Letters — From The Students ‘Disqualified’ By The UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee

On April 24, 2014 at least 7 of the 17 student candidates for UH Hilo student government were ‘disqualified’ by the UH Hilo Student Association Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. We feel that we have been treated unfairly. We ran a campaign on a platform of reform and transparency at UH Hilo. We believe we are being falsely accused and unfairly treated as a result. Because Ellen Kusano and the Election Committee have been unwilling to answer questions previously from student candidates we will again ask these questions to UH Hilo, students, and to the public:

1)  UNFAIR PROCESS

You claim 5 of us were disqualified for violating the following the election code:

SECTION 3. LIMITATIONS.

Candidates and/or their supporters shall neither actively campaign nor allow campaign posters to be displayed within 200 feet of the polling area during the election on April 22 – April 23, 2014 from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

1a) Why don’t you give specifics as to how we violated the election code?
1b)  Why were no students running for office warned that they might be in possible violation of the election code?

2)  VOTE COUNTING/ BALLOT BOX HANDLING

The voting ended at 5pm on Wednesday.
2a) Where did the ballot box go at that time?
2b) Who had access to it?
2c) Did anybody have access to it alone?
2d) Where is it now?
2e) Have the votes been counted or handled in any other way?
2f) If the results have been counted what is the result?
2g) Were the votes counted before or after you decided to disqualify the UHHSA candidates?

3) WHO WAS DISQUALIFIED?

As far as we know, you disqualified 7 of the 17 candidates running for UHHSA office, 2 of whom were running unopposed.

3a) Was anybody else outside of the 7 people disqualified?
3b) If so for what reason?

4) UNFAIR DISQUALIFICATION

One student candidate, Ardena Saarinen, was disqualified the day after the election. She had been confirmed via email on April 10, 2014 as a candidate prior to her notice of disqualification. The Election Committee claims that was that she had not completed her initial paperwork correctly. She claims to have filled out her paperwork correctly and asked for what specific paperwork she did not fill out properly and you do not respond to her.
4a) Why are you not responding to her?
4b) Do you think it is fair to disqualify a confirmed candidate the day after the election after they were previously confirmed?

5) PRIVACY AT THE POLLING PLACE

From the UHHSA Election Code:

SECTION 2. BALLOTING.

Voting shall be done by secret ballot.

5a) In past years at UH Hilo students were given a voting booth of sorts to vote in private. Why weren’t students given a private place to vote this year?
5b) Why were election officials verbally influencing students to vote by telling the students they could not reference their private handouts?
5c) Why did election officials encourage students that they “don’t have to mark a vote for a candidate who is uncontested because it doesn’t matter?”

6) LEGITIMATE HAND OUTS

In the election packet it states,

       Consider making hand outs or stickers for campaigning on the VOTING days.’

6a) Why were students being told they could not reference the handout?
6b) Why did Yuri Zhuraw physically grab the handout out of students’ hands?
6c) Why did Ellen Kusano tell Chantelle Masreghy that Chanetelle was acting ‘unethically’ by handing out handouts over 200ft from the poll on election day?
6d) Why did Ellen Kusano advise the election committee initially to tell student voters they could not use the election handout? When candidates objected to Mrs. Kusano arbitrary rule she went to the election table and said (recording available),
‘If a student comes with one of these[candidate hand outs] please ask them if they will throw it away because it is improper in the voting area, if they don’t want to they don’t have to.’
– UHHSA Adviser Ellen Kusano

6e) Why did Ellen Kusano advise the UHHSA election committee to tell students something that is not in the election code as if it is a rule?

7) UNFAIR TREATMENT
You disqualified one person, Melinda Alles, who was running unopposed for Treasurer. Melinda was on our handout but wasn’t actively campaigning.
7a) Why did you disqualify her?

CONCLUSION

We believe a hostile working environment is being created by Campus Center Director Ellen Kusano. We believe we are being treated unfairly by the UHHSA Election Committee consisting of Yuri Zhuraw and Joyce Pulega Auau under the advice of Ellen Kusano.

