Guest Column: Dating Tips for Dogs and Divas

by Dr. Kai  Swigart

As a shrink who doubles as a dating coach, amidst a smorgasbord of other disenfranchised diadems; a pauperized prince who has himself emerged from the shackles of scurrilous servility a salubrious singleton; I find myself resistant to the balancing yoga posed by my own advice. Although for some a belletristic blueprint, and others a boring blather; I seek to guide, to foster healing through my words. As singles interested in dating, enchanted entrepreneurs pursuing enamored elicitations; when devoid of deeply fashioned loving bonds; we are advised to share our dinners, dances, doors, and dispensations with not one, but many bright-eyed, bushy tails. In other words, until we find that special someone, with whom we wish to share it all, we are advised to place our eggs in many baskets. Now this is good advice, if down there in those cracks and crevices, if  down there deep inside our hearts, we’re not connected.

Undercurrents

sometimes, even when we’re already in a committed relationship, we may realize that we have met that special someone. If we are honest and responsible, we will acknowledge this to ourselves, and then file it away for a day that may never come. If we have ongoing contact with them, then we may redefine them as a friend, like a brother or sister; in order to love them in a way that is appropriate. This is honorable, while we, or they, are still in a relationship. But what happens if we both become available? Have we conditioned ourselves to believe that they are only friends, that he or she is like a brother or sister, and that is that? But what about those memories that keep tickling our fantasies, that are pumping up our hearts with inspiration? Should we just ignore them, pretending they’re not there, or should we pull them out and dust them off, our long, lost diamonds?

Issues

And then there were issues. What if we doubt ourselves and our worth, see ourselves as a victim because  of our poor choices and the abuse of others, or cannot trust because of things that we have gone through? Such perceptual frameworks may represent inadequacy, control, victimization, and trust issues. Those with inadequacy issues often want to be with someone they feel superior to, so they can pretend to be in love without becoming vulnerable. By engineering a “relationship” that supports their issues, they have a built-in way to gratify these issues. But do they want to strengthen their issues, or share love? Sharing real love requires vulnerability, right? They can feel superior, be a know-at-all, always try to prove themselves; and usually feel successful. But all they have succeeded at is strengthening the problem. This problem is a dark, destructive ego that will maintain the patterns of superficial, disingenuous relationships that leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled (which they can then blame on their partner). Similar patterns could occur if we had control, victimization, or trust issues. We could, and probably would choose the things that satisfied our issues. For instance, in a relationship, we might not only select a mate that we feel superior to, but also one that we could control, blame for our mistakes, make ourselves the victim of, and distrust. This would maintain our issue-based belief systems, keep us feeling self righteously superior, unfairly treated, and justified in our distrust of our companion. But these perceptions would not be based on truth. They would be based on issues. Do we want to keep feeding the problem, and continue re-creating unhealthy relationships in our lives; or do we want to accept ourselves, forgive ourselves, and learn to love ourselves so we can learn to love, respect, and trust another? I guess the main point here is that feeding issues, like ignoring the undercurrents described above, could keep us from taking that needed plunge into the arms of real love. The choice is always ours

Eminence and the Approach-Avoidance Dance

When we, or they,  are not single or available, it is sometimes easier to express our love for them. This may be because we, at these times, do not have to risk becoming vulnerable. When we are both available, and eminence tickles our fantasies and pushes our buttons, our fears kick in and choreograph the dance. We might treasure them, respect them greatly, and long for their companionship. But our fears may scream at us that we can’t trust them, that when we hold ourselves up to them we come up lacking, or that they could not really love us the way it seems. These are, of course, our own issues haunting, taunting, and flaunting their indulgence. But, despite our fears, we might hesitantly decide to take the risk. When we do, the resulting vulnerability may distress our sensibilities, prompting us  to take a step back, at least in terms of openness of expression, or frequency of contact; until we are again inspired by that sweet, abiding truth. So we may reach out, share deeply and vulnerably, and then retreat into the safety of our shell. In and out, back and forth, until, at some point, we learn to love and trust. This dance commonly occurs for people with trust, inadequacy, and victim issues; and for those who are highly sensitive or evolved. If this is happening, just keep dancing until you love and trust yourself. Even though it will seem much scarier  at first than the superficial, unfulfilling relationships we control; the ones in which we do not feel vulnerable; it will help us learn to love ourselves, and then to love another; and believe in unconditional love and trust. There may be no greater human joy than this. Just keep dancing.

How have you handled situations like these? Can you relate to the approach-avoidance dance? If so, which moves have helped you most?

