• 14 Feb 2015 /  environment, health and wellness, news

    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.

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  • SB1374. Related to Land Exchange.  Would appropriate $500,000 from the Legacy Land Fund and the Land Conservation Fund to study the possibility of exchanging state Land for Dole Co. farmland on O’ahu.  Would appropriate an as-yet-to-be-determined amount from the Land Conservation Fund to study the possibility of exchanging state land for Dole land in order to build a new prison on O’ahu.Alert: Scheduled for joint committee hearing hearing today.

    SB 499. Requires major capital improvement projects of the State or a county involving an infrastructure improvement project or construction project to include in the environmental assessments and environmental impact statements an analysis of the environmental impact of projected sea level rise or fall over the anticipated lifespan of the project. Alert: Scheduled for joint committee hearing hearing today.

    To follow and/or testify, click on the links above.

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  • From the County of Hawaii Dept. of Environmental Management:

    Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection events will occur between 8:30 a.m. and
    3:30 p.m., as follows:

    Saturday, March 7, 2015 at the Waimea Recycling and Transfer Station.
    Sunday, March 8, 2015 at the Pahoa Recycling and Transfer Station.
    These events are for household generated and self-hauled waste only. Business,
    government agency or farm wastes are not allowed. NO electronic waste will be
    accepted.
    The County of Hawai‘i Department of Environmental Management holds these regular
    collection events so households can conveniently dispose of acceptable HHW in a
    manner that protects both public health and the environment. Some types of
    acceptable HHW are automotive fluids, used batteries, fluorescent lights and pesticides.
    Latex paint will only be accepted at the Waimea event. For a more complete list of
    acceptable or unacceptable HHW, please visit our website www.hawaiizerowaste.org.
    The Web site includes other useful information on solid waste diversion and recycling.
    If you are unable to attend the events described above, the next scheduled HHW
    Collection Events will be on June 6, 2015 in Hilo and June 13, 2015 in Kailua-Kona
    (Kealakehe).
    Please direct your comments or questions regarding these HHW Collection Events to
    Chris Chin-Chance, Recycling Specialist with the Department of Environmental
    Management at 961-8554 or email to  recycle3@co.hawaii.hi.us. Mahalo for your k?kua.

  • Aloha, everyone.  Believe it or not, some folks are still trying to eliminate the Land Use Commission.  Let’s stop them!   Please submit testimony opposing HB 828, Relating to Land Use, which guts the LUC and eliminates its fair, deliberative process for most land use classification boundary amendments.  This bill has serious implications, especially for agricultural and conservation land, public trust resources, traditional and customary practices, and quality of life.  The hearing is this Friday.  Please share this Kokua Alert with others.  Mahalo nui loa.

    Description:  Upon approval by county land use decision-making authority, and with concurrence from Land Use Commission, requires boundary amendments reflected in certain plans to be adopted in accordance with such approved plans.  Prioritizes funding for public infrastructure in areas of planned growth.

    Hearing:  House Committee on Water and Land, Chair Ryan Yamane, Vice Chair Ty Cullen
    Friday, February 13, 2015, 10 am Room 325

    Link to hearing notice:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=828&year=2015
    Link to bill: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/bills/HB828_.HTM
    Link to submit testimony:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx

    Talking Points:

    Chair Yamane, Vice Chair Cullen, and Members of the Committee.

    I oppose HB 828 because it is not in the public’s best interest to politicize the Land Use Commission’s process for amending state land use classification boundaries.

    HB 828 requires the LUC to approve any district boundary amendment that is approved by a county council in any county general plan, development plan, or community plan.

    HB 828 will gut the LUC, making it a rubber-stamp body for narrow county and private interests.

    Developers cannot contribute money to Land Use Commissioners, but developers can – and do – contribute regularly to county council members, who would have authority over many boundary amendments if HB 828 passes.

    HB 828 could result in the immediate, rapid urbanization of thousands of acres of conservation and agricultural land across the state because there are large tracts of land already approved for urbanization in plans that have not been approved by the LUC.