In conclusion we ask:

1) that the votes be counted fairly,
2) that the Election Committee be censured for their unfair behavior,
3) that Ellen Kusano be censured for fostering a hostile and unfair institutional environment,
4) that Ellen Kusano not be allowed to have influence over students in the future,
5) that the legitimate UHHSA be allowed to take office May 1, 2014,
6) that the new UHHSA have the right to:
a) hire a professional student government adviser,
b) hire a professional financial clerk,
c) be allowed autonomy from Ellen Kusano and Campus Center.

Respectfully submitted,

Mahalo,

Disqualified UH Hilo Student Candidates:
Glenn Aanstoos          Ryu Kakazu
Josh Boranian             Chantelle Mashreghy
Jarod Campbell           Ardena Saarinen

Letters — Come To The Next Young And Sober Meeting

I would like to announce the first meeting of the Young and Sober Club will be Saturday, May 3, at 3PM at Panaewa Zoo. This group is a social gathering of people ages 16-30 who are drug, alcohol and tobacco free. With all the focus on legalizing marijuana, people forget that you don’t need to be stoned to have fun. The Young and Sober Club is designed to give young people a choice.

This is the second time we are having a first meeting of the club. The last time we were going to meet, a couple of weeks ago, I was hit by a drunk driver at the Pahoa traffic light intersection. How’s that for ironies! Hit by a drunk driver on the way to a Young and Sober Club meeting!

Fortunately, nobody in my car was hurt, although there is more than $10,000 damage to my car. The drunk driver was arrested for DUI and his drunk passenger was sent to the hospital.

At first, our social club was to be for people 18-30 who want to meet other sober friends and have social gatherings where you aren’t having to say no to offers of alcohol, weed, or worse. Growing up in Hawaii is a challenge for someone who is drug and alcohol free. You can smell weed as you pass cars or go to the beach. It’s everywhere, and the pressure to use it is high. Young people need to have healthy ways of having fun, too, and meet other young people who are sober.

But we decided to lower the age to 16 since that’s the age when people start driving. Auto accidents are the number one killer of young people. And the recent accident I just had is a reminder that being sober is not only a personal decision. It affects everyone you come in contact with, especially on the road. (By the way, the guy who hit me was over 30.) Parents are welcome to attend our meetings.

We plan on meeting at different interesting places each week and do all sorts of activities, depending on the interests of the members. This is a FREE event. So come and check us out at the zoo this Saturday at 3. For more information and to find out about future meetings, call me at 443-4750. — Solomon Singer

Letters — Greggor Ilagan Is Concerned About Council Members’ Proposed Pay Increase

Aloha Media,

On April 21, Councilman Greggor Ilagan submitted the following letter to the Hawai?i County Salary Commission. His letter conveys his concerns about a pay raise being proposed for County Council Members.

He further states he will use any raise granted for urgent charitable needs in his district.

Letter for Salary Commission
Image 1 (Council Member Greggor Ilagan, District 4)

Please email or call with any questions or comments.

Office of Councilman Greggor Ilagan
District 4 | Hawai?i County Council

***Commentary*** Regarding What Is Becoming ‘Pahoa Spirit Day’ May 17

go pro

For the Pahoa Spirit Day race winner, Kapoho Kine Adventures has donated the GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition, which is considered the top of the line camera retailing at $399.
The HERO3+ Black Edition features video resolutions up to 4K, 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second, built-in Wi-Fi, SuperView™ and Auto Low Light modes. Waterproof to 131’/40m.

