Monthly Archives: January 2012

Do you have trouble opening Word Documents?

Sometimes we get files in our inbox that seem foreign….Only their not, they just wont convert or open…

If your running Microsoft Word 2003, I know its old but lots of us still use it and you are receiving files that won’t open like docx then try this easy free fix.

You need to download the Microsoft compatibility pack so you can open he files. This is for the non-computer geeks…

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=3

Click and download, follow the instructions, there your ready to go.

Hawaii’s Legislative Process

We know it’s a daunting task to monitor new bills…Every year the Hawaii Farm Bureau, its volunteers, staff and County  & district leaders, volunteer thousands of hours to read, monitor and testify on behalf of agriculture in Hawaii….Just one of the huge services that the Farm Bureau provides to its members. Big Island Farm Bureau contributes approximately 300 hours each session to this process. This year it is my intention to expand our voice, and distribute  the information further and in a manner we haven’t tried before;  We’ve gone social!

Soon I will have a synopsis on the bills that will impact Hawaii Island and the State…Sorry the bills are still being read and classified; were talking on average we read and compile between 3000 & 4000 bills or pieces of legislation, some are 1 page and some feel like their 100 pages of regulations!

I need your input and stories on….Ag theft, regulations…Any thing that can help tell us how it affects the producer is important.  We wont necessarily ask you to testify before the House or Senate but on some occasions it is needed….Help me, help you. Give us your thoughts, stories and whatever your experience is on the bills that impact you.

Until then I thought you might be interested in the changes that have happened at the State Website…All for the better! Yay to Hawaii for being progressive and helpful in this process..Kudos to all involved.

If you’re a beginner to the legislative process I recommend that you begin with this handy-dandy guide…Same place I did many years ago only we couldn’t read it online.

Yesterday was the bill cutoff deadline…Today is the first recess but that does not mean that work isn’t happening. Things are a feverish pace for the next several weeks as we strive to keep our heads above the tidal wave of bills….

 

Here are some of the key features of the Capitol website.      http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/

 

Testimony.  Beginning this session, Senate hearing notices will no longer list specific information on Senate testimony policies and procedures.  This information has been replaced with a link that will take users that access hearing notices electronically to the Legislature’s website, where policies and procedures are outlined.  This information is also displayed wherever hearing notices are posted within the Capitol building for users that view printed hearing notices.  Copies of this informational sheet are also available in the Legislative Reference Bureau’s Public Access Room, located at the State Capitol building, to members of the public who are interested in learning how to submit testimony to Senate committees.

Testimony procedures have remained largely unchanged; members of the public can still submit testimony in the same ways – using the Legislature’s website, Senate committee e-mails or fax, or hand-delivering copies to the committee clerks.

The most notable change in Senate procedures is that the deadline to submit testimony to Senate committees has been changed from 4:00pm of the day prior to the hearing to 24 hours prior to the hearing.  Testimony received after the 24 hour deadline may be considered late, and may not be posted online prior to the hearing or otherwise made available during the hearing.

 

Website.  The Hawaii State Legislature‘s website is the key portal for those wishing to get informed and involved in the legislative process.  The website was recently redesigned to enhance citizen engagement and includes:

  • Contact information for current members of the Senate and House of Representatives
  • Bill and resolution text and current status information
  • List of upcoming committee hearings
  • Daily downloads of bills, resolutions, committee reports, and other documents
  • Online testimony submittal
  • Downloadable bill status reports (i.e., all bills or resolutions introduced, bills signed into law, all committee reports filed, etc.)

 


You can also create an account with the Legislature and as a registered user, you can track your own personalized list of bills and get e-mail notifications for legislative committee hearings.Create an Account

I recommend creating an account and placing the bills in your own list. Although I will be posting our lists and RSS feeds soon. The system is user-friendly and easy to navigate. By placing bills in your own list you can generate a report that shows their status and all information in a brief format that is easy to read.