    HB 828 would interfere with the LUC’s affirmative duty to protect constitutionally recognized Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and public trust resources.

    Many special places have been protected by the independent LUC and its fair process, including La‘au Point on west Moloka‘i, ‘O‘oma near Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Pohue Bay on the Big Island, and Keopuka next to Kealakekua Bay to name a few.

    HB 828 will eliminate the deliberative, quasi-judicial process – sometimes referred to as contested case hearings – for many important boundary amendments that would come before the LUC.

    Contested case hearings are the LUC’s most important power.  Contested case hearings are also one of the most valuable tools citizens, agencies, and businesses have to protect public trust resources.

    HB 828 would result in effectively taking away much-needed funds to repair aging infrastructure in existing areas where residents live and work by requiring the funding of infrastructure for areas of new growth.

    HB 828 appears to impose a duty on state and county agencies to provide funding for infrastructure (water, sewer, schools, roads, etc.) to support the new development without requiring the beneficiaries of the new infrastructure to pay any of the costs they are imposing on other taxpayers.

     

    –Marjorie Ziegler

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  • 11 Feb 2015 /  environment, news, State Legislature

    The House Committee on Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs will hold decision making on several measures relating to aquarium fishing and marine life. The bills were previously heard on Wednesday, February 11, and received nearly 4,000 pieces of testimony.

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  • 11 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS

    From County Civil Defense:

    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reports that a magnitude 6.9 earthquake occurred in Northern Chile. Based on all available data, a destructive Pacific wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii. Repeat, a destructive Pacific wide tsunami is not expected and there is no tsunami threat to Hawaii.

     

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  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.

    HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.

      HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.

    HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.

      HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.

     HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

    HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.

      HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.

      HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

     HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities.  Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.

      HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.

    HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.

      HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.

     HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

    HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.

     HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.

     HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.

     HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.

     HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.

      HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.

    HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax

    HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.

     HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.

    HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

    The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

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  • 06 Feb 2015 /  BULLETINS

    From Hawaii Police Department

    A Puna man apparently drowned Thursday (February 5) at Boiling Pots in Hilo.

    In response to a 5:13 p.m. call, police responded to Boiling Pots, where Fire Department rescue personnel located a submerged man, who was unresponsive, and attempted unsuccessfully to revive him.

    Witnesses said the man began struggling after swimming in an area under a waterfall.

    He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead.

    Police have tentatively identified him as a 33-year-old P?hoa man but are withholding his name pending positive identification and notification of his family.

    Police do not suspect foul play. The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest.

    An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

  • 05 Feb 2015 /  health and wellness, news

    (Ed’s. Note: This article has been revised to include new information after the County Council’s vote. –AM)

    As  Puna Geothermal Ventures, prepares to sink yet another well in lower Puna and residents, including former Mayor Harry Kim, testified in protest of the company’s plan to ignore the county ordinance prohibiting night-time drilling, Bloomberg News announced today PGV’s parent company, Ormat, was  selling a 40 percent share in its Hawaii projects to an Ontario firm called Northleaf Capital Partners.

    “The joint venture will include geothermal plants in Hawaii and Nevada and as well as recovered-energy facilities that convert waste heat at industrial sites into electricity,” reported the Bloomberg article.  The deal was projected to be sealed by the end of this month.

    According to Bloomberg reporter Justin Doom, Ormat will retain operational control of the facilities, and will use the Northleaf’s $175 million cash infusion “’to support future growth’ and repay existing debt.”

    Five-year-old Northleaf, a “spin out” of TD Bank Investment group, bills itself as “Canada’s largest independent global private markets manager and advisor.”  The company has branches and investments in England, Australia, New Zealand, the U.S. and the Far East. Among its holdings are shares in Australian pipeline terminals and wind farms, Solar panel installations in England, and a tollway concession in Colorado.  The company currently serves as an investment conduit fo about $6 billion worth of commitments from “public, corporate and multi-employer pension plans, university endowments, financial institutions and family offices.

