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Ka‘ū News Briefs, Monday, January 20, 2020

ʻO Kaʻū Kākou's annual Keiki Fishing Tournament will be open for registration this Wednesday, Jan. 22. The annual
event takes place this year at Punaluʻu on  Saturday, Feb. 22. See okaukakou.org and the
organization's Facebook page. See more details below. Photo by Nalani Parlin
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY drew a message today from Kaʻū's congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: "Today is, in many ways, the most important of our nation's cherished holidays. Martin Luther King Jr. Day represents who we aspire to be rather than simply celebrating who we are or what we've been. On this day, we celebrate Dr. King's legacy — the values of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
     "Dr. King's legacy is one of love. Through his life, he showed us all by his example how, even in our darkest of days, we can choose love. His example has inspired me from a very young age, where I personally experienced that I was happiest when serving God, working for the wellbeing of others and the planet. It's what has motivated me throughout my life, serving in public office, and serving our nation in uniform.
     "Today I stood at the state house in Columbia, South Carolina to honor Dr. King's legacy, to remember Ms. Septima Clark of Charlestown who Dr. King called the 'Mother of the Movement,' and to reflect on today's importance to our nation, to all its people, to me:
Kaʻū's Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at Martin Luther King celebration in Columbia, South Carolina today.
Photo from Gabbard
Click here to watch full speech from today's MLK Day event.
     "Ultimately, the legacy of Dr. King is one of peace and freedom. He understood that the road to peace, freedom, and justice requires that we stand up to violence, injustice and fear without doing greater violence, inflicting greater injustice or instilling greater fear. He understood that if we are serious about being a force for good in the world, a force for God's love, we must proceed from a place of love for all of God's children.
     "Dr. King opposed the Vietnam War, because he saw the connection between the fact that our government spent '$35 billion a year' to fight in Vietnam, but would not spend '$44 million to get rid of the rats' in impoverished American communities.
     "Today, our leaders waste trillions of dollars on the new cold war and wasteful regime change wars that haven't made us any safer, and then they tell us we can't afford healthcare and education."
     Gabbard wrote that if she should become U.S. President, she would "uphold Dr. King's legacy by taking the trillions of dollars we are now wasting to enact death and destruction, and investing it in the cause of life and renewal here in the United States of America."

