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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Micronesians are among those who can travel freely to Hawaiʻi, live here and receive many U.S. public services.
Rep. Ed case is calling for Congress to extend these services which have been in place since 1986. He and Rep.
Tulsi Gabbard ask for the federal government to reimburse Hawaiʻi. Photo from Grass Roots Institute of Hawaiʻi
REIMBURSE COSTS OF PUBLIC SERVICES FOR MARSHALLESE and other migrants to Hawaiʻi from Pacific islands covered by the federal Compacts of Free Association. That is the proposal from Congressman Ed Case, who formerly represented Kaʻū in Congress and now represents urban Oʻahu. The COFA covers islanders who come from Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau, and Federated States of Micronesia. Together these islands form the Freely Associated States.
     The Compacts of Free Association between United States and Freely Associated States were approved in 1986 and give the U.S. exclusive access to land for military bases in exchange for the islanders to be able to travel and live in the U.S., and receive public services. The agreement is undergoing renegotiation to extend it. Under COFA, these Pacific islanders can live and work in the United States - and participate in public education, health, and other benefits - and the costs to Hawaiʻi and other jurisdictions providing services is supposed to be addressed through federal payments, said Case is a statement released today. "Referred to as Compact Impact aid, the funds have not covered the actual costs to affected jurisdictions." Many of these islanders live in Kaʻū and send their children to local schools here.
Islanders from the Marianas, Palu, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands are covered
by the Compacts of Free Association, which allow them to freely travel here and receive services, in
exchange for the U.S. government maintaining exclusive access to land for military operations.
     Case - joined by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Guam Delegate Michael San Nicolas, and Northern Mariana Islands Delegate Gregorio Sablan - wrote a letter to the Secretaries of Defense, State, and the Interior, the federal departments most directly involved in FAS matters. The group called on the Administration to "explicitly address full and adequate Compact aid to all disproportionately affected jurisdictions" as part of the renegotiation. COFA renewals must be approved by Congress.
     Said Case, "Unfortunately, the related costs of FAS migrants residing in Hawai‘i, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Samoa have ballooned far beyond the assistance provided by our federal government, and the affected jurisdictions can no longer reasonably be expected to bear the burden of this federal responsibility.
     Case cited as an example that in 2003, when the RMI and FSM Compacts were renewed, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated around 20,000 FAS migrants in these four jurisdictions. "As of 2018, that estimate has grown to more than 38,000 FAS migrants, with the vast majority in Hawai‘i and Guam," said Case. 
     Case said that not only has the total number of migrants grown over the years, the but so have the public services cost of each migrant. "For Fiscal Year 2018 alone, the State of Hawai‘i estimated costs of about $198 million for direct services to support FAS migrants for primarily health and education, and Guam reported more than $147 million in such costs for Fiscal Year 2017."
     In contrast, Case pointed out, "for Fiscal Year 2019 Compact impact aid, the U.S. Department of Interior distributed just $16.8 million for Guam, $2.3 million for the Northern Mariana Islands, $23,000 for American Samoa – and $14.8 million for Hawai‘i.
     "In short, the actual impact of the Compacts on our jurisdictions far exceeds existing federal assistance – and that gap is growing and can only be expected to continue to grow," said Case. "As a result, our state and territorial governments bear a disproportionate responsibility for the Compacts in the form of the significant and growing financial costs associated with FAS migrants.
     "While we welcome the important and growing contributions of FAS migrant communities in our jurisdictions and recognize the national security value of the Compacts, the status quo is financially unsustainable for our jurisdictions. Without corresponding increases of guaranteed federal assistance to fully reimburse our jurisdictions being included as part and parcel of the Congressional Compact extension approval process, we will find it difficult to support Compact renewal," said Case.