    That announcement came as residents on Hawaii Island were testifying at the Hawaii County Council on Resolutions 58-15,  which requests that PGV comply with the county’s  Ordinance 12-151 banning night-time drilling activities; and Ordinance  59-15, requesting the county’s Corporate Counsel to re-examine the night-time drilling issue. Among those testifying was former Mayor Harry Kim,  who pointed out legal regulations originally protecting the people and environment during geothermal development had been gutted by a later state law. Kim wondered why the resolution was even necessary: “Since when do you as a council have to pass a resolution to say what we pass is law, when it is law?”

    But the day ended up with a win for the company.  Puna Councilmember Gregor, who’d introduced both resolutions, withdrew the first resolution after a meeting with PGV’s Mike Kaleikini, and the council defeated the second by5-4 vote after a closed door meeting with Corporation Council.

    PGV has maintained that its right to do night-time drilling was grandfathered in by its permits from the state. But residents have complained about possible health effects from gas leaks and about jet-engine-like noise levels during drilling. This week Hilo Attorney Gary Zamber, representing the citizen’s group Puna Pono Alliance, filed a “suit for declaratory and injunctive relief” against PGV’s nighttime drilling plans. But according to an e-mail from PPA head Robert Petricci, the organization will await the outcome of the county’s efforts before deciding if it will actually pursue the suit in court. Given the council’s actions, that lawsuit is likely to go forward now.

    –Alan McNarie

     

     

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  • Rep. Nicole Lowen (D-Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokahau(  has introduced the following:

    HB 482 (SB598): Related to Agriculture: would provide state subsidies for coffee farmers attempting to control invasive coffee borers with pesticides.

    HB484    Related to Energy. Creates a “community-based energy tariff” system to facilitate solar

    HB786 Relating to Videoconferencing:  Requires both chambers of the legislature to implement rules to permit residents to present testimony through audiovisual technology.

    Some other measures people may be interested in:

    HB849  Related to Agriculture. Establishes disclosure requirements for outdoor applications of pesticides in proximity to schools, childcare facilities, and certain commercial agricultural entities. Establishes reasonable pesticide buffer zones for sensitive areas. Establishes penalties.  Prohibits counties from passing “laws, ordinances, or resolutions to limit the rights of farmers and ranchers to engage in agricultural practices.”  Among the bill’s introducers: Clift Tsuji  (Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) Richard Onishi (D-Hilo, Kea’au, Kurtistown, Volcano), Mark Nakashima  (D: Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) and Cindy Evans (D: North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) NOTE: Hearing coming up before the House Agriculture Committee tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 5

    HB1514  Related to Environmental Protection. Establishes disclosure requirements for outdoor applications of pesticides in proximity to schools, childcare facilities, and certain commercial agricultural entities. Establishes reasonable pesticide buffer zones for sensitive areas. Establishes penalties. NOTE: Hearing coming up before the House Energy and Environmental Protection  Committee this Thursday Feb. 5 Committee tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 5

    HB380:  Related to the Hawaii Property Insurance Association. Breaks the HPIA’s moratorium on re-insuring properties in the lava zone.  Sponsors include the entire Big Island House delegation. NOTE: scheduled for hearing at House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee TODAY AT 2:45 p.m.

    Go to the attached links to track the bills and/or submit testimony.

     

     

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  • 31 Jan 2015 /  commentary

    (Ed. Note:  This weekend, while working on stories our new print edition of the Chronicle. I ran across this essay, which I wrote over a decade ago in the Hawaii Island Journal.  The stories I’m working on are  about the future of recycling on the Big Island, the influence of the real estate construction industry on government  and two proposed laws that would make it easier for people to live near their jobs. This piece is relevant to all three issues–and, sadly, just as pertinent now as it was then.  We still need to learn these lessons. –AM)

     

    by Alan McNarie

    This edition  contains yet another piece about waste and recycling by Alan D. McNarie.  Over the years since I first began writing for the Journal’s predecessor, Ka’u Landing, I’ve written tens of thousands of words on the topic – so many articles that I’ve lost count, and have sometimes referred to myself, jokingly, as “Mr. Garbage.” Frankly, I’m rather sick of writing about the subject.