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STRONG ECONOMIC MEASURES are promised by the 2020 Hawaiʻi Legislature, which is underway. The House of Representatives, Senate, and Gov. David Ige issued a joint statement, as House Speaker Scott Saiki announced a package of bills to tackle issues highlighted in Aloha United Way's 2017 report called ALICE: A Study of Financial Hardship in Hawaiʻi
      The ALICE Report sponsors are Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, and Bank of Hawaiʻi. ALICE - Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed - describes economic hardships of many working individuals and families in Hawaiʻi. After paying for expenses such as housing, child care, food, taxes, health care, and transportation, a family of four needs to earn roughly $77,000 a year simply to survive, according to ALICE.
     The Speaker said the aim is to address the high cost of living in Hawaiʻi by directly supporting "individuals and families who are struggling the most to make ends meet. Every dollar counts when you are trying to stretch each paycheck just to meet basic needs. By increasing wages and tax benefits, investing in child care, and creating more affordable housing units, the Legislature, together with public and private partners, is working to end the cycle of poverty."
     This is the first joint House and Senate legislative bill package since 2004 and it has the backing of the Governor. Saiki called it "an example of innovative reforms and targeted investments to help ensure a better future for residents and the state."
ALICE is the inspiration for a package of proposals in
the 2020 Hawaiʻi Legislature that seek to reduce poverty,
raise income and housing opportunities, and improve
education. Image from The ALICE Report
     Senate Pres. Ron Koichi said, "In these divisive times, this collaborative package is the result of the hard work done over the interim months by House and Senate leaders, with input from stakeholders and administrative departments, that strikes an optimistic tone in addressing these issues. We are aware that this is a good first step toward making a difference and hopefully, with continued cooperation from all parties, we will continue to invest in Hawaiʻi and in our youth."
     Ige said it provides a blueprint for changes for generations to come, to better the lives of Hawaiʻi's people and make the islands a place that future generations will be able afford to call home. "Many of our families are living paycheck to paycheck, and this proposed package of bills is designed to ease the burden on those struggling to stay afloat and provide a more stable future for the next generation."
     The legislative economic package targets tax relief for working class families and individuals; increases the minimum wage, develops leasehold housing for the working class; provides tax exemptions for developers to build below market priced homes; provides infrastructure for developments at or near rail stations; expands childcare options for parents near their work places, creates a new Schools Facilities Agency and allows the state Department of Education to focus on education.
     Rep. Sylvia Luke, Chair of the House Finance Committee pointed to the ALICE report, saying it "shows that large cost drivers, primarily taxes, housing, and childcare, coupled with relatively low income levels make cost of living a challenge for too many Hawaiʻi families. Instead of trying to resolve these issues in silos, we, along with community members, came together and decided, 'Let's help our working people.' That's why what we have is not just about wages, and not just about affordability of housing, and not just about childcare needs. It's about raising up that entire group of our population."
     Ways and Means Committee Chair Donovn Dele Cruz said, "This joint House, Senate, Governor effort is a real integrated approach to help working families with increasing their take home pay amounts, providing pre-school for their children, and increasing housing supply." A joint press release from the House, Senate and Governor describes programs:
Reducing Income Inequality: "To put money back into the pockets of residents, one measure will provide tax relief for working families by making the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) refundable and permanent. That means qualified families can get a cash refund of up to $380 through this tax credit. For many people, earning minimum wage is not enough to provide enough to live on. This package includes a bill that will provide incremental increases in the minimum wage bringing it to $13 an hour by 2024. But raising the minimum wage alone is not a solution to providing economic stability."
     Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Chair of the Labor and Public Employment Committee, said, "The $75 million in tax relief is some of the largest "for working class folks that the Legislature has made in the last few decades. By coupling a minimum wage increase with the tax relief, we're ensuring that working class families and individuals not only increase their income, but also offset any increased taxes from those wage gains."
     Senate Labor, Culture, and the Arts Chair Brian T. Taniguchi said, "I like the idea of a joint Senate-House-Governor proposal for a package that addresses income inequality by providing relief for the working poor. Although the increases to the minimum wage may seem modest, the proposal must be seen in its overall positive impact and in its embrace of the 'aloha spirit' toward those that are struggling in our society."
     Norm Baker, chief operating officer at Aloha United Way, said, "The Alice Report showed us that 47 percent of our households are barely able to provide for the five basic essentials of housing, childcare, food, transportation, and healthcare. These families are left vulnerable as their budget – $28,296 for a single adult and $77,052 for a family of four – does not allow for savings and unexpected expenses. It could take just one incident for these households to fall into a crisis. We have to do better for our families. We are grateful that our lawmakers are working on a legislative package and partnering with nonprofits and the private sector to create solutions that will help lift our ALICE households."