Booster300-300The Hawaii State Legislature awarded a grant-in-aid request to the Pahoa Booster Club (via Kalani) for $92,000 to start up an 8-man football team at Pahoa High and Intermediate School.  This energizes the Pahoa Booster Club’s Mainstreet Pahoa Spirit Parade slated for May 17 in Pahoa Village.  The parade is meant to be a town pep rally and geared specifically toward highlighting the student athletes of Pahoa. Now we have added another component to what is becoming Pahoa Spirit Day.  Prior to the 9:30 a.m. parade, we are planning a 5K and 10K race.  A $5 donation for the 5K and a $10 donation for the 10K will go to the Pahoa Cross Country Team.  Race check-in in front of First Hawaiian Bank in Pahoa will occur at 6:30 a.m., and the race start time will be 7:30 a.m.  KapohoKine Adventures  has donated a Go Pro for the 10K race winner, and also will provide a convertible for the Pahoa Spirit Parade’s grand marshal.  We have chosen to honor Diane Hultman for all her service to Pahoa students over the years.  Stay tuned for more developments, but in the meantime please help spread the word about the parade and the race.  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

***Commentary*** Thinking Out Loud About Puna’s Community Associations

Ariel Murphy photo

Tiffany Edwards Hunt (center) at the Orchidland Community Association annual general membership meeting Saturday, April 26. (Photo by Ariel Murphy.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

As you likely know, I’m running for Hawaii County Council District 5.  And I have largely kept my campaign business to another newly formed website.  tiffanyedwardshunt.tumblr.com.  Today I am making an exception to my general rule not to mix my news business with my political campaign. As part of my campaign, I have been getting acquainted with the various community associations that lie in Council District 5. Today I attended the Orchidland Community Association’s annual general membership meeting.

After three and a half hours, attending members opted to pose to the membership as a whole via mailing the question of: pay $185 in fees, or go into receivership.

Orchidland Community Association appears to be like every other community association, struggling to pay for common areas of these private subdivisions through out Puna with less-than-optimal percentages of fees paid by the membership.  The community associations are also bogged down with in-fighting, sometimes resulting in slandering each other, lawsuits and even going as far as Hawaiian Acres Community Association as having one member of the board seeking to unseat the rest of the board.  Tomorrow the Seaview Community Association will host its annual meeting, and that is supposed to be lively, with litigation for that neighborhood group looming.

The key to Puna’s success, quite frankly, lies with the community associations transcending their pettiness and working for their common cause(s).  A diplomat, quite possibly the council member for the district in which the community associations lie, needs to help orchestrate the association of these associations with each other.  There are needs in each one of these communities and many of these needs are the same or similar.  If the community associations worked together some of the greater community problems could be solved.  Off the top of my head I think of first responders, like police, fire and medical.  We have a need throughout Puna for additional ambulances to respond to call for service.  If Hawaiian Acres worked regularly with Orchidland Community Association and with Ainaloa Community Association, and all three worked with the Kapua Farm Lots and Fern Acres and Fern Forest and Happy Homes, I guarantee you we would see the allocation of more resources for additional ambulances in both Kea’au and Pahoa.  Police presence, a similar situation. If we had community associations working together and a more resounding voice in Puna, we could get more than seven police officers per shift taking the calls for service between Kea’au and Kalapana.

Roads.  We have to figure out a way to have subdivision connectivity, fairly address the concerns of residents opposed to roads in the subdivisions becoming arterial roads, but somehow figuring out a way to ensure that the roads are fixed to meet a certain standard necessary for high traffic.

There was discussion at today’s Orchidland Community Association about Orchidland Drive being too substandard for its current and projected use.  There is a growing pothole at Orchidland Drive and Highway 130 that cannot be fixed due to the rains and is indicative of the challenges that a private subdivision that is getting increasing traffic is dealing with… The road fees being collected could not possibly address Orchidland’s road needs, particularly if more roads are opened up to the public to be thoroughfares.  A council representative is going to have to go to bat for communities like Orchidland to get their fair share, and ease off some of the pressure of these boards that are battling an apathic membership refusing to pay their dues.

Back to first response, it is bothersome to me that Seaview Community Association is caught up in melodrama, and that private subdivision off the Red Road doesn’t have a volunteer fire station.  Nor does any of its neighboring subdivisions.  Someone needs to be advocating for that community.  The community association members, if they met with other community associations, might be able to figure out a way to prioritize what should be taking up their time and energy.