Five Local Nurseries Pass the “Plant Pono” Test

Six retail nurseries on the Big Island are the latest to receive an endorsement for their commitment to preventing the spread of invasive species. The Plant Pono program, a state wide initiative being implemented on Hawai’i island by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), recognizes nurseries who implement best practices for control of certain pests and who agree not to import, sell or propagate any potentially invasive plant species.
“I really want to improve the land and beautify it, not cause damage with invasive plants and animals [like] little fire ant and coqui,” says Jacque Green, owner of Green’s Garden Gifts and Things. Her nursery is one of the latest to have earned the Plant Pono endorsement, along with ESP Nursery, Nui Loa Hiki nursery, Sustainable Bioresources, Tropical Edibles, and Pana’ewa Foliage. They joined The Nursery, Inc., Southern Turf, Kalaoa Gardens, and South Kona Nursery, which were the first Big Island businesses to receive endorsements in early 2015.
To maintain the endorsement, nurseries must undergo annual surveys by BIISC early detection specialists and implement stringent prevention measures against invasive pests developed by the Hawaii Ant Lab and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) at the University of Hawaii. Nurseries can play a critical role in preventing the spread of pest plants and animals. Invasive species are defined as introduced organisms that cause harm to the economy, environment, or human health. Worldwide, 10–?15% of introduced species become invasive. Many invasive plants, such as miconia and Himalayan (kahili) ginger, were originally introduced as ornamentals and spread through planting by garden enthusiasts before expanding into natural areas and disrupting native ecosystems.
Potted plants were identified as one of the top vectors in the spread of Little Fire Ant, which have cost millions for government and businesses in Hawai’i since they were first detected on the Big Island in 1999. Subsequent surveys completed in 2002 revealed populations of LFA from Kalapana to Laupahoehoe, indicating the ants were already present and well spread across the Puna and Hilo areas before they were noticed.
“Getting nurseries involved in detecting and preventing the spread of pest animals and plants just makes sense,” according to Jimmy Parker, botanist and coordinator of BIISC’s early detection team. “Very often we find that invasive plants are sold unknowingly by nurseries and then planted by well–?meaning citizens and landscapers. A Plant Pono endorsement lets the public know the plants they have purchased will not become the next albizia or miconia.”
The likelihood of a plant being invasive in Hawaii can be predicted accurately thanks to an online assessment tool called the Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment (HPWRA). HPWRA was developed by botanists from Hawaii and around the globe, and uses 49 questions about a plant’s biology, ecology, and weedy tendencies elsewhere in the world to score its potential invasive threat. HPWRA is 95% accurate in identifying invasive plants. More than a thousand plants have already been assessed and can be viewed on the website, which also suggests safe alternatives to invasive ornamentals. While the Plant Pono program reserves the endorsement for exemplary nurseries, the risk assessment tool is free and available on www.PlantPono.org to any nursery or home gardener considering adding a new plant to their collection. The Plant Pono program was initiated in 2014 by the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) and is funded through the Hawaii Invasive Species Council and the U.S. Forest Service.
Contact information for all Plant Pono nurseries is available on the BIISC website at www.BIISC.org.

Ching Foundation Sponsors “Inspired in Hawaii” Contest for Students

The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation has announced its
Sixth Annual “Inspired in Hawaii” Essay, Poster and Video Contest
The contest encourages Hawaii’s students to “dream big and make Hawaii a better place.” This year’s contest, which is open to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 who are current residents of the state of
Hawaii,  offers $10,000 in cash awards for winning students and their teachers.

Poster and Essay Division Awards:
First Place: $125 student, $50 teacher
Second Place: $100 student, $50 teacher
Third Place: $50 student, $50 teacher
Video Division Awards*:
First Place: $300 team, $100 teacher
Second Place: $250 team, $100 teacher
Third Place $200 team, $100 teacher
Fourth Place $150 team, $100 teacher
Fifth Place: $100 team, $100 teacher

Students may enter only one division.
Essay Division: Grades 6-12, individual
Poster Division: Grades K-12, individual
Video Division: Grades 7-12, individual or team entries

Each entry must identify an existing problem in Hawaii and offer a thoughtful solution to the problem. Go to the Web site for rules, entry forms, prizes, judging criteria and information on Clarence T.C. Ching. You can also see last year’s winning entries there.
Entries must be received no later than 4:00 p. m. on Friday, November 6, 2015. Mail or deliver entries to:

ATTN: Inspired in Hawaii Contest, The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 770, Honolulu, HI 96813

If there’s a question that isn’t answered at the Web site, contestants can email contest coordinator saraplatte@mac.com.