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OPPOSITION TO INDUSTRIAL SOLAR INSTALLATIONS that would cover 26 lots in three Ocean View neighborhood is based, in part, on the project being proposed eight years ago and the changing economics of affordable electricity in the meantime, according to complaints filed with the state Public Utilities Commission. See the Tuesday, Nov. 26 Kaʻū News Briefs.
     In 2011, SPI Energy's predecessors, Solar Hub Utilities and RevoluSun, were admitted to the Feed in Tarrif Program to produce electricity to be sold to Hawaiʻi Electric Light Co, based on their declaration that they would complete Ocean View installations between August 2012 and January 2013. It was a time when incentives were abundant for solar projects, including pricing that was higher than now.
     The Ocean View community only became aware of Solar Hub's plans via a news report in West Hawaiʻi Today in May, 2013. At that time, readers were told that construction "could begin as soon as 60 - 90 days." However, at a meeting with Solar Hub's spokesman,Pat Shudak, the community voiced objection to the project that would place lotline to lot-line solar installation within neighborhoods.
     During two years of inactivity, from May 2013 to June 2015, residents assumed that the project had fallen through. However, on June 15, 2015, Hawaiʻi Electric Light Co. reserved the Ocean View Community Center to announce plans for a new substation and transmission line to service the project. At that meeting, a HELCO spokesperson said that the project would include eight more sites and would be built by SPI Energy. She said that it was a "done deal."
     Community resistance to the project grew, with meetings, numerous letters to the PUC, a petition, a referendum, video news and regular press, magazine, and blog reports. To date, no site work has been done by SPI Energy. However, the company has asked that complaints, opposing the project be dismissed. Ocean View residents responded that the cost of electricity produced by the project would be higher than other sources and despoil their neighborhoods. See yesterday's Kaʻū News Briefs.

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ENDING HOMELESSNESS AND HOUSING POVERTY in the U.S. is the goal of legislation introduced by Senators Mazie Hirono, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Cory Booker (D-NJ). The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act lays out a ten-year investment in federal housing and homelessness programs that the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates would effectively end homelessness and housing poverty in the United States, stated Hirono in a press release. "The Act would provide a long-term, dependable level of investment in four federal housing programs that have proven successful in combating homelessness and housing poverty across the country: Emergency Solutions Grants, Continuum of Care Grants, the Housing Trust Fund, and tenant-based rental assistance," said a statement from Hirono.
Hawaiʻi is in red, among highest need for affordable homes. See
National Low Income Housing Coalition Report on Hawaiʻi.
    She said that "Communities and service providers in Hawaiʻi and across the country do the best they can with the resources they have to help our neighbors in need. However, federal dollars simply don't go far enough. At the same time, too many workers and families struggle to get and keep affordable rental housing. The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act rejects the divisive policies of the Trump Administration, and lays out the sustained, 10-year federal investment that on-the-ground providers and experts estimate is needed to help get those most in need off the street and into supportive, safe housing quickly and expand affordable housing stock for the long-term."
     Said Gillibrand, "No one should ever be without a place to call home, but there are far too many families in New York and across the country facing homelessness. Access to safe and affordable housing should be a basic human right in the United States."
     The Act aims to help states and organizations get those experiencing homelessness into shelter quickly and efficiently, and expand access to safe, affordable housing. Emergency Solutions and Continuum of Care would each receive $10 billion more per year. The Housing Trust Fund would receive $40 billion more per year. Tenant-based rental assistance (vouchers) would be fully funded.
     The Pathways to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act has the support of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
     Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said, "Through robust investments in the national Housing Trust Fund, housing vouchers, and homeless assistance grants, Senator Hirono's bill addresses the underlying, systemic causes of the affordable housing and homelessness crisis: the widening gap between incomes and housing costs and severe shortage of homes affordable and available to the lowest-income people. We must build the political will to enact this important bill."
     Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, said, the Act "will address the critical need for more help for those in our nation who are struggling to keep roofs over their heads. The bill recognizes that homelessness results largely from the lack of affordable housing – while also acknowledging that until the national gap in affordable housing is filled, short-term assistance will be needed by people who have become homeless. It provides to-scale support for the most effective homeless programs, the Continuum of Care Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant Program. Similarly, it increases support for highly effective housing programs: the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the National Housing Trust Fund. The National Alliance to End Homelessness thanks the Senator for her leadership in meeting the needs of some of the nation's most vulnerable people."
     The release from Hirono states that, in September, the Trump Administration "took aim at those experiencing homelessness in the US, releasing a report targeting a handful of states and cities and offering policy responses like increasing policing of this vulnerable community and rounding up and relocating homeless communities in an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach. At the time, the president said that homeless individuals were taking over 'our best highways and our best streets' and that 'sick' homeless individuals were ruining US cities. On Nov. 14, the executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness was ousted from the role he's held since 2015.
     "On top of targeting those already experiencing homelessness, the Administration has repeatedly taken steps that would increase the number of families and individuals living in unstable housing situations and those at risk of homelessness. Every budget they have put forward zeros out critical programs aimed at alleviating homelessness and housing poverty. Congress has rejected these cuts, which would dismantle our current federal homelessness and affordable housing response framework and leave already-under resourced states, cities, and service providers with less tools to address homelessness and the affordable housing crisis," said Hirono.