I don’t think the solution is for these community associations to go into receivership status and have a judge determine fees and mandate that they be paid.

Somehow everybody has to have an aha! moment and realize that these community association are the closest extension to “government” that they have from their sanctuaries, their home.  The community associations need to collect the fees, spend those fees on the common areas, and serve as advocates to bring in any more resources that the fees collected cannot cover.  Now, how do we get everyone to get along and start working for the greater good?

***Commentary*** Excellent News For Pahoa

It’s an excellent day for Puna — Pahoa Booster, c/o Kalani Honua, received $92,000 to assist Pahoa High and Intermediate School restart its football program. The Puna Regional Library received $800,000 toward a new library for Pahoa. And Puna Community Medical Center received $750,000 to establish an emergency room on state land in Pahoa. Thank you to our BigIsland delegation (our Puna Sen. Russell Ruderman and Rep. Faye Hanohano, and to all their colleagues in the Senate Ways andMeans Committee and theHouse Finance Committee. — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

***Commentary*** Grant-In-Aid Applicants To Hear State Legislature Decision Today

Today we find out the State Legislature’s decision on grant-in-aid applications. I am hopeful that Pahoa Booster Club receives funding to help restart the football program at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. I also have my fingers crossed that Kua O Ka La gets funding for a certified kitchen, and Puna Community Medical Center gets start-up funds for an emergency room. — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Letters — Open Letter To Sen. Malama Solomon

Dear Senator Malama Solomon,

 

Thank you for all of your hard work during this legislative session. As a resident of the Big Island, I look to lawmakers like you to pass legislation that preserves, protects, and enhances our way of life here in Hawaii.

 

A very important bill that does just that, and is on the cusp of becoming law, has just been assigned to aSenate Conference Committee that you will Chair. I am writing to implore you to give “SB2274: Relating to Sustainable Living” a hearing.

 

You are likely aware that SB2274 has been thoroughly reviewed and has passed through all six committees in the House and the Senate with overwhelmingly positive testimony. My understanding of the purpose of conference committees is to negotiate over the House and Senate amendments. Please allow this process to happen.

 

Support for this legislation has been demonstrated by well over 100 testimonies from organizations and individuals; the Hawaii County Council, who unanimously passed Hawaii County Resolution 302-12 urging the Hawaii State Legislature to pass this exact type of legislation; Governor Abercrombie who in his 2014 State of the State Address envisions the Hawaiian Islands as “a learning laboratory for scalable, innovative mitigation, adaptation policies and techniques, providing a model on local and regional collaboration.”

 

At the Hawaii Sustainability Conference last week, Al Gore expressed that “the way we have to respond [to a changing world] is going to require a set of changes that are beyond our routine…our way of life is at stake, our grandchildren are at stake, the future of civilization is at stake.”

 

A large, growing number of residents on your island, including constituents from your district promote sustainable living. As a staunch supporter of home rule for each county, it is your kuliana to pass SB2274 to give the counties of Hawaii and Maui the power to determine what sustainable activities are permitted.

 

Senator, l live in an ecovillage that has been visited and praised by the Mayor, the Hawaii County Council Chairman and at least six Council members; we have letters of commendation from Governor Abercrombie, Senator Inouye, Senator Akaka, Senator Schatz, Representative Hanabusa, and many others. Across our island there are numerous organizations operating or planning sustainable living research and we need this bill to permit us to do these activities in compliance with the law and under the regulation of our County Planning Dept.

 

In conjunction with over 700 members of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance, l have worked for four years to get this legislation passed. l care for my daughter and all children, and l am greatly concerned about the world our generation is passing on to them. Please consider the future of our whole island o’hanaand let this bill move forward so that we can work together to find some solutions to the tremendous problems facing all passengers in our Big Island canoe.