Increasing Affordable Housing: The proposal states that the ability to buy a home is part of the American dream but many in Hawaiʻi cannot compete with outside investors to purchase homes and condos beyond their economic reach. To address this issue, the state will identify publicly-owned properties that can be used to develop 99-year leasehold units. Half of those homes will be reserved for working-class families earning up to 140 percent of the area median income (AMI).
     Rep. Tom Brower, Chair of the House Housing Committee, said, "Leasehold sales will ensure that the homes will be reserved for local residents because the investment market is not interested in leasehold. And leasehold will keep the prices down well below the median therefore making it affordable."
     According to the plan, the state will also invest $200 million in General Obligation Bonds to defray infrastructure costs for developers willing to build around the first open rail stations in West Oahu and offer a General Excise Tax exemption for projects that meet the goal of 140 percent AMI or below. "The goal is to build 10,000 units," said Brower. "Developers say the cost of infrastructure makes projects cost prohibitive. This provides a great incentive and will jumpstart construction and expand the number of affordable, available homes on the market."
Fifty-five percent of Hawaiʻi Island residents are below the
ALICE Threshold. Image from ALICE
Access to Learning for all 3- and 4-year-olds: The proposal states that all families want the best for their children and studies have shown that an early education contributes significantly to how well a student does in school. But finding affordable child care that is also convenient to homes or business is often difficult.
     The proposal says: "The lack of affordable child care serves as a major barrier for families trying to better their economic circumstance. Many families are forced to forgo child care and early learning for their children and those who do budget for child care spend about one-third of their incomes on it. Lawmakers have been struggling to expand public early learning facilities for decades."
     To solve this problem, this package contains a bill to create a public-private model to increase the capacity at existing private childcare facilities supported with public funds and also develop new facilities for early learning programs for 3- and 4-year-old children where they are needed.
     State-owned sites including all the university campuses will provide space to incorporate early learning centers near where people work. Learning centers will also be developed on state properties on the neighbor islands.
     Rep. Justin H. Woodson, Chair of the Lower & Higher Education Committee, said, "The best way to do something about childcare is to provide early learning. Providing many more early learning centers across the state will help 3-, 4-, and early 5-year-old children the chance to truly be ready for kindergarten."
Seventy-seven percent of Kaʻū residents are below the ALICE Threshold.
Image from ALICE
     Senate Vice President Michelle N. Kidani said, "The Learning To Grow legislation will expand access to early learning opportunities to keiki across our state. It is well documented that early learning has a substantial positive effect on long-term academic success, and we owe it to our keiki to give them the best possible chance at success that we can.
     "The action to move school facilities out of the Department Education is not intended to be punitive in nature; this is simply an acknowledgement that proper and appropriate facilities management requires a different skillset from education. This new School Construction Authority will have the ability to redevelop our campuses and transform our schools into 21st Century learning centers for our students."
     Micah Kane, board member of Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative and CEO and president of Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, said, "Our state is at a crossroads – people we love are leaving Hawaiʻi not because they want to, but because they have to. They can no longer afford to live here. Two of the primary cost drivers are the lack of affordable housing and childcare options. Addressing these challenges will not be easy, however, I do believe it can be done through our collective effort. Our public-private partnership with the state, legislature, nonprofits, and the private sector gives me hope that together, we will solve these issues for our families. If we are so lucky, our families will stay home and come home."
Building Educational Results: In order to allow the Department of Education "to closely focus on its primary purpose of teaching our children, the legislature proposes to create a new Schools Facilities Agency to oversee major construction and repair projects in our schools," says the proposal.
     The governor will appoint an executive director for the new agency which will be responsible for all public school construction except for repair and maintenance projects that cost $100,000 or less.
"This new agency will focus on the construction of major building projects at existing and new schools," said Luke. "This proposal will ensure that school construction is done in a timely manner with public input and strong oversight. This will enhance the learning experience and give all students a better chance for success."
      The statement from the 2020 Hawaiʻi Legislature and governor points to Hawaiʻi Business Magazine's article Half of Hawaiʻi Barely Gets By. Read here. Read the ALICE Report.