    But it’s a topic that just won’t seem to go away, especially on an island forced to cope with mainland living habits in a limited space. The issue of what to do with East Hawai‘i’s garbage, especially, is one of the toughest, most intractable problems that the Kim administration faces – partly because of the previous administration’s inability to face it creatively, and partly because of the current council’s own inability to form a cohesive policy or to agree with the Mayor’s. Despite that, the island has made some significant progress, opening the Kea’au recycling center and steadily increasing the amount of recycling diverted from the island’s landfills. And  our neighbor island of Maui has made some even greater, highly innovative strides.

    But even on Maui, they’re only diverting about a third of the waste stream into recycling; they recently had to cap off their own landfill and start another. Recycling is never going to be the total answer. Nor is burning garbage to produce power; just look at the mountain of clinkers outside the Pepe’ekeo power plant, if you think it is. That cinder pile is quite likely the second-largest man-made artifact on this island, after the Hilo landfill. There will always be stuff that won’t burn, or that isn’t safe to burn, and there will always be ashes left after burning.

    We haven’t even begun to address the real issue, which is that we simply create too much waste. Changing that is going to be the toughest job of all, because it involves rethinking something that many of us summarize with a sacred phrase: the American Way of Life.

    Since the dark days after 9-11, our president and his minions have repeatedly said that we were going to war to defend the American Way of Life. It’s a catch phrase that our leaders use almost as much as “defending freedom.” But the American Way of Life is almost certainly the most extravagant and wasteful society ever conceived by humankind: a society shaped by three hundred years in which we solved our problems by grabbing more land and materials, until we’d expanded clear across a continent and halfway across the Pacific, gobbling up millions of years’ worth of resources — oil, coal, metals, timber, fossil groundwater, topsoil — in a mere twelve or so generations. In Minnesota, we turned an entire range of hills into a vast holes in the ground to extract iron; in Appalachia and the Western U.S., we’ve taken entire mountains for coal and copper. Now we’re starting to run out of nearly everything from oil to old-growth timber, so we’re buying or seizing everyone else’s resources. There are only 250 million or so of us, and over 6 billion people worldwide, yet we consume about 20 percent of the world’s energy.

    America’s westward expansion has shaped our culture in other ways, as well. The ability to seize new lands helped to form the original American Dream: instead of waiting to inherit your father’s farm or business, you went out and started your own. And frontier life no doubt helped shape our extraordinarily heightened cultural values of independence and self-reliance.

    Some time in the past fifty years or so, the American dream morphed from owning one’s own farm or business into owning a house in the suburbs — and still more recently, into owning a home or condo next to a golf course, inside a gated subdivision. But our encultured values of independence and self-reliance still drive us to occupy incredible amounts of space and use up incredible amounts of resources. We drive to work everyday in our own cars, burning up incredible amounts of gasoline. We drive to shopping. Each family home houses maybe two generations –the parents and their kids, until the kids turn 18, when they’re encouraged to “find their own place.” Each household must have pretty much everything it needs to function, from power tools and lawn tractors to eight place settings of dishes and flatware for entertaining guests. Very few Americans would survive if all their possessions were piled on top of them.

    Or if their waste streams were piled on top of them, either. We generate mountains of garbage. Some of it’s just worn-out stuff, but most of it is green waste (caused by our desire to own a little patch of land, like the vestige of a family farm, but not enough to support a sheep, so we buy steel sheep that burn gasoline and don’t digest what they eat), paper products and petroleum products — much of the latter two in the form of cardboard and plastic packaging. Instead of getting our hams from the family smokehouse, we get just enough meat for a couple of people; it’s wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam, and generally shipped from a packing plant miles (in our case on this island, often thousands of miles) away.

    Ironically, this drive for personal independence has left us, as a nation, incredibly dependent. Not only have we used up most of our own resources; we’ve created a lifestyle that’s so expensive that we can’t compete for jobs with the much of the rest of the world.

