Thompson will retire after today. (See previous blog entry) Rod Thompson is a colleague, fellow Big Island Press Club member, and mentor, and I wish him well on his venture into retirement. Â Thank you, Rod, for all your service to the community over the years.
(Following is the mayor’s budget message to the Hawaii County Council)
“Dear Chairman Yoshimoto and Council Members:
As required by the Hawaii County Charter, submitted with this message is the proposed operating budget for the County of Hawaii for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.
This balanced budget includes estimated revenues and appropriations of $386,279,510, which is 4.2% less than the current yearâ€™s budget and includes the operations of eleven of the Countyâ€™s special funds as well as the general fund. The budget does not include an increase in property taxes. Read more
(This story appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 edition of the Big Island Weekly: http://www.bigislandweekly.com/articles/2009/02/25/read/news/news03.txt)
Big Island Weekly in 2007 first told the story of Thailand immigrant Panida “Tina” Wu, who was saving money for her daughters to join her in Hawai’i. (http://www.bigislandweekly.com/articles/2007/06/20/read/news/news04.txt)
The girls, Ploysuay, 8, and Praewa, 11, had been living with her sister, Walapa, in northeast Thailand since Wu moved to Hawai’i in 2000. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service gave Wu the go-ahead in October, and Wu traveled to Thailand to bring her daughters here. Read more
Bobby Jean Leithead-Todd, former County Council member, deputy Corporation Counsel, and Environmental Management director, has been named the director of the Planning Department, the Mayor’s Office announced today.
Leithead-Todd, 56, is an attorney with extensive administrative experience and a strong background in planning. She is currently serving as acting deputy planning director.
â€œMs. Leithead-Todd has the expertise and the drive to excel in this critical, demanding post,â€ Kenoi said. â€œHer family has lived on the Big Island for six generations, and her commitment to our communities, our environment, our people and our heritage make her the perfect choice.â€ Read more
I’m sitting in Salt Lake City right now waiting for a connecting flight to Wyoming to see my family, and I am trying to breathe deeply to calm myself down. I’ve got so many bad memories flying around in my head, recalling that story over a decade ago that rocked my world and opened my eyes to how hateful people in the world can be. It’s the story of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard who was bludgeoned to death, and posthumously became the poster boy for hate crimes in the US. I was a rookie reporter for the Laramie Daily Boomerang who reported on that story then. On this blog, less than 24 hours after I published Curtis Narimatsu’s guest column mentioning this fact, I have had to perform my first act of censorship. Some Reverand I’ll refer to as Dumbass puked all sorts of hate for homosexuality, quoting from Leviticus, and claiming his God doesn’t approve of “men who lie with men” or “women who lie with women.” The comment was so disturbing that it automatically went into my spam folder. Having read it, I just could not in good conscience de-spam it. Reverand Dumbass would be asked to leave my house if he uttered such bile there. The same applies here. Anybody who has a message of hate is not welcome here on this “blog with aloha.” Read more
(Curtis Narimatsu isÂ a lifelong resident of Hilo who writes about the forgotten past such as the old plantation days & untold heroes.)
After Matthew Shepard’s Crucifixion, What Else Is As Newsworthy??
Hate crime laws were enacted after homosexual Matthew Shepard’sÂ unspeakable murder at the hands of homophobes in Wyoming.Â ShepardÂ was beaten so badly [skull fracture from back of head to front of ear]Â that only his teardrops left an unstained mark on his crimson head.Â A passing bicyclist discovered Shepard hanging from a fence after doingÂ a double take, thinking initially that Shepard was a field scarecrow.Â Shepard was tied to the fence for 18 hrs. before being found, & diedÂ after being taken to the hospital.Â Shepard 1976-1998Â was same age as scribe Tiffany Edwards Hunt born 1976.Â “Tiff”[any] wasÂ just out of college when she reported on the homophobe crime of the century.Â Because of her role in reporting on the Shepard case, she has been featuredÂ to date in theater/film re-enactments [such as the “Laramie Project”] ofÂ this unbelievably cruel crime.Â After such a nationwide reckoning/Â apoplexy, what else is as newsworthy??!! Read more
The Rotary Club of Kona in collaboration with the Lionâ€™s Club and the County of Hawaii, has commenced a renovation of the Kamakana Childrenâ€™s Playground at Higashihara Park in Kona.Â The Rotary Club of Kona Community Foundation has contributed $10,000.00 toward the purchase of playground equipment. The County of Hawaii has pledged an additional $30,000.00 for the purchase of playground equipment.