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Bamboo poles are provided for the hundreds of keiki participants every year at the ʻO Kaʻū Kākou Fishing Tournament. 
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
ʻO KAʻŪ KĀKOU'S 12TH ANNUAL KEIKI FISHING TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION opens Wednesday, Jan. 22, through Wednesday, Feb. 19 at noon. The tournament, held each year at Punaluʻu, is a huge draw for Kaʻū
Even the smallest of fisherpeople catch something during 
the OKK Keiki Fishing Tournament. OKK photo
residents. Whole families make a day of it. Keiki as young as one year old up to age 14 can register online at okaukakou.org, or pick up a registration form at local stores, to be announced.
     Last year's tournament had over 275 keiki entrants, and the shores held almost 1,000 participants and volunteers. Those fishing in the ocean catch, measure, and release their catches. Poles, hooks, buckets, and bait are provided.
     Every participant receives a prize. Special prizes are awarded to the top three largest catch in each of five categories: Largest Kupipi, Largest Po‘opa‘a, Largest Hinalea, Largest Āholehole, and Most Caught.
     Last year's event boasted free chili, hot dogs, rice, brownies, shave ice, and water for everyone. For fisherpersons under age four, a little plastic pool was provided, filled with rubber duckies for them to fish for – with magnets, not hooks. Tents let people relax out of the sun. Keiki could participate in a fish quiz for prizes. There was also a raffle drawing which included fishing poles,
The fun isn't all in the water. Keiki answer the fish quiz, 
win a prize, and they're hooked! OKK photo
gift cards, mini drones, and electric scooter prizes, and live music to entertain. There were also booths at the event: PARENTS, Inc., Department of Land & Natural Resources, Barbless Circle Hooks Project, United Health Care Community Plan, and the American Red Cross.
     OKK' s website states: "Since 2007, OKK has sponsored a fishing tournament for hundreds of area children and their families. The tournament continues to be a huge success! Local families are treated to a day of fishing, a chance to win numerous goodies in a random drawing, there's free food for everyone, and every kid goes home with a prize of their choice."

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.

Kaʻū Winter Sports Schedule

Girls Basketball
Wed., Jan. 22 @HPA
Tue. and Wed., Jan. 28 and 29 BIIF @Civic
Wed. thru Sat., Feb. 5-8 HHSAA on Oʻahu

Boys Basketball
Mon., Jan. 20 @Honokaʻa
Mon., Jan. 27 @Kamehameha
Tue. and Wed., Feb. 4 and 5 BIIF @ Kealakehe
Thu. thru Sat., Feb. 13-15 HHSAA on Oʻahu

Soccer
Wed., Jan. 22 and Sat., Jan. 25 Girls BIIF
Wed. thru Sat., Feb. 5-8 Girls HHSAA on Oʻahu
Sat., Feb. 1 and 8 Boys BIIF
Thu. thru Sat., Feb. 13-15 Boys HHSAA on Oʻahu

Wrestling
Sat., Jan. 25 @Kamehameha
Sat., Feb. 1 @Hilo
Sat., Feb. 8 BIIF @Konawaena
Fri. and Sat., Feb. 21 and 22 HHSAA

Swimming
Sat., Jan. 25 @Kona Community Aquatic Center
Fri., Jan. 31 and Sat., Feb. 1 BIIF @Kamehameha
Fri. and Sat., Feb. 14 and 15 on Maui

UPCOMING
MONDAY, JAN. 20
Fee Free Day at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Monday, Jan. 20, midnight-11:59p.m. Park entrance fees waived for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. 985-6101, nps.gov/havo

AdvoCATS, Monday, Jan. 20, 7a.m.-4:30p.m.Ocean View Community Center. Free spay/neuter for cats. 895-9283, advocatshawaii.org

TUESDAY, JAN. 21
Cultural Understanding through Art & the Environment: Ti Leaf Lei Making with Jelena Clay, Tuesday, Jan. 21 – third Tuesday, Monthly – 11a.m.-1p.m.Volcano Art Center. Pre-registration required; class size limited. $10 per person supply fee. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

After Dark in the Park – Kīlauea Lower East Rift Zone 2019: Quiet But Insightful, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 7-8p.m.Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Why did the fissures erupt along a linear pattern?  How long will it take for the lava to solidify? Why is vegetation still dying in the area? Join USGS HVO geologist Carolyn Parcheta as she explores these and other queries, and shares recent observations and findings by HVO scientists. Free; Park entrance fees apply. 985-6101, nps.gov/havo