Award winners will be contacted through their schools and invited to an awards program in February 2016.

Free Talks Offered on Roundup and Public Health

Seeds of Truth and GMO-Free Hawaii Island are sponsoring a talk on “Connecting the Dots: the rise of Glyphosate, the active ingredient I the commonly used herbicide ‘Roundup’ and the link to the increase in diseases” with Drs. Stephanie Seneff and Judy Carman, on Saturday, July 25, 1:30-5 p.m. at Tutu’s House in Waimea; on Sunday, July 26, 6-9 p.m. at NHERC’s headquarters on 45-539 Plumeria St. in Honoka’a; and at the Kona County Council Chambers and at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway in Kailua-Kona. Dr. Senoff, a researcher at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has traced links between Glyphosate and the rise of diseases such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, allergies and autism. Dr. Carman, who holds a PhD in medicine, nutritional biochemistry and metabolic regulation, was involved in some of the first independent animal feeding studies on the to investigate the safety of GMO crops in regard to human health. The talks are free, and pupus will be served.

A petition for the County of Hawaii to stop spraying Roundup on public roadsides has been started here.

Shoe Made from Fishing Debris Kicks Off “Parley for the Ocean” Talks

recycled-fish-net-ocean-trash-sneakers-adidas-4The UN-affiliated environmental organization Parley for the Ocean has teamed up with Adidas Shoe to create a prototype running shoe that it claims is made from recycled plastic ocean debris. The shoe, made from materials collected off the coast of West Africa by a Sea Shepherd expedition to shadow illegal trawling activity there, features a surface made from blue plastic monofilament used in fishing lines and netting worldwide. It made its public debut at the New York kickoff party for the UN-sponsored Parley for the Ocean talks, which bring together public and private sector participants in an effort to turn around the rapid decline of the world’s oceans.

“2048 seems to be the overall accepted deadline [according to scientists] for the collapse of all commercial fisheries, and already by 2025 all the coral reef ecosystems in the world will be gone. Leading environmentalists already see the end of most sea life happening in 6–16 years,” notes the Parley for the Oceans Web site. “Diminishment of biodiversity in our ocean is the single greatest threat to the survival of humanity. With diminishment of species in our oceans comes diminishment of the quality of life for humanity. What are the causes of this continuing mass extinction and imminent threat to our collective survival?”

The site notes several major factors in the oceans’ decline, including commercial overfishing, climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution with plastic and chemicals. Plastics have become a major problem; they make up a large part of the Texas-sized “garbage patch” of floating debris that has formed in the Pacific between California and Hawaii, for instance, and local groups annually haul tons of it from remote Kamilo beach on the Big Island, where it has actually begun to form plastic sand.

“Artists, musicians, actors, directors, fashion designers, journalists, architects, product inventors, and scientists have the tools to mold the reality we live in and to develop alternative business models and ecologically sensible products to give us earthlings an alternative choice, an everyday option to change something,” it notes. “To succeed, we need to find ways to synchronize the economic system of mankind with the ecosystem of nature. And make environmental protection fiscally lucrative for pacesetting major companies. Parley has been created to accelerate a process of change that is already in progress.”

The new shoe, whose innovative design even got spread in the avante-garde art site thisiscollosalcom, is just one small example of what can be don toward that “synchronization.” A company called GStar RAW, in collaboration with musician Pharrell Williams, already produces a line of “denim” clothing made from fibers extracted from marine debris. Parley for the Ocean founder Cyrill Gutsch told the Web site takepart.com, “Realistically we will retrieve around 10,000 tons of plastic this year from shorelines and by retrieving discarded fishing nets, which we do in collaboration with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.”

Takepart.com also reported that Parley, working Sea Shepherd, has “already started collecting plastic in China, Australia, Hawaii, and the East and West Coasts of the United States. Collection will begin soon in Brazil, Mexico, the Maldives, Greece, France, and the United Kingdom.”

Belly Dancers to Descend on Honolulu

The 2015 Hawai‘i Belly Dance Convention will bring performers and teachers from near and far to Honolulu to share the beauty and drama of Middle Eastern dance October 8-12.
 
“This year will be the best yet, bringing some of the best belly dancers in the world to Honolulu to share their knowledge and passion with dancers and dance lovers alike,” said convention founder Malia Delapenia. “We hope you’ll join us this October.”
 
Featured visiting performers and instructors include Moria Chappell, a tribal fusion belly dancer from Washington DC; Shahrzad, an Oriental belly dancer from Virginia, and belly dance royalty Princess Farhana from Los Angeles as well as Andrea Aranda from San Francisco and Draconis from Texas.
 