    Other cultures have more-or-less tolerated our resource-hogging, so far, because they know how to live comfortably on much less. I saw this first-hand when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand. Thai families lived perfectly happily with at least three, sometimes four generations in each home. Middle-aged men living with their parents were common; a young man who got married often moved his wife into his parent’s household. And families lived within walking distance their work; teachers lived in housing supplied by the school; factory workers lived in housing supplied by the factory; shopkeepers lived over their shops, and farm families lived on their farms. Nearly every farm was located within bicycling distance of the nearest village. For rare occasions when a trip to the city was necessary, there was plenty of cheap public transportation. Nobody needed a car.

    And everyone shared what they had. I’ve often pointed to the example of the bicycle pump that I owned. I was living in a factory-worker’s house behind a furniture factory, since the school’s housing was full. All the factory workers borrowed my bicycle pump, whenever they needed one. Sometimes I would have to go looking for it when I needed it, but eventually it always came back. And of course, one doesn’t need a bicycle pump all that often.

    The pump was a sturdy iron thing, weighing six or seven pounds, with a three-foot length of hose. By sharing it with twelve families, I saved at least 72 pounds of processed iron and 36 feet of rubber hose, and all the energy required to mine, harvest, manufacture and transport those resources. And all those families saved the money required to purchase their own bicycle pump.

    Multiply those figures by the scores of such objects that the average American household has. The resource and financial savings are pretty staggering.

    That was only the beginning of the resource conservation inherent in Thai society. A typical Thai toilet, flushed by dipping a bowl into a tank and throwing the water into the toilet bowl, required only a quart or two of water to flush. Instead of a dozen different cleaning products, Thais generally bought a big box of what Americans would call laundry detergent, and used it for everything from dish washing to scrubbing floors. Goods in stores seldom came in packages, if that could be avoided. Paper bags, when they were needed, were made from glued-together magazine pages. All of the paper at our school was recycled: thicker, looser stuff than American paper, but actually easier on the eyes because it wasn’t glaring white. Nobody used incandescent bulbs in their homes or businesses; every light was fluorescent. Most food came from local farms, which sometimes used chemicals that were banned in the U.S., but which also engaged in what, in the U.S., would be called permaculture. When I stayed with a host family during my Peace Corps training, I was surprised to discover that every tree in the “forest” surrounding my family’s house produced something edible. The family wasted little food, and generated relatively little trash–and most of that was composted.

    I have lived the American Way of Life and the Thai Way of Life. I can testify that Thais are no less happy, and probably are generally happier than Americans.

    In the global economy, we are now competing directly with the Thais, and the Chinese, and the Mexicans, and dozens of other cultures that have learned these hard lessons of conservation and sharing. The whole world cannot afford to live the American Way of Life, nor can it afford to let us keep turning its resources into mountains of garbage. Eventually, it will stop letting us do so–if not by bombing us, then by selling us things until it has all our money and owns all our assets.

    Ronald Reagan was fond of saying that there really were simple solutions, there just weren’t easy solutions. In this case, I agree with him. If we don’t want to truck garbage across the island, and if we don’t want foreigners hating us so much that they fly airplanes into our extravagant skyscrapers, then the solution to both problems is simple, but very hard: we must change our way of life. We must stop demanding that the world support our lifestyle; we must learn to share and conserve, and develop social institutions that allow us to do so.

    This may be easier to do in Hawai‘i than on the Mainland, because many island residents already have roots in cultures that knew better, and many Hawai’i residents of American ancestry came to these islands in search of an alternate way of doing things. In Hawai‘i, we don’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, typical Americans. We can choose the best of American culture – its emphasis on human rights and democracy, for instance — and the best of our other root cultures as well. Perhaps Hawai’i can forge a way of life that the Mainland can imitate. But we need to get started. The landfills are overflowing, and gasoline is over $3 a gallon

     

     

     

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  • 31 Jan 2015 /  Uncategorized

    From Michael Marshall:

    The month of February has been designated as Black History Month (BHM) in the effort to raise awareness about the African American experience in the USA and create cultural connections between the diverse populations of the UH Hilo community.

