HC&S should consider growing hemp
Heartfelt congratulations to Vincent Mina, who received the Malama I ka 'Aina Award, and Mahina Martin, who received the Onipa'a Award, at the Sierra Club annual meeting this past Saturday. Mahalo also to the Sierra Club for hosting such an informative gathering.
Maui County Environmental Coordinator Rob Parsons shared with us that one of the number one complaints his office receives is about smoke from cane burning.
Kaniela Ing shared that he is working on getting a working group together with both sides of the cane burning issue present at the table.
Mina shared with us the benefits of natural farming and actually passed around some natural insulation made out of hemp and a sample block of hempcrete used as a mildew-resistant building material.
I hope HC&S can work with the public, county and state agencies on transitioning from sugar to growing and locally processing organic industrial hemp. It could be used to create environmentally friendly building materials, paper and cloth, and remediate the soil.
It would be an innovative way to create more jobs and help our island become more self-sufficient without the controversy that surrounds marijuana. It would also keep agricultural lands and jobs in production.
This is just one suggestion - and I'm sure there are many more - so I urge our community to continue to work together and look for viable, win-win-win alternatives where the environment, the economy and the community all come out winners.
TAMARA PALTIN, Lahaina
Hirono seeks input on priorities
It's already been a year since I was sworn in as Hawaii's United States senator.
The first year has been a whirlwind - and despite the gridlock in Washington, I'm still very proud of some of the things we accomplished together.
We passed the most comprehensive, historic immigration legislation in decades. With your help, I offered more amendments to craft this bill than any other Democrat - amendments prioritizing family unity (our ohana), making the system fairer for women, helping expand foreign tourism in Hawaii, and giving DREAM Act students increased access to educational opportunities.
We passed a budget that eases the pain of the sequester cuts impacting such programs as Head Start.
We passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which provides Hawaii with over $400 million in key investments to keep our forces strong while creating jobs.
One of the reasons I came to Washington was to pass legislation that makes a real difference for families here in Hawaii and across the country.
But there's still so much work to do. And I need your help.
What priorities do you hope to see us work on over the second year?
As people in Hawaii know, relationships matter. Relationships are an important part of being an effective legislator, since so much of my job involves finding common ground with other senators.
One particularly bright spot is the historic number of women senators - we've stuck together and agreed to work together to get things done.
What do you hope to see my fellow senators and me take up in the next year?
I've formulated my own set of priorities so far. I hope to work with my colleagues to level the playing field for everyone and create more opportunity for each and every American by strengthening consumer protections, continuing to pressure the House to pass the Senate's immigration reform bill, raising the minimum wage nationwide, making college more affordable and seeing my Pre-K bill through, parts of which I introduced last year, so that we can expand access to high-quality early childhood education.
I'm in the Senate to work for you, though, so I very much want to hear what you think I should make a priority.
Here's to a successful second year in the Senate with your continued friendship and support!
MAZIE HIRONO. U.S. Senator
Learn to dance at new center
Arthur Murray was the most notable dance teacher of our time and has created the largest and most prominent dance organization in the world today. He was a pioneer in teaching the world to dance "one step at a time" using his mail out footprints, and was the first to transmit live music over the radio, which he did for a group of his students. Above all else, Arthur Murray recognized that learning how to dance with a partner was more about the benefits that you receive out of knowing how to dance. He was very shy, and what he discovered changed his life. He wrote an article called "How I Became Popular Overnight" highlighting the benefits that you can receive from learning how to dance, and this is a concept that the franchise holds very dear to this day.
Whether you want to increase your confidence, meet new people or just add more fun and enjoyment to your life, Arthur Murray Franchised Dance Centers are the place to make that happen. With a network of over 280 studios in 21 countries and a history of over 100 years, we have had the time to perfect the art of dance instruction, and we continue to update and upgrade our techniques and syllabus to keep up with new trends.
February marks the opening of the newest Arthur Murray Dance Center located in North Kihei. Make sure to come out for the Grand Opening Party on Friday, Feb. 21, from 6-9 p.m. Call the studio at (808) 891-9191 for more information.
Kung Hee Fat Choy!
I wish you and your family prosperity, health and good fortune this Chinese New Year. The Year of the Horse offers great promise and hope. It will take boldness and strength from all of us to realize its full potential.
As we enter this year, I appreciate your continued support and look forward to working with you to create a brighter tomorrow for Hawaii!
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Governor of Hawaii
Information on Kahoma Village Project should be available
(The following letter was sent to Maui County Councilman Robert Carroll.)
I personally want to thank you, Chairman Carroll, for all of your efforts to inform the public of these Land Use Committee meetings. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. However, it seems we have run up against a brick wall as it relates to public information.
Last night, several of us here in Lahaina attempted to look up some information on the Office of Environmental Quality Control, Parts I and II, on TMK (2)4-05-008:001. It is gone and no longer accessible on the Internet. Moreover, the Draft Environmental Assessment for the same TMK is also gone. All the pertinent documents have either been moved on the County of Maui servers or substantially changed; in any event, we cannot access the information on the Internet. At this late hour, it is impossible for people to get thousands of pages in hard copy form, as the Land Use Committee meeting is tomorrow! This is why so many are disgruntled with this process.
Most people are under a false assumption that the Kahoma Village Project is a low-income housing project, because it is called "affordable." There are so many people that want and need to purchase homes for their families. Sadly, even 30-year employees of the County of Maui have told me personally they are not even making $78,600 per year, and they are soon to retire from public service. This amount is the bottom end annual amount a single-family must make in order to qualify for financing on this fast track project.
So, this is not what the general population would consider "affordable," by any measure, especially to the majority of local people in Maui County. The fast track project will be looking for qualified individuals in the 100-180 percent median range ($78,600 to $100,400). This is an extreme difference between this guideline and the "Living Wage Calculation For Maui County."
I contest it is still debatable whether the project even qualifies as an affordable housing place to build, as the Hawaii Revised Statutes indicate that affordable housing cannot get a 201H-38 in a Tsunami Zone.
It begs the question: who is really going to move into this project? Surely, it will not be the "living wage" people of Maui County.
CARMIE SPELLMAN, Lahaina