Festivities start on October 8 with the no-host HBDC Welcome Gathering from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the beachside Hau Tree Bar at Waikiki’s Hilton Hawaiian Village (2005 Kalia Road).
 
The dancing kicks off with the Shimmy Showcase Gala on Friday, October 9 at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre (900 S. Beretania Street). The Shimmy Showcase is an opportunity for convention participants to see their teachers in action, and for everyone to appreciate the art of Middle Eastern dance. The two shows will be preceded by a no-host reception with special preview performances. “Essence” the 6 p.m. show, will be a family-friendly show that traces the once traditional movements of belly dance to its contemporary existence. “The Reveal” will continue the modern exploration with more edgy, sensual, fusion performances for an audience 18 years and older at 8 p.m.
 
The Shimmy with Aloha Workshops, now in their eighth year, will be held at the Neal Blaisdell Center on Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11. The workshops will cover topics ranging from Folkloric Dance (Shaabi, Egyptian Saidi, and Lebanese Dabke) to tribal and modern fusion belly dance techniques. The teachers bring decades of experience to each workshop, and offerings will be available for belly dancers at all levels of experience. 
 
Individual workshops are $35-$70. New for 2015, a free Beginners of Belly Dance class will be taught on Sunday from 12:30-1:15 p.m. All ages and levels of experience are welcome and encouraged to share in the love of the art.
 
Just outside the Shimmy with Aloha Workshops at the Neal Blaisdell Center, a marketplace will be set up with belly dance costumes, dance wear, and other Middle Eastern artisans from around the world. Many of these products are not available locally most of the year. The Middle Eastern marketplace will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, October 10 and 11.
 
Following the Sunday workshops, an official HBDC VIP After Party will be held at Bar 35 in Chinatown (35 North Hotel St.) from 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. The after party will feature belly dance and burlesque performances by Lorien Archambeault from California, Nizana from Florida, Vila Donovan, and many more surprises. 
 
The final day of this year’s HBDC, Monday, October 12 will begin with a half day of outdoor adventures with friends old and new. Participants can learn to surf, paddle board, take a ride on a canoe, or just kick back under an umbrella. Waikiki Beach Services is offering a discount for HBDC participants from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. Book your activities on HawaiiBellyDanceConvention.com.
 
The closing event is new for this year: Reflection is an intimate night of performances and commentary, an opportunity for professional feedback from HBDC’s visiting instructors. From 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Ong King Art Center in Chinatown (184 N King St.), dancers can participate in a question and answer session with the visiting instructors and get feedback on their own performances. This years panel will include Shahrzad Raqs, Moria Chappell, Princess Farhana, and Marshal Bodiker. This forum is open to the public. Dancers wishing to perform must apply. Forms are available on HawaiiBellyDanceConvention.com.

Also new for this year, attendees can save over $100 and gain admission to all HBDC events with the All Access Pass. The $415 pass includes VIP access to the Shimmy Showcase Gala, Shimmy with Aloha Workshops, HBDC VIP After Party, and Reflection.
 
For more information, to purchase tickets for the Shimmy Showcase, or to register for workshops or other convention events, visit HawaiiBellyDanceConvention.com or call (808) 234-1006.
 

Natural Farming Meeting Looks at Farming Through the Microscope

The Natural Farming Hawai’i June potluck meeting will be about looking through the microscope to understand the benefits of natural farming down to their smallest detail.

Soil isn’t just a dead medium in which crops grow; it’s a matrix of living things, some beneficial, some harmful.  In healthy soil, microorganisms interact in complimentary ways, but pesticides herbicides fertilizers can disrupt that balance.  The presentation at the meeting will cover how to use the microscope, how to identify bacteria, fungus, and nematodes, and what all this means for soil health.

The potluck meeting takes place on the second Tuesday of each month–in this case, June 9, June 9th, 2015, at  6-8 p.m at the Komohana Ag Research Center in Hilo, Hawai’i.

 

Survey: Hawaii County is Unhealthiest in State

Just as Hawaii Health Systems, the island’s chief hospital facilities provider, announced that shortfalls would force it to cut services and lay 0ff 87 employees in East Hawaii, a prestigious nonprofit released survey findings that rank Hawaii County dead last in the state for overall health.

Every five years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health,” releases the results of a nationwide survey of health conditions, broken down by county. The latest survey ranks Hawaii County dead last in the state, behind Maui County, the City and County of Honolulu and Kauai County. The survey covered 32 factors that affected residents, health, and grouped those factors six general areas.  Hawaii ranked fourth out of the four counties in five of hose factors: length of life; quality of life; health behaviors such as drinking, smoking, obesity and inactivity;  clinical care, and social and economic factors. The only bright spot:  Hawaii ranked second in “Physical Environment.”