    The Civil rights movement,which benefited all under-represented minority groups, evolved from the aspirations of African Americans and need for this population to be recognized and included as vital members of society. In spite of this, the future that was envisioned by civil rights leaders and their communities has not materialized or reached a level of equity among these groups which is reflected in the ongoing institutionalized racism and discrimination that occurs in every corner of the nation.
    The University of Hawaii at Hilo (UH Hilo) in collaboration with Hawai`i Community College (HawCC) is planning events for Black History month. The following events will be featured throughout the month of February:

    • The Loving Story: Film Documentary
    Thursday, February 5, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
    Location: UCB 100
    Free
    Q & A to follow with Deloris Guttman, Historian from the African Am. Diversity Cultural Center of HI

    • Eric Bibb – Blues Guitar
    Wednesday, February 11, 7:30pm
    Location: UH Hilo Performing Arts Center
    Fee: $12/$17 Students

    • Prince Ea: Award winning Rapper, & You Tube sensation from St Louis
    Tuesday, February 17, 6 p.m. Life Performance
    Opening Acts include: Quadaja Herriot, Spoken Word Poet and
    Zach Street, Slam Poet
    Location: Campus Center Plaza
    Wednesday, February 18, 12:00 p.m. Talk Story Session
    Location: Campus Center 301
    Free

    • El Hajj Malik Reading: Chronicles the life of Malcom X
    50th Anniversary of his assassination
    Thursday, February 19; 12:30 p.m.
    Location: UH Hilo Dining Room in Campus Center
    (will feature soul food on the menu)

    • Kyle Abraham; Abraham.in.motion Dance Co.
    February 24; 7:30 p.m.
    Location: UH Hilo Performing Arts Center
    Fee: $15/$20 Students

    • Donald Suggs; Publisher & Executive Editor of the St. Louis Am. Newspaper
    February 25, 2:00-3:30 p.m.
    Location: UCB 127
    Free

    The committee that planned these events is comprised of faculty, staff, and students. Sponsors include UH Hilo Art Dept, MAAP, Student Health & Wellness; various student organizations including UHHSA, SAC, BOMB BOSP; and HAWCC History Dept. and Student Council. Each of these groups has dedicated their time and resources in their own special way to make the events for this memorable month a success.
    For more information please contact the MAAP office at 932-7461. For disability accommodations, call 933-0818 (V), 933-3334(TTY).

  • 30 Jan 2015 /  BULLETINS, news

    From the Hawaii Police Department:

    Hawai?i Island detectives are at the scene of a fatal fire in H?lualoa.

    At 1:56 a.m. Thursday (January 29), Kona Patrol officers responded to a residential fire on the 76-5200 block of Old M?malahoa Highway.

    When they arrived, the one-story house was fully engulfed in flames. Fire Department personnel extinguished the fire.

    Two adults and two children were able to exit the house. Two other children, tentatively identified as an 11-year-old boy and a 6-year-old boy, died in the fire. Their identity is being withheld pending positive identification.

    Police and Fire Department personnel are jointly investigating the cause of the fire.

    Police do no suspect foul play. An autopsy will be scheduled to determine the exact cause of death.

    For full details, view this message on the web.

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  • 29 Jan 2015 /  Uncategorized
    http://s3.amazonaws.com/nixle/uploads/pub_media/user5252-1422593990-media1

    Troutman

    (Media release) — A Hawaii Police Department sergeant has been arrested and charged with four offenses in connection with an early morning incident in Kapa?au.

    In response to a 1:50 a.m. call, officers responded to a home on Kynnersley Road, where it was reported that 62-year-old Marvin Kelly Troutman had pulled the hair of a 55-year-old woman and then threatened her and an 18-year-old man.

    When police responded, Troutman reportedly threatened a 44-year-old police officer.