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STATE REP. RICHARD CREAGAN WILL DISCUSS HIS 2020 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA at the Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United, Kaʻū Chapter, meeting on Saturday, Nov. 30, 10 a.m.at Pāhala Plantation House. Creagan is Chair of the state House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture. All persons working or interested in agriculture are invited. A potluck lunch will be served.
     HFUU Pres. Matt Drayer, a farmer and chef in Wood Valley, said that plans are being made by the organization for 2020, including agriculture education, events, and reviewing legislation and issues before the county, state, and federal policymakers that affect Kaʻū.
     For more information on HFUU, call Drayer at 808-339-8737.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
See monthly and weekly Kaʻū and Volcano Events, Meetings, Entertainment, Exercise, and Meditation at kaucalendar.com.

UPCOMING
THURSDAY, NOV. 28
Free Thanksgiving Dinner, Thursday, Nov. 28, noon-3p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Thanksgiving Day Buffet, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2-6p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp's Crater Rim Cafe. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixin's. $23.95/adult, $13.95/child (ages 6-11). Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8356, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

FRIDAY, NOV. 29
Holiday Challenge, Friday, Nov. 29, through beginning of Jan. 2020. Community invited to come out and vote for their favorite decorated cottage/activity. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. 967-8371, kilaueamilitarycamp.com

12th Annual Kamahalo Craft Fair, Friday, Nov. 29, 9a.m.-4p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 30, 9a.m.-3p.m., The Cooper Center, Volcano Village. Food vendors, homegrown products, and quality homemade crafts for sale. 936-9705, thecoopercenter.org

Kahuku Coffee Talk: Creatures that Have Evolved in the Dark, Friday, Nov. 29, 9:30-11a.m., Kahuku Unit Visitor Contact Station. Join local experts to learn about lava tubes and some interesting animals that call them home. Free. nps.gov/havo

Volcano Village Artists Hui 33rd Annual Studio Tour & Sale, Friday, Nov. 29, Saturday, Nov. 30, and Sunday, Dec. 1, 10a.m.-4p.m., map available at volcanovillage
artistshui.com. Meet artists and view wide variety of artwork on display and available for purchase.

Program Preview Exhibit, Friday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Nov. 30, 10a.m.-4p.m., Volcano Art Center. See what programs, events, and exhibits VAC has lined up for 2020. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

SATURDAY, NOV. 30
Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United, Kaʻū Chapter, meeting on Saturday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. at Pāhala Plantation House. All persons working or interested in agriculture are invited. A potluck lunch will be served. Learn of plans for 2020, including agriculture education, events, and reviewing legislation and issues before the county, state, and federal policymakers that affect Kaʻū. Rep. Richard Creagan, Chair of the state House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, will announce his 2020 legislative goals. For more information on HFUU, call Pres. Matt Drayer at 808-339-8737.