The foundation estimated that approximately 6,700 every 100,000 Hawaii County residents died prematurely. About 10 percent o county residents were without health insurance.  About 25 percent of the population were considered obese, about 45 percent of deaths in traffic accidents were found to be  alcohol-related and 22 percent of island residents drank excessively. Approximately 321 out of every 100,000 island residents had a sexually transmitted disease and on average, 22 out of every 1,000 girls between the age of 15 and 19 gave birth. Twenty-six percent of children in the county live in impoverished households, compared to 14 percent statewide. But Hawaii residents were found to be slightly less likely than their counterparts statewide to be victimized by violent crime; on average, 254  such crimes were committed per 100,000 residents here, versus 263 per 100,000 statewide.

According to the Foundation’s statistics,  there is one primary care physician for every 1,391 island residents the average statewide is one per every 1,045.

 

Letter: Marijuana Dispensary Bill is “Insidious”

Dear Editor,

I’d like to congratulate the powers that be on Hawaii’s insidious medical marijuana dispensary bill!  We have made it so restrictive that we are discriminating against over 13,000 people.  This is a bad law, and all in the legislature have shown your true colors, besides Senator Ruderman.

It is amazing and apparent how the lobbyists and police control the legislature, and the only thing we can hope is the Governor vetoes it as being bad for the people of Hawaii.

The overburdonsome regulations will bite you in the okole!  Oh wait, I forgot that is your plan to keep it as illegal as you can to generate crime, unaffordable prices are sure to be the norm, as is the continuation of the black market.

Good Job (NOT),

Sara Steiner
P.O. Box 2011
Pahoa, Hawaii 96778

It’s Alive: Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill Survives Conference Committee

House Bill 321, which would establish seven marijuana dispensaries across the state,  is back from the dead.  After an impasse that nearly killed the bill, the House and Senate conferees at the Hawaii State Legislature  have advanced it  for a vote by the full legislature for a floor vote.

HB321, CD1 would establish a medical marijuana dispensary system and provide a total of eight dispensary licenses statewide, three in Honolulu, two on Maui County and Hawaii Island, and one on Kauai.  Each dispensary licensee would have the option to open up to two retail locations.  If the bill passes, the state will begin taking licensee applications from would-be dispensaries from January 11 to 29, 2016. The dispensaries would would begin selling medical marijuana and related products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers on July 15, 2016.

“I’m excited we will launch dispensaries in 2016,” wrote Sen. Josh Green (D-Kona), who heads the Senate Health Committee.  “The final draft included some provisions I fought for such as reciprocity with other states, the ability for ALL doctors to authorize MM cards and PTSD as an approved condition. I hope that all of the licenses ultimately are awarded to qualified, well intentioned local people who put Hawaii patient concerns first. We’ll have several dispensaries on Big Island in the coming years.”

But Green reportedly got into an impasse between himself and House Health Committee Chair Della Au Belatti that nearly killed the bill.   The dispute was over how licenses for the dispensaries would be issued–Green favored awarding them on a first come, first served basis. The bill moved forward after he was excused as conference committee representative and replaced by Sen. Will Espero (D-Ewa), the Senate Health Committee’s vice chair.  In place of the “first come first served” language, the current bill calls for the Department of Health to set up “a selection process and criteria based on merit for verified applicants.”

Asked how the deadlock was resolved, Green told the Chronicle, “We had the public safety chair  [Sen. Greg Takayama, D-Pearl City) decide that point. I contributed the health features of the bill,’  Green told the Chronicle.

“That was the real sticking point between Josh and Della. Josh wanted first come, first served. Josh wasn’t going to budge,” Rep. Richard Creagan (D-South Kona, Ka’u, Volcano) told the Chronicle.  “Della and Josh had worked very hard on it, but they just couldn’t get it across the finish line.”

“It’s been a long haul, to get this bill to this point, going to back to last session when we deferred an earlier effort to provide legal access to medical marijuana,” Belatti said.  “Because of a number of issues, including those relating to the safety and security of the dispensaries, we sought more studied input so that we would be on firm ground when drafting this year’s measure… If we were intensely focused on seeing this measure passed this session, can you imagine how patients who require medical marijuana to get by each day must have felt?  Some have waited 15 years for this day to come,” said Belatti.