    He was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, which is responsible for domestic abuse cases, continued the investigation.

    At 3:35 p.m. Thursday (January 29), Troutman was charged with abuse of a family/household member and three counts of terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $4,000.

    In addition to the criminal investigation, police have initiated an internal administrative investigation into the incident. Troutman, a sergeant in charge of the Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit, has been placed on administrative leave.

  • 29 Jan 2015 /  health and wellness, news, politics

    The State Legislature Women’s Caucus released its endorsements of the following bills today. The links below that begin with “HB” lead to the House versions of each bill; the “SB” number following is the Senate companion version of the same bill. The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by following the links or by logging onto the Capitol Web site.

     

    IMPROVING REPORTING & ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES RELATED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULT

    HB446/SB384, relating to the Confidentiality Program, Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund and Confidentiality Program Grant Fund
    Establishes the Address Confidentiality Program to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault relocate and keep their addresses confidential. Creates the Address Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund.

    HB447/SB390, relating to domestic abuse, Department of Human Services and Family Court
    Removes certain unnecessary and redundant reporting responsibilities of the family courts and the Department of Human Services in cases where temporary restraining orders are sought for alleged domestic abuse involving a family or household member who is a minor or incapacitated person.

    HB448/SB386, relating to domestic violence fatality reviews and Department of Health
    Requires the Department of Health to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides. Requires the DOH to enter into a memorandum of understanding to develop procedures for obtaining information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner assaults. Requires reviews to commence within one year following the death, near-death, or suicide. Requires information and recommendations from the review process to be compiled for system reform efforts.

    HB453/SB391, relating to psychologists continuing education, ethics and domestic violence
    Amends the continuing education requirement for psychologists to include at least three credit hours of ethics training and at least two credit hours of domestic violence training.

    HB452/SB393, relating to statewide sexual assault services, the Attorney General, base budget and appropriations
    Appropriates funds to increase the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services for fiscal biennium 2016-2017 to $2,380,000 per fiscal year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, requires the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services to be at least $2,380,000 per fiscal year.

    REDUCING VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

    HB451/SB387, relating to affirmative consent and the University of Hawaii system
    Requires the University of Hawaii system to establish and enforce an affirmative consent standard for all policies and protocols relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as a condition of receiving state funds for student assistance.

    ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

    HB455/SB385, relating to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, the Department of Health and appropriations
    Appropriates funds to the Department of Health for the breast and cervical cancer control program.

    ADDRESSING HAWAII’S HIGH COST OF LIVING FOR WORKING FAMILIES

    HB454/SB392, relating to the income tax credit and low-income household renters
    Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.

    RESTORING PUBLIC TRUST WITH TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY OVER POLICE POLICIES & PROCEDURES

    HB449/SB388, relating to county police departments, domestic violence policies and standards of conduct
    Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

    HB450/SB389, relating to police commissioners, county police commissions, composition and requirements
    Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that three commissioners on each police commission have backgrounds, including equality for women, civil rights, and law enforcement for the benefit of the public.

     

  • 29 Jan 2015 /  BULLETINS, Closures, environment

    The Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation has received a $50,000 grant from the Hawaii Tourism Authority to eradicate little fire ants, and it’s wasting no time putting the money to use.  The department only announced the grant yesterday, but today it announced that Hilo’s Kawamoto Swim Stadium would be closed on February 5 to treat it for the tiny stinging pests.  Future ant-eradication targets for the program include Richardson Ocean Park, Pana`ewa Rainforest Zoo an Gardens and Liliu`okalani Gardens.

    Little fire ants are considered to be one of the worst invasive species worldwide. In recent years, they have spread to tropical environments around the world, from Florida to Israel to Papua New Guinea.  The ants are about as long as a penny is thick, but their sting can cause a burning rash as large as a human hand. Unlike many ant species, little fire ant queens do not fly; they spread mainly by “hitch-hiking” in potted plants and in transported soil and soil amendments.  For more information about them, see the Hawaii Ant Lab’s Web site.

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