 

Sustainably yours,

Graham

President, Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance

Letters — Thumbs Down To National Park Service and U. S Fish and Wildlife Service

I’m deeply concerned about the actions of the National Park Service and
U. S Fish and Wildlife Service. These federal agencies intend to control how much new development happens in North Kona it seems.

For example, the National Park Service wants the State of Hawaii to
designate the Keauhou aquifer as a water resource management area and
the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service wants to assign nearly 19,000 acres of land in North Kona as a critical habitat area.  In addition, the
National Park Service was the first entity to intervene in the stalled
Queen Kaahumanu Highway phase 2 widening project’s section 106 process
in early 2011.

These requests, if approved, will impact all new developments in North
Kona. It strips home rule authority from the County of Hawaii and adds
an additional layer of bureaucracy to the entitlement process.

I firmly believe the County and State of Hawaii are in a better position to manage our resources than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Guest Column — A Call For Cheaper Electricity

By Richard Ha

Here is the single most important need facing Hawai‘i today. Everything else radiates from it:

We need cheaper electricity.

It can be done. Recently the Big Island Community Coalition, along with others, helped stop some fairly significant electricity rate hikes from showing up on everybody’s HELCO bills.

And we are very lucky to have resources here, such as geothermal energy, that we can use to generate much cheaper electricity.

Here’s why this is so important:

• We need enough food to eat, and we need to grow it here, instead of relying on it coming to us from somewhere else.

Food security – having enough food to eat, right here where we live – is truly the bottom line. We live in the middle of an ocean, we import more than 80 percent of what we eat, and sometimes there are natural or other disasters and shipping disruptions. This makes a lot of us a little nervous.

• To grow our food here, we need for our farmers to make a decent living: “If the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.”

The price of oil, and of petroleum byproducts like fertilizers and many other farming products, keeps going up, which raises farmers’ costs. They cannot pass on all these higher costs, and they lose money.

We use oil for 70 percent of our electricity here in Hawai‘i, whereas on the mainland they use oil for only 2 percent of theirs—so when the cost of oil increases, anything here that requires electricity to produce is less competitive. And farmers in Hawai‘i also pay four times as much for electricity as do their mainland competition, which puts them at an even bigger competitive disadvantage. Fewer young people are going into farming and this will impact our food security even further.

HELCO needs to be a major driver in reducing the cost of electricity. We believe that HELCO is fully capable of providing us with reliable and less costly electrical power, and ask that the PUC reviews its directives to and agreements with HELCO. Its directives should now be that HELCO’s primary objective should be making significant reductions in the real cost of reliable electric power to Hawai‘i Island residents.

At the same time, we ask that HELCO be given the power to break out of its current planning mode in order to find the most practicable means of achieving this end. We will support a long-range plan that realistically drives down our prices to ensure the viability of our local businesses and the survivability of our families. All considerations should be on the table, including power sources (i.e., oil, natural gas, geothermal, solar, biomass, etc.), changes in transmission policy including standby charges, and retaining currently operating power plants.

This is not “us” vs. “them.” We are all responsible for creating the political will to get it done.

Rising electricity costs act like a giant regressive tax: the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder get hurt first, and hardest. If our energy costs are lower – and we can absolutely make that happen – our farmers can keep their prices down, food will be cheaper, and consumers will have more money left over at the end of the month. This is good for our people, and for our economy.

We have good resources here and we need to maximize them. Geothermal and other options for cheaper for energy. We also have the University of Hawai‘i, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and others that help our farmers.

To learn more about achieving cheaper electricity rates, consider joining the Big Island Community Coalition (bigislandcommunitycoalition.com; there’s no cost). We send out an occasional email with information on what we’re doing to get electricity costs down, and how people can help.

Remember the bottom line: every one of us needs to call for cheaper electricity, and this will directly and positively impact our food security.

Richard Ha is a farmer on the Big Island’s Hamakua coast, a member of the state’s Board of Agriculture, and chairman of the Big Island Community Coalition.