AdvoCATS, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 7a.m.-4:30p.m., Ocean
View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

Palm Trail, Sunday, Nov. 30, 9:30-12:30p.m., Kahuku Unit, HVNP. Free, moderately difficult hike - 2.6 mile loop. nps.gov/havo

Girls Nite Out Band, Saturday, Nov. 30, 7-10p.m., Kīlauea Military Camp's Lava Lounge, in HVNP. $5 cover charge. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. kilaueamilitarycamp.com

SUNDAY, DEC. 1
Pu‘u Lokuana, Sunday, Dec. 1, 9:30-11a.m., Kahuku Unit, HVNP. Free, short, moderately difficult, 0.4 mile hike. nps.gov/havo

Ham Radio Potluck Picnic, Sunday, Dec. 1 – 1st Sunday, monthly – noon-2p.m., Manukā State Park. Anyone interested in learning about ham radio is welcome to attend. View sites.google.com/
site/southpointarc or sites.
google.com/viewith southhawaiiares/home. Rick Ward, 938-3058

MONDAY, DEC. 2
Cultural Understanding through Art and the Environment: Dietrich Varez Block Printing with Desiree Moana Cruz, Monday, Dec. 2, 11a.m.-1p.m., Volcano Art Center. No registration required. $10 per person supply fee. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

Ocean View Volunteer Fire Department Mtg., Monday, Dec. 2, 4-6p.m., Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Name that Holiday Tune Registration, Dec. 2-5, Kahuku Park. Program takes place Friday, Dec. 6, 3-4p.m. Ages 6-14. 929-9113, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

TUESDAY, DEC. 3
Hawai‘i County Council Mtgs., Tuesday, Dec. 3 (Committees), Wednesday, Dec. 4 (Council), Hilo. Ka‘ū residents can participate via videoconferencing at Nā‘ālehu State Office Building. Agendas at hawaiicounty.gov.

Ka‘ū Homeschool Co–op Group, Tuesday, Dec. 3 and 17, 9a.m., Ocean View Community Center. Parent-led homeschool activity and social group, building community in Ka‘ū. Call to confirm location before attending. Laura Roberts, 406-249-3351

Empower Meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 3 and 17 – every other Tuesday, monthly – 1p.m., PARENTS, Inc. office, Nā‘ālehu. Empowering girls group. Registration required. Diana, 935-4805

Ka‘ū Coffee Growers Mtg., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 6-8p.m., Pāhala Community Center.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 4
Holiday Ornament Registration, Dec. 4-16, Kahuku Park. Program takes place Wednesday, Dec. 18, 3-4p.m. Ages 6-14. 929-9113, hawaiicounty.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/recreation

ONGOING
Vote for Izaiah "Bobby" Pilanca-Emmsley for the Wedemeyer Award - Two-Way Player of the Year, at khon2.com/uncategorized/vote-2019-cover2-hawaii-high-school-football-awards/. Voting remains open through Monday, Nov. 25. The winners will be announced on Thanksgiving by the L.A. Rams. Pilanca-Emmsley is the only candidate from Kaʻū. Fans can vote for six of the seven awards presented.

Vendor Booth Space is Available for the Kamahalo Craft Fair. The 12th annual event will be held Thanksgiving weekend, Friday, Nov. 299 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 30, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Cooper Center. Booths are open for crafters with quality homemade and homegrown products. Food vendors must prepare all food items in a certified kitchen and must have a Department of Health permit displayed prominently at their booth. Application online at thecoopercenter.org. Direct questions to 936-9705 or kilaueatutu@gmail.com.

Tūtū & Me Home Visiting Program is a free service to Pāhala families with keiki, birth to five years old. This caregiver support program offers those taking care of young keiki "a compassionate listening ear, helpful parenting tips and strategies, fun and exciting activities, and wonderful educational resources" from Tūtū & Me Traveling Preschool. Home visits are one hour in length, two to four times per month, for 12 to 15 visits. Snacks are provided. See pidfoundation.org or call 808-938-1088.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.


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