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 22
Kuʻi Kalo: Pound Poi, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 10a.m.-noonKīlauea Visitor Center lanai, HVNP. Make poi, the staple food of the Hawaiian diet. The root of the kalo plant is cooked and ku‘i (pounded) to create this classic Hawaiian dish. Join Ranger Keoni Kaholo‘a‘a as he shares his knowledge of kalo. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ‘Ike Hana No‘eau, Experience the Skillful Work, workshops. Free; Park entrance fess apply. 985-6011, nps.gov/havo

THURSDAY, JAN. 23
PETFIX Spay and Neuter Free Clinic for Cats and Dogs, Thursday and Friday, Jan. 23 and 24, Ocean View Ranchos. Registration: contact Bridget at (808)990-3548 or petfixbigisland@gmail.com.

Ka‘ū Community Children's Council, Thursday, Jan. 23, 3-4 p.m., Classroom 35, Building F, Nā‘ālehu Elementary School. Provides local forum for community members. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to Chad Domingo, text 808-381-2584 or domingoc1975@yahoo.com.

FRIDAY, JAN. 24
Old Style Pau Hana Mele & Hula ‘Auana, Friday, Jan. 24 – fourth Friday, monthly – 4-5:30p.m.Volcano Art Center. Held outdoors, weather permitting. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

SATURDAY, JAN. 25
Palm Trail, Saturday, Jan. 25, 9:30-12:30p.m., Kahuku Unit, HVNP. Free, relatively difficult, 2.6-mile, hike. Bring snack and water. nps.gov/havo

Sounds at the SummitHilo Jazz Orchestra Frank Zappa Tribute, Saturday, Jan. 25, 5:30-7:30p.m. Hawaiʻi Island musician and composer Trever Veilleux, director. Annual concert tends to sell out. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

Blue Tattoo Band, Saturday, Jan. 25, 7-10p.m.Kīlauea Military Camp's Lava Lounge, in HVNP. $5 cover charge, free to in-house guests. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. kilaueamilitarycamp.com

MONDAY, JAN. 27
Cultural Understanding Through Art & the Environment: Kapa Aloha ʻĀina, the fabric of Hawaiʻi with Puakea Forester, Monday, Jan. 27 – fourth Monday, monthly – 2:30-4:30p.m.Volcano Art Center. Pre-registration required; class size limited. $10 per person supply fee. 967-8222, volcanoartcenter.org

ONGOING
Apply for Mosaics of Science by Monday, Feb. 3. Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park's 12-week paid summer internship position is designed to engage university students and recent graduates with on-the-ground work experience in the National Park Service. A $4,800 stipend, and all travel costs are covered, including a week-long career workshop in Washington,  D.C. to meet with NPS managers.
     The internship is open to U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents ages 18-30, and to military veterans up to age 35. Funding is provided under a cooperative agreement for youth conservation activities as part of the Public Lands Corps program, which mandates that these age ranges are followed. 
     The selected intern will assist with the development of education curriculum for Kīpukapuaulu and Pu‘u Loa trails in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.
     For more information, contact Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Education Specialist Jody Anastasio by email at jody_anastasio@nps.gov. To apply go to go.nps.gov/mosaics or mosaicsinscience.org.

T-Ball and Coach Pitch Baseball League: Ocean View Team - Mondays and Wednesdays, Kahuku Park. Nā‘ālehu Team - Tuesdays and Thursdays, Nā‘ālehu Park. Pāhala Team (seeking coaches) - attend Nā‘ālehu practice. T-Ball, 3:30-4:30pm, ages 5-6. Coach Pitch, 4:30-6p.m., ages 7-8. Programs take place through April 16. Wear cleats or tennis shoes, bring a glove if possible. Extras gloves available for use. All skills and genders welcome. $35 per teammate. See Ka‘ū Youth Baseball on Facebook. Josh or Elizabeth Crook, 345-0511

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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