Creagan who vice-chairs the House Health Committee, and who, like Green, is a certified emergency room physician,  noted,  “I don’t think anybody is overjoyed with this bill, but at least we have a bill.It’s not greatly changed from what it was Friday before the impasse, but it’s improved compared to the earlier versions….that the current version of the bill does eliminate a proposed 45 percent excise tax on medical marijuana, reducing it to “Just a normal excise tax, like anything else.” And the new bill, he said, would allow prescriptions by doctors other than primary care physicians, and will expand the definition of ailments for which marijuana can be described to include post-traumatic stress syndrome. Other condition such as insomnia and anxiety disorders may be added later: “The Health Dept. will be able to add conditions, and they said they would be working on that.“

The bill would not pre-empt the option of patients growing their own plants, he said. He suspected the dispensary prices would actually be higher than street prices on the Big Island. But, he believed, “One of the things medical dispensaries will do is that the strains will be better characterized.”
Creagan said he thought the bill will benefit O`ahu more than the big Island. “Probably more people on Oahu will use the dispensaries, because it will e easier and more convenient, and people on Oahu have more money,’ he commented. The big Island is actually in pretty good shape, because most people can get a hold of marijuana pretty easily anyway. Oahu—it’s just harder to grow it over there… People have an easier time to grow it on the Big Island, and a lot of people know how to grow it on the Big Island. ”

Creagan said he didn’t know much about the medical marijuana issue initially, but he’d gotten educated on it by talking to his constituents. Having the dispensary option, he believed, would make physicians more comfortable, and would help the process of “normalizing” the idea of medical marijuana use.

“I think that we’re just getting comfortable with the idea that marijuana is beneficial and safe, and is more safe than most prescription medication, he said, and noted that “ People are realizing that there was all this misinformation and misconceptions, and are now much more comfortable that marijuana is a a acceptable thing. He noted, for instance that the notion that marijuana was addictive had been fostered by a law enforcement system that mandated “drug treatment programs” for those caught using: “People got out of legal entanglements by agreeing to go to drug treatment programs…there was noway they were addictive, but it was just an easy way to get out of trouble with the law.”

He credited the legislator’s leaders for saving the bill.  When the deadlock occurred he said,  “The leadership recognized that it was more important not to let the bill die for relatively minor reasons.”

Open Letter to our Legislators: What’s Wrong with the Medical Marijuana Bill

Dear Senator Espero, other Legislators,

The reason you are having so much trouble with the dispensary bill is it is not good for the people of Hawaii. To tell you the truth, the amendments ruin it, and make compliance unaffordable and discriminatory for all but multimillionaires with health licenses.

For one, the definition of a “person” needs to be an actual person, not some shady LLC set up to steal profits from Hawaii residents. One license for one aspect (grow, manufacture, dispense) for one person. Give as many Hawaii residents (not big mainland growers, dispensary owners, pharmaceutical or tobacco companies) a chance to make a good living and people and the State of Hawaii will benefit from your aloha.

Two, if you feel in your heart that sick cancer patients on chemotherapy deserve a bit of chocolate or brownie to take their medicine, then give them the “edibles” from SB 682.

Three, throw away all the amendments (both House and Senate) and revert back to the original HB321. We can’t handle the overkill in compliances, there is a higher price for every unnecessary and burdensome requirement.

Unfortunately, the police, judicial system and NED are still in the grip of “reefer madness,” a self-perpetuating industry of prison for profit and stealing peoples assets through property forfeiture. Remember, the police and narcotics enforcement divisions should be focused on the extreme problems of ice, heroin, cocaine, meth, and other actual crimes like theft, robbery, assault: crimes with actual victims, not the cannabis plant. Please also remind yourself they are not doctors, and they have no business lobbying against laws aimed at giving people access to an allowed plant of their choice.

You as our law makers have got to rise above the money hungry crowd, and do what is right for the 13,000+ medical cannabis patients in the State of Aloha!

Thank you for your attention to this matter!

Sara Steiner
Pahoa, Hawaii

House Passes Health Bills

The State House of Representatives has voted to pass several dozen bills that crossed over from the Senate.  Among them are several bills related to health, including on that would create a statewide system for dispensing medical marijuana, and another that establishes a “mini-PLDC” for medical procurement.

SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana. Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers. Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period. Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.
SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii. Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board. Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana. Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

 
SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging. Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center. Requires appointment of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017. Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers. Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.

SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector. Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector. Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies. Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance. Defines the term “habilitative services” to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders. Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment. Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services. Appropriates funds.

SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage. Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.

SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products. Expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products. Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.

SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health. Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21. Defines “tobacco products” to include electronic smoking devices.

