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, July 18, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs July 18, 2011

Richard Ha has been a banana and tomato farmer and now chairs
a group wanting to take over Hawaiian Electric to go geothermal.
THE EFFORT TO BUY HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES and make geothermal the main provider of energy for the Islands has attracted new board members, according to a story in the Honolulu Star Advertiser. Chaired by Big Island farmer Richard Ha, the board of Ku`oko`a now includes former deputy director of the U.S. Department of Energy T.J. Glauthier and former C.I.A. director James Woolsey. Also on board are Rob Robinson, a venture capitalist and professor of entrepreneurship and e-business at the University of Hawai`i, and Rick Blangiardi, general manager of Hawai`i News Now. The chief strategy marketer is Alan Tang, who owns Olomana Marketing. The organizer of the hui is entrepreneur Roald Marth. Its president is Ted Peck, the state’s former energy administrator, who directed Hawai`i’s Clean Energy Initiative. 
     The goal of the group is to derive most of the electricity in Hawai`i from geothermal produced on this island and Maui. Undersea cables would transmit energy to the other islands. The geothermal could also help produce hydrogen fuel to run transportation. Wind, waves, hydro and solar could also be part of the mix. There could be some biofuel, but the goal would be to retire the oil burning power plants now operated by Hawaiian Electric over the next ten years. 
     Marth claims that electric rates could be cut to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour statewide. Presently the rate is about 30 cents on O`ahu and around 40 cents on neighbor islands. Marth said the cost of purchasing Hawaiian Electric and retooling it to 100 percent renewable energy could cost $35 billion over 10 years. 
     According to the Advertiser story, Marth said Ku`oko`a has been belittled as a plan by a motivational speaker, a tomato farmer and a bureaucrat. “We’re not just the tomato farmer and the bureaucrat and the motivational speaker trying to buy an electric utility,” Marth said. “That’s not what we’re about. We’re a bunch of really, really smart, determined people with a little bit of money who are trying to build a new industry in Hawai`i.”

IN KA`U, `AINA KOA PONO is proposing a biofuel plant between Pahala and Wood Valley, and its contract with Hawaiian Electric is coming up for public hearings on Tuesday, Aug. 2 in Hilo at 9 a.m. at the State Building and in Kona at 4 p.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center. See the proposal and comments from the public and state officials by googling Hawai`i PUC docket and clicking on the documents in the `Aina Koa Pono file.

KA`U STUDENTS can go to class online through an accredited public charter school operated by Kua O Ka La. The school made presentations in Na`alehu and Pahala last week. The school is considered a hybrid as classes will be online, but teachers will meet with students in their communities and also at a central location where students can study. The school is much more affordable than many other online schools, and the education earns Hawai`i Department of Education credits toward completing a high school education. Pua Mendonca, who visited Ka`u on behalf of the new online school, said that the school could be particularly beneficial for students “who want to soar” beyond what is offered in the public school classroom and students who have special challenges and need individualized programs to improve their skills. 
     To sign up, students must have access to high speed Internet, though the school will provide the computers. There will be daily opportunities for academic mentoring and support for classes, cultural and community electives, dual credit for college and high school available for juniors and seniors and the opportunity to earn high school credits through test mastery. For more information call 965-5098.

THE NEW STATEWIDE CHARTER SCHOOL TASK FORCE meets for the first time this Wednesday in Honolulu at the Capitol. A bill signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie last week requires the task force to develop the framework of accountability between the charter school system and the state Department of Education. The group also will create oversight, recommend funding levels and work on connecting the governing of charter schools with the DOE. The task force will provide its recommendations to the 2012 Hawai`i Legislature. 

Brittany Smart
COUNCIL MEMBER BRITTANY SMART met with the Big Island Press Club last week requesting help to draft language addressing social media and the Sunshine Law. She said she is a strong supporter of the Sunshine Law and firmly believes that transparency is essential to well run governments. At the same time, she said, the laws were written before social media became a strong communication vehicle. Since members of the press “are an important government watchdog,” Smart said she is seeking their help. “Incorporation of social media tools within the Sunshine Law environment is the goal, not circumvention. Transparency must be retained.” 
     Under the Sunshine Law, one council person could write views on a proposed bill online, but if other council persons joined in an online discussion, the Sunshine Law possibly could be broken. The Sunshine Law prohibits more than three council persons from discussing how they would vote on a measure before the council.

ONE JOURNEY, THE LOCAL WINNERS of the statewide Brown Bags to Stardom competition, perform live at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium tomorrow at 7 p.m. Their CDs will be available for purchase and autographs. This After Dark in the Park program is free. A $2 donation is requested, and park entrance fees apply.

KAREN HAGEN SHARES THE ART OF CERAMICS at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 967-7565 for more information.