The work to renovate the playground, commencing on March 13, will be performed by community volunteers, both as private individuals and through the work of professional companies, all on a pro bono basis.Â
Companies throughout Kona are generously donating the necessary materials to complete the project.Â Now we need your assistance.Â If you would like to volunteer, please contact:
Clifford Kopp, DDS, Project Coordinator
Chair, Community Service, Rotary Club of Kona
Cell 989-7072Â Â Â E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Due to a water main break on the access road between the Hilo Baseyard and the HI-5 redemption area, the Department of Environmental Management will close the Hilo solid waste facilities, which include both the landfill and transfer station, at the Leilani Street entrance at 3 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 26, 2009. Â The road will reopen at 6:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. Â For more information, contact Suzanne Andrade in the county Solid Waste Division at (808) 961-8270.
Jennifer Weinert will return to teaching yoga at Balancing Monkey, beginning Monday, March 2, 2009, with an 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. sample purna yoga class for $5. Â Online sign-up is available atÂ http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=742&stype=-7 Read more
The Hawaii County Council will hold a closed-door meeting at 8 a.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at the Ben Franklin Building in Hilo to interview legislative auditor applicants. Â (3/02/09 Council Special Meeting Agenda)
Â Â Ten people have reportedly applied for the the legislative auditor position, which pays $94,284 per year plus benefits. Â The county legislative auditor is tasked with conducting performance and financial audits of programs, funds, services and operations of any county agency. Â
Currently, the legislative auditor is Colleen Schrandt, a former financial analyst for the county, who was appointed to the position by then-County Clerk Casey Jarman two years ago. Â In The General Election, voters opted to make the position more permanent, still subject to the appointment of the County Council but for a six-year term. Â With the Charter amendment decided upon by voters, the only way for an auditor’s removal before the end of the six-year term is with a two-thirds majority vote by the County Council. Â This allows that legislative auditor to be able to carry out his or her duties and responsibilities without fear of retaliation. Read more
The Konawaena Pool has recently received a solar heating system and is open on the weekends, Department of Parks and Recreation Director Robert Fitzgerald has announced. Â
Weekly Konawaena Pool hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Friday; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, according to a release from Fitzgerald. Â
For more information, call (808) 323-3252.
Free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training will be offered in Keaukaha will be offered four Saturdays in March, according to the Mayor’s Office. Â The CERT training offered by the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, the Hawaii Fire Department and the Hawaii County Resource Center, a Department of Research and Development program, will offer the training March 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2009 at the Keaukaha Elementary School Cafeteria, a release states.
CERT training involves 27 hours of participants learning about emergency response procedures and understanding their roles and functions in the event of a major disaster in their community. Â The goal of the CERT training is for first responders to train residents, community organizations, and businesses in basic response skills, to help with disaster damage assessment and to effectively work with first responders to fight small fires, perform basic rescue operations and render first aid. Â
Individuals, once trained and in receipt of CERT requirements, can opt to form a team in their neighborhood or workplace. Â Team members will be recognized as an official CERT, and may be activated by the Civil Defense Agency in the event of an emergency or a disaster. Â
Registration for the Keaukaha training is limited to 30 participants. Â To register for the Keaukaha training or another one planned for your neighborhood, visitÂ www.hcrc.info/disaster-preparednessÂ Â or contact Frecia Basilio with the Hawaii County Resource Center at (808) 961-8085.
Folks, you’ve heard me chant similar mantras before, but for emphasis I’ll say again that one of the biggest problems we have in this state and in our country, for that matter, is health care. Â We are in desperate need of a complete overhaul, but any and all attempts to improve health care should be embraced. That leads me to telling you about Senate Bill 1142 involving physicians assistants.
Yoga teachers Susanne Lyle and Jeanette Gilbert have organized a benefit yoga class for Silka Strauch, a yoga instructor who has been in the Hilo Medical Center for three months suffering from Rat Lungworm Disease.Â Â All money being raised from this class to be heldÂ 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009 at the Balancing Monkey Yoga Center at 65 Mohouli Street in HiloÂ will go to help Silka and her family. Â Read more