Letter: Oppose William Balfour’s Renomination to the Commission on Water Resource Management

Aloha, everyone. William Balfour’s response to questions by the Senate Water and Land Committee today at his confirmation hearing was disappointing to put it mildly. It is very hard for me to believe the Governor nominated Mr. Balfour to serve yet another term on the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM). Mr. Balfour did not know about the hierarchy of water uses or constitutionally protected rights and uses under the State Water Code, nor was he concerned that he did not know about this most important tenet of the code.

Five major decisions by CWRM have been reversed by the courts in the last decade or so. Most if not all of them involved stream diversions, Native Hawaiian water rights, and superior uses. As a past water commissioner, Mr. Balfour voted on two important decisions that were reversed by the Hawai‘i Supreme Court in the Na Wai ‘Eha and East Maui stream cases.

The Committee is meeting again this Friday, April 17, 2015 at 1:15 pm in Room 225 to give Mr. Balfour another opportunity to address the code’s hierarchy of water uses and rights under the code. Even if he does his homework in the next two days, his past record as a water commissioner speaks louder than any recitation of the State Water Code.

Please call and email members of the Senate Committee on Water and Land before Friday noon. Respectfully ask them to oppose GM 820 and the nomination of William Balfour, Jr. to serve on the Commission on Water Resource Management. Be sure to contact your own state senator too (see contact information for the committee and all senators below). Please share with others and broadcast far and wide. Mahalo!

We must not give up opposing this ill-advised nomination.

Our state senators are the only ones with the power to decide whether Mr. Balfour serves on the CWRM for another 4 years or if the people deserve someone who is committed to upholding the State Water Code and the state constitution, and righting the wrongs of the past.

Mr. Balfour already had his turn on CWRM. If he is confirmed for another 4 years, he will be voting on matters as they come back to CWRM as ordered by the courts. It is inappropriate for him to serve on CWRM again.

This is a new time, and the paradigm is shifting towards a more just and sustainable water management regime in the islands.

Mr. Balfour represents the old way of exploiting water at the expense of native stream ecosystems, estuaries, and fisheries, and on the backs of Native Hawaiian practitioners and kalo farmers.

The old way perpetuates illegal stream diversions that were so cruel and complete, they are beyond belief, and which continue to this day. The old way is not the way forward.

Mr. Balfour is also a climate change denier, and will hinder efforts by CWRM to mitigate impacts to our water resources.

Senate Committee on Water and Land Members:

Chair Laura Thielen
Phone 808-587-8388
Fax 808-587-7240
E-Mail: senthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 25 Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimanalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock

Vice Chair Brickwood Galuteria
Phone 808-586-6740
Fax 808-586-6829
E-Mail: sengaluteria@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 12 Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili

Les Ihara, Jr.
Phone 808-586-6250
Fax 808-586-6251
E-Mail: senihara@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 10 Kaimuki, Kapahulu, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, St. Louis Heights, Mo‘ili‘ili, Ala Wai

Gil Riviere
Phone 808-586-7330
Fax 808-586-7334
E-Mail: senriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 23 Kane‘ohe , Ka‘a‘awa, Hau‘ula, La‘ie, Kahuku, Waialua, Hale‘iwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia

Russell Ruderman
Phone 808-586-6890
Fax 808-586-6899
E-Mail: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 2 Puna, Ka‘u

Maile Shimabukuro
Phone 808-586-7793
Fax 808-586-7797
E-Mail: senshimabukuro@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 21 Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, Makua

Sam Slom
Phone 808-586-8420
Fax 808-586-8426
E-Mail: senslom@capitol.hawaii.gov
District 9 Hawai‘i Kai, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Niu, ‘Aina Haina, Wai‘alae-Kahala, Diamond Head

–Marjorie Ziegler

Time for DU Meeting Changed

Big Island Chronicle has received a note from Amy Snyder at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, saying that the time for the meeting with the Army on depleted uranium at Pohakuloa  has been changed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST (3 a.m.-10 a.m. HST) to 11:00 a.m. -5:15 p.m. EST (5 a.m.–11:15  a.m. HST).  She noted that other topics besides the Hawaiian DU were on the agenda, and that discussion of the Hawaiian sites would “begin at 1:30 p.m.  eastern time” (That’s 7:30 Hawaiian time).

She said that the discussion would specifically address the Army’s proposal to add additional DU contamination sites to those already listed, and noted that “currently there is no licensing review or licensing action.  This meeting is a pre-application submission meeting.”  Since the meeting time had changed, she said, she was in the process of obtaining a new toll-free phone number for teleconferencing.  As soon as that number is sent to us, we will print it on this site.