 

Video Streams

The Legislature will continue streaming selected committee hearings live over the Internet.  A new feature this session will be live streams of the daily House and Senate floor sessions, beginning with today’s opening day sessions in both chambers.  Links to the live and archived audio and video streams are accessible from the website.

 

Thank you for your interest and participation in the legislative process.  If you have any questions and concerns, please contact the Senate Clerk’s office at             (808) 586-6720       or by email at sclerk@capitol.hawaii.gov

USDA Invites Applications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

    NEWS RELEASE
United States Department of Agriculture • Rural Development • Hawaii State Office
Room 311, Federal Building, 154 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, Hawaii  96720
Phone: (808) 933-8380 • Fax: (808) 933-8327 • TDD: (808) 933-8321 • Web: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov
 
 

Release No. HI-12-04

 
Media Contact:  
Chris J. Kanazawa, State Director (808) 933-8301
Timothy W. O’Connell, Assistant to the State Director (808) 933-8313
 
USDA Invites Applications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects

 
   HILO, HI, January 20, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Funding is available from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).
 
     “Renewable energy development presents an enormous economic opportunity for rural America,” said Vilsack. “This funding will assist rural farmers, ranchers and business owners to build renewable energy projects, providing opportunities for new technologies, create green jobs and help America become more energy self-sufficient.”  
 
Chris Kanazawa, Hawaii State Director for USDA Rural Development stated, “USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program is the flagship energy program that responds to Hawaii’s energy-related issues and opportunities for farmers, ranchers and small businesses.  Over the past three years, the USDA Rural Development Hawaii State Office has provided $1.1 million in funding for technical assistance, energy audits, photovoltaic systems, and flex fuel pumps projects for Hawaii’s rural communities.”  This is in addition to $10 million in Rural Development Business and Industry loan guarantees for biofuel and activated carbon plant projects on the Island of Hawaii.
 
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the Nation’s critical energy needs.  For 2012, USDA has approximately $25.4 million budget authority available to fund REAP activities, which will support at least $12.5 million in grant and approximately $48.5 million in guaranteed loan program level awards.  USDA is accepting the following applications:
 
§  renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement grant applications and combination grant and guaranteed loan applications until March 30, 2012;  
§  renewable energy system and energy efficiency improvement guaranteed loan only applications on a continuous basis up to June 29, 2012;
§  renewable energy system feasibility study applications through March 30, 2012; and
§  energy audits and renewable energy development assistance applications through February 21, 2012.  
 
More information on how to apply for funding is available in the January 20, 2012 Federal Register, pages 2948 through 2954.
 
This funding is an example of the many ways that USDA is helping revitalize rural economies to create opportunities for growth and prosperity, support innovative technologies, identify new markets for agricultural producers, and better utilize our nation’s natural resources.
 
The Obama Administration is working to promote domestic production of renewable energy to create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, combat global warming, and build stronger rural economy.  Today, Americans import just over half of our transportation fuels – down from 60 percent when President Obama took office – but we can do more to meet the President’s goal of reducing our net fuel imports by one-third by 2025.  At Secretary Vilsack’s direction, USDA is working to develop the national biofuels industry producing energy from non-food sources in every region of the country.  USDA is conducting and encouraging research into innovative new energy technologies and processes, helping companies build biorefineries – including the first ever commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities – and supporting farmers, ranchers, and businesses taking risks to pursue new opportunities in biofuels.  Along with Federal partners, USDA is establishing an aviation biofuels economy, and has expedited rules and efforts to promote production and commercialization of biofuels.  
 
USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program was authorized by Congress under the 2008 Farm Bill.  It provides loan guarantees to capitalize on the growing opportunities in renewable energy provided by advanced biofuels. The Program is designed to assist with the commercial deployment of production technologies to produce advanced biofuels, and thereby increase the energy independence of the United States; promote resource conservation, public health, and the environment; diversify markets for agricultural and forestry products and agriculture waste material; create jobs and enhance the economic development of the rural economy.
 
To read more about the Administration’s renewable energy accomplishments, click here.
 
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices.  Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees.  These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers, and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.  Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

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   USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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