POSTED: Friday, March 27, 2009

AARP ringing in with Tele-Town Hall

AARP Hawaii planned a Tele-Town Hall today for members to discuss Senate Bill 1679, which requests money from the state's rainy day fund to save safety net programs for Hawaii's families.

The organization was calling 20,000 to 30,000 members statewide at the same time, inviting them to join a live conference call between 1 and 2 p.m.

“;If all goes as planned, as many as 4,000 people could join the telephone 'meeting,' which we hope will generate hundreds of calls to legislators,”; said AARP Hawaii spokesman Bruce Bottorff.

He said this was the first time AARP Hawaii was trying “;this experiment in grass-roots advocacy.”;

Members were asked to be home from 1 to 2 p.m. to be part of the live conference call.

Sens. Suzanne Chun Oakland (D, Kalihi-Liliha), Human Services Committee chairwoman; David Ige (D, Aiea-Pearl City), Health Committee chairman; and Josh Green (D Milolii-Waimea), Health Committee vice chairman, were expected to participate with AARP Hawaii State Director Barbara Kim Stanton.

AARP members unable to be home to receive the automatic call may call AARP's free legislative hotline — (800) 211-0908 — to get connected to their legislator to discuss the bill.


Dyslexia group picks event keynoter

Dr. Eric Tridas, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician from Tampa, Fla., will be the keynote speaker at the spring conference of the Hawaii Branch of the International Dyslexia Association next Friday and April 4.

Parents, teachers and students are welcome to attend the conferences at Hilo High School on the Big Island, or the East-West Center in Honolulu from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The early identification and management of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other conditions that affect learning will be the focus of the conference.

Tridas is also the editor of the book “;From ABC to ADHD: What Parents Should Know About Dyslexia and Attention Problems.”; Afternoon discussions will offer parents and teachers practical activities and strategies for young children at risk for dyslexia or other problems in learning to read.

HIDA members in Hilo will be charged $36, and $44 in Honolulu; nonmembers must pay $44 in Hilo and $55 in Honolulu. Students can attend for $15 in both locations. A limited number of scholarships are available.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Tridas, call Margaret Higa at the HIDA office at 538-7007, or (866) 773-4432 toll free from the neighbor islands.


Agencies plan wet forest center

State and federal agencies aim to build a wet forest research center on the Big Island.

The Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest research and education center four miles south of Laupahoehoe would focus on planting native species.

Boone Kaufman is director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. He hopes to see the center completed within a year or two.

Officials plan to fence off the center to keep out feral pigs and cattle. They also plan to build a wash station so researchers and visitors can make sure they do not track invasive species into the center. The proposed site is on 20 acres leased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.