Documents that will be discussed can be reviewed at the links below beginning Friday, March 20:

View ADAMS P8 Properties ML15078A094

Open ADAMS P8 Package (Draft Documents from Army Regarding March 24, 2015 Meeting on Depleted Uranium from the Davy Crockett Weapon System)


Army to Meet with Nuclear Regulatory Commission re DU at Pohakuloa

The public can participate via teleconference at a meeting between U.S. Army officials and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff about the Army’s plans for dealing with, or not dealing with, depleted uranium shells left at U.S. Army firing ranges at Pohakuloa  Training Area on the Big Island’s Saddle area and at Schofield Barracks on O`ahu.  But you’ll have to get up early.

The meeting will take place in Rockville, Maryland, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST (3 a.m.-10 a.m. HST) on March 24. On the agenda is the Army’s proposed “pre-license amendment application submission” for a permit after the fact to have DU at the sites; participants will “discuss various topics related to the Army’s approach to add the remaining sites containing depleted uranium from the Davy Crockett munitions to Source Materials License No. SUC-1593…. The NRC staff understands that the Army intends to provide drafts of specific portions of its license amendment application for discussion.”  The NRC says it will release “All handouts and specific portions of the Army’s draft license amendment application that the Army plans to discuss at this meeting” in a “public meeting announcement in advance of this meeting.”

The Davy Crockett was a tactical nuclear artillery piece deployed during the Cold War; it was  designed to lob  nuclear bombs at massed Soviet armor in the event of a war in Europe.  Those nuclear shells were never fired, but to approximate their weight, practice shells of depleted uranium (DU) were used at sites such as Pohakuloa, and remnants of those shells have been found on the firing range there.  Some members of the public claim to have taken elevated Geiger counter readings at sites such as Mauna Kea State Park, and suspect that dust from pulverized DU at Pohakuloa may be to blame.  The Army has denied that the shells constitute any danger to the public.

Members of the public who wish to participate in the meeting via toll-free teleconference should contact Amy Snyder at
or e-mail her at amy.snyder@nrc.gov.  The docket number for the meeting is 04009083.

 

USGS Launches Vog Health study

From the United States Geological Survey:

ISLAND OF HAWAI`I, Hawaii—A new study to examine how people who live downwind of Kilauea Volcano cope with volcanic gas emissions, or vog, is currently underway. Led by Dr. Claire Horwell, Director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network and a researcher at Durham University in the United Kingdom, the study is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It will reach across multiple agencies, organizations, and communities in the State of Hawaii to help ensure that official advice about living with vog incorporates a wide range of experiences and knowledge.

Vog, the pollution formed from acidic gases and particles released by active volcanoes, is composed primarily of sulfur dioxide gas and its oxidation products, such as sulfate aerosol. Sulfur dioxide from Kilauea, now in its 33rd year of nearly continuous eruption, results in vog that continues to challenge communities, agriculture and infrastructure on the Island of Hawai`i, as well as across the State.

Communities downwind from K?lauea’s active vents frequently experience vog as a visible haze or as a sulfurous smell or taste. People exposed to vog report a variety of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, sore throats, and headaches. The Hawaii State Department of Health and the American Lung Association offer advice on vog protection measures, such as staying indoors and limiting physical activity when vog levels are high.

According to Dr. Horwell, she is investigating how Hawai?i communities use this advice and if they have developed their own strategies for protecting themselves from vog. “We’re working with State and county agencies with the end goal of providing consistent online advice, an informative pamphlet on vog exposure and protection, and updated guidance on how to access resources about vog,” she said.

Knowledge gained from the study in Hawaii, which has been funded by the British Council under the Research Links initiative, will also be relevant internationally, not only in volcanically active regions but also farther afield, as volcanic gases can travel downwind for many miles. For example, UK government agencies can draw on the Hawaii study as they prepare for the potential effects of future Icelandic eruptions.

Outcomes of the vog study will eventually be available online through the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network. IVHHN serves as a clearing house for information on the health impacts of volcanic eruptions and provides detailed information on volcanic gas and particle impacts.

Dr. Horwell is currently meeting with community and agency focus groups on the Island of Hawai`i and, in the coming weeks, will conduct surveys in a number of communities regularly affected by vog, including Volcano, P?hala, Ocean View and South Kona.

Hawai`i residents are encouraged to record how they cope with vog on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page established by Dr. Horwell.

Information on when and where community surveys will be conducted between now and the end of March is available on the ‘Vog Talk’ Facebook page or by calling .

For more information about Kilauea Volcano’s ongoing eruptions, please visit the USGS HVO website. Answers to “Frequently Asked Questions about SO2 and Vog” are also available online.