 

Hawaii News — 2013 Keeping It Green Hawai`i Award Recipients Announced

SPACE zero waste station

Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) display (courtesy of Recycle Hawaii)

(Media release) — Recycle Hawai`i and Earth-Friendly Schools Hawai`i announce the recipients of the 2013 Keeping It Green Hawai`i (KIGH) awards. The KIGH program highlights projects and activities by organizations, businesses, schools and government agencies that promote recycling, resource awareness and sustainable practices in Hawai`i. The program recognizes the positive “green projects” that are being implemented in our community, thereby encouraging others to create projects that care for our environment and take action to address local and global issues.

To be considered for a Keeping It Green Hawai`i award, nominees must meet at least three criteria established by Recycle Hawaii.  Criteria include practicing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle; protecting natural resources and native species; alternative energy and green building practices; respect for native Hawaiian gathering rights and cultural practices.

Awardees for 2013 KIGH are The Green House Center for Sustainability and Going Green Recycling Community Clean-Up Program on Oahu, plus Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) and Hualalai Academy on Hawaii island.

The Green House (TGH) Center for Sustainability educates children, adults, families, and communities in adopting living practices that build on traditional knowledge with respect for the `aina.  In 2009, TGH collaborated with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to create training programs to prepare a workforce for “green” jobs. Green Basic Training (GBT) is an introductory organic gardening program, while Green Sleeves Training (GST) is an advanced organic farm and plant production program. These programs provide hands-on experience plus job-ready skills for prevocational and vocational needs of persons experiencing homelessness, and empowers participants to be self-supporting by advancing their employment skills while helping to feed shelter residents.

Going Green Recycling Community Clean-Up Program is a monthly one-stop drop off event held on Oahu and Maui usually on Saturdays at schools, churches, community organizations or government agencies. Private businesses as well as federal, state, and county agencies donate resources for collection of recycling materials. Everything collected is recycled or reused and not going into the landfill.  The host organization receives cash for certain items like scrap metal, cell phones, printer ink cartridges, lap top computers, used cooking oil, lead acid batteries, shredding of confidential document, and HI-5 containers.  This program also supports youth service learning projects designed to protect our natural resources while practicing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.

Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) is a multi-purpose facility used as a school, farmers market, performance arts education center and community meeting place.  Owned and operated by Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (HVC), a non-profit organization, SPACE was built using ohia and mango wood harvested from their own land in Puna district.  Windows, doors, flooring and other materials were recycled or repurposed from other building projects. SPACE uses a solar power grid tie electrical system and has a 22,000 gallon water catchment system.  Natural lighting and ventilation eliminates the need for any daytime lighting or air conditioning.  Restrooms use sanitary reusable cloth towels rather than disposable paper towels, and bathroom tissue made from recycled paper.

Hualalai Academy empowers students grade K to 8 through an integrated curriculum and experiential learning to develop academic, artistic, social, and physical skills. In an effort to improve environmentally sustainable practices on campus students formed the C.R.E.W. (Clean, Renewable Elimination of Waste) Committee.  They determined that 61% of their trash could be reused, recycled, or composted.  With financial support from the William H. Hurt Foundation, they purchased recycling bins, recycling stations, and compost bins to place around campus. Students grades K to 5 served as recycling and compost monitors to collect and sort recyclable materials from every office and classroom on campus.  Within two months, a follow-up waste stream analysis found that 35% of the trash could be reused, recycled, or composted. Significantly, paper went from 20% down to 2%. C.R.E.W. aims to divert 100% of recyclable, reusable, and compostable materials from the waste stream, as well as to reduce their overall landfill waste by 20%.

For more information on Keeping It Green Hawai`i, go to www.recyclehawaii.org or call 808.969.2012

Hawaii News — School Garden Events Focus On Professional Development

(Media release) — Online registration is now available for a weeklong series of educational events for school garden educators, teachers, and others passionate about improving student wellness, cognitive development, and engaging deeper learning.

