About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs June 20, 2011

Brad Wood, of Roast, Inc. in Nashville, TN purchased Bull Kailiawa's coffee during the Grounds for Health auction.
Photo by Julia Neal

`AINA KOA PONO, LLC was seventh among lobbyists spending money to influence government officials in Hawai`i during the first four months of this year, according to Civil Beat, a Hawai`i news organization created by E-Bay founder Pierre Omidyar. `Aina Koa Pono and its lobbyists shepherded legislation through the state House of Representatives and Senate this spring to change Public Utilities law and garner tax breaks for its proposed $350 million refinery between Pahala and Wood Valley and a fuel farm between Pahala and Na`alehu.
     According to online postings by the State Ethics Commission, `Aina Koa Pono spent $58,049 on lobbying from January through April. The other top ten lobbying organizations in Hawai`i included the American Beverage Association, Kamehameha Schools and the teachers union. `Aina Koa Pono, as seventh in spending among Hawai`i organizations lobbying the Legislature, outspent the Hawai`i Chamber of Commerce. Ethics Commission filings by `Aina Koa Pono President Mel Chiogioji reported that almost all of the money spent on lobbying went to the law firm Alston, Hunt, Floyd & Ing. Registered lobbyists for `Aina Koa Pono are William Kaneko and Zachery McNish, who both work for the law firm.
     According to the filing, the purpose of the lobbying was to support or oppose legislative and/or administrative action in the area of ecology, energy and environmental protection. 
     Representatives of `Aina Koa Pono said the legislation and tax incentives will help to raise money in financial markets to support its venture. The company promises 300 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs in Ka`u. The refinery would process trees, brush and crops it would grow or arrange to harvest in Ka`u. Its microwave processors would vaporize feedstock to create biofuel that would be tanker-trucked to Kona for the Hawaiian Electric Light Co. power plant near the Keahole Airport. The company also promises to make fuel for transportation to help relieve Hawai`i from purchasing fossil fuel.

GROUNDS FOR HEALTH, which raised money for health care in underserved coffee regions, has announced that its online auction that featured many Ka`u Coffees generated a record sum for the nonprofit. Justin Mool, of Grounds for Health, said more than 200 coffee companies from around the world participated, “despite high green coffee prices and a tight market.” Coffee producers, importers, roasters, and retailers came together, and 52 coffee importers and producers donated over 25,000 pounds of green coffee, which was then bid upon by roasters and retailers during the online auction held by the Stoneworks auction house in Vermont.
     Some notable donations, said Mool, included a gourmet El Salvador package from Aida Batlle that fetched $24.60/lb (earning $7,380.00 total), an Ethiopia Bench Maji Gesha from Royal Coffee, Inc. that was purchased for $12.04/lb (earning $6,370.60), and SCAA Coffees of the Year Winners Hawai`i Kailiawa Coffee from Ka`u Coffee Mill and Colombia Valle del Cauca that closed at $40.20/lb and $53/lb respectively.
     Grounds for Health Chair of the Board and Swiss Water Decaffeinated Coffee Company CEO Frank Dennis expressed appreciation that during “a very volatile coffee market the coffee industry continued to show great support and commitment to the Grounds For Health initiative, with a 30 percent increase over 2010 in total auction value.” See groundsforhealth.org. Grounds for Health is also on twitter and facebook.

THE PARENTS OF PRESCHOOL YOUNGSTERS program is no more this week. The program, run by Parents and Children Together and Family Support Hawai`i, suffered funding cuts by Congress. The program helped three- to five-year-olds by training their parents for tools, skills and confidence to help their children succeed in school and beyond. The program offered weekly activities that included home and group meetings. More than 3,000 children have been served since the program started in 1996.

Modeling of lava coming up in the hot spot that forms the
Hawaiian islands chain may have to be revised to show the
hot spot west of the islands. Image courtesy of USGS
THE PLUME OF LAVA coming out of the Earth to create the Hawaiian Islands and the ongoing volcanic activity may be farther west than originally believed, according to the latest Volcano Watch report from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. New ways of measuring seismic activity have shown activity that could locate the hot spot west of the islands, which could mean that the plume travels laterally before rising into Kilauea and Mauna Loa volcanoes. A debate will continue, and modeling of the ongoing creation process of the islands could be revised, the report says. 

RAINS THAT EASED THE DROUGHT in Ka`u have helped grow a lot of plant life on wild lands, creating fuel for wildfires, particularly if we have a dry summer. That is what Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira is predicting, noting that rains overall are still below normal across the island. He said there could be “more intense, active burning. Oliveira sees every day as a possible brush fire day and encourages people to haul green waste to the dump and plant more succulents around the house. He suggested making sure smoke detectors work with new batteries.

TO MARK THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is waiving entrance fees tomorrow. Also, Kilauea Military Camp, inside the park, is making all of its facilities and services available to the general public for the day. For more information call 967-7315.

THE MISS KA`U COFFEE PAGEANT airs on Na Leo O Hawai`i Community Television channel 54 this Wednesday at 6 p.m.

THE HAWAI`I WILDFIRE MANAGEMENT ORGANIZATION holds a workshop about wildfire preparedness on Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The workshop covers strategies to protect homes and families against wildfires. To register, call Carolyn at 885-6354.