Taking place June 7–12 in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island, the four professional development events focus on the effectiveness of school gardens as an instructional strategy for both nutritional education and hands-on learning in core subject areas. Read more

Hawaii News — Allegations of Corruption at Hawai’i Community College

 Students continue to pay fees for services no longer provided by the college

“There is no practice of refunding fees when students only partially or do not utilize services.” — Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jason Cifra

(Editor’s note: Stephanie Shor is the news editor for Ke Kalahea, the University of Hawaii student newspaper, and an intern with Big Island Chronicle. A version of this article will appear in the next edition of Ke Kalahea.)

By Stephanie Shor

Three Student Council members at the Hawai’i Community College (HCC) have been removed from their positions after they say they were repeatedly denied requests for financial records of expenditures over the course of more than two years.

Along with missing receipts and fiscal documentation of money spent by the administration, questions had also been raised in regard to tuition fees collected for services no longer available to HCC students after the 2013 separation from UH Hilo, and never available to students at the Hawai’i Community College’s West Hawai’i Campus.
At an emergency meeting called on March 14, HCC Student Activities Vice-Chair Brian Kelii made motions to remove Student Government President Eric Aranug and Student Activities Treasurer Marieta Carino “based on misconduct and violations as outlined in the Hawai’i Community College Student Council Bylaws,” according to agenda records.
After several fruitless attempts to obtain records from Advisor Larissa Leslie on the spending of budget funds and the location of rollover money from previous semesters, Aranug and Carino say they unsuccessfully appealed to Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jan Javinar for assistance.  Because of this, Aranug says he was informed he and Carino had failed to approach the council with their concerns before consulting an outside authority, and were therefore removed from their positions.

Carino provided this reporter with multiple letters and emails exchanged with Leslie, attempting to procure financial reports for her records on the council, however, neither receipts from expenditures over the last five years nor documentation of the approximately $282,082 balance from the Fall 2013 budget have been accounted for to date. Read more

Guest Column — Community in Shock over DLNR Approved Tree Destruction

monkey pod 2By Syd Singer

A small community in a picturesque part of Puna is in shock, reeling from the loss of majestic monkey pod trees, their lacy leaves and hundred foot tall branches having graced this area for decades. They was cut down and reduced to chips on conservation land, where the road meets the sea in Opihikao, along Highway 137, locally called the Red Road.

The property owner wanted to build, as the law allows. Since this is conservation land, he needed to consult the Department of Land and Natural Resources about his plans to clear the area of these expansive monkey pod trees. The DLNR’s policy is to encourage the removal of “invasive” species, so the property owner had the green light to cut them down.

You would think that the purpose of having conservation lands was to protect our precious, natural resources, such as beautiful trees like these monkey pods. But to the DLNR, nonnative species are all invasive, and therefore have no resource value. Monkey pod trees are now defined as invasive, regardless of their beauty, or how many people value and enjoy them. It is a black and white judgment, prejudicial against non-natives, made by bureaucrats in Honolulu, and affecting people, plants and animals throughout the islands. Read more

***Commentary*** Briefly, About Our Pahoa Library

Do you know that our Mainstreet Pahoa?? library only has SIX parking spaces, and we have 5,000 active library users? It is just unbelievable how underserved this area is… Those are the figures I learned today, standing in line at the bank, hearing a woman complaining about people who invent parking spaces in the neighborhood in order to access the library.  We desperately need our state representatives to pursue a new and improved library for Pahoa. It is imperative. The existing library should be reserved for the school, and students should be able to access that library during school and after school. The community library should have ample parking and should be art center as well  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

Puna News — ‘Breadfruit — From Tree To Table’ Workshop Is May 10

(Media release) —  On Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm the Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will be held at Ho‘oulu Lahui, the site of  Kua O Ka La Public Charter School adjacent to the Ahalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna. The workshop is $12 per person and advance registration online is required. Theworkshop will be followed by a luncheon featuring breadfruit prepared by Chef Casey Halpern from Café Pesto.

 

Read more