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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs July 21, 2011

Some 13,000 acres between Pahala and Na`alehu could be changed from pasture and trees to a biofuel farm to support the electric plant in Kona and fuel for cars, trucks, boats and airplanes.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE SIERRA CLUB is intervening in proposals that would take agricultural land away from food production and is having some success. The organization went to court on O`ahu and helped stall a Castle & Cook development of 5,000 homes on prime ag land when a judge recently ruled that the state Land Use Commission’s approval of the project was invalid. The Sierra Club is next going after the D.R. Horton-Schuler development which plans 12,000 more homes and shopping centers at Kapolei. The project would displace 1,500 acres of prime farmland. According to the Sierra Club, it would “further undermine the security of our food supply and threaten aesthetic and environmental interests.” The developers are promising thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs. 
     The Sierra Club has also taken an interest in the `Aina Koa Pono project planned for Ka`u on 13,000 acres between Pahala and Na`alehu. Sierra Club president Robert Harris said that there are much better ways of producing electricity than taking up good farmland to grow a substitute for fossil fuel.
     However, in addition to refining biomass into a synthetic fuel to be tanker-trucked up Hwy 11 to the power plant by Kona Airport, `Aina Koa Pono plans to make biofuel for transportation. The proposed $350 million refinery would be located between Pahala and Wood Valley.
     A public hearing on its proposed Hawaiian Electric contract that would raise electric rates to help fund the Ka`u refinery will be held Aug. 2 at the state Building in Hilo at 9 a.m. and at the West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona at 4 p.m.
     `Aina Koa Pono has updated a frequently-asked-questions section on its website at www.ainakoapono.com. 

PROGRAMS FOR NATIVE HAWAIIAN STUDENTS have won more than $13 million in federal grants, which will be distributed to 23 agencies by the U.S. Department of Education through the Native Hawaiian Education Act. The University of Hawai`i, state agencies, private firms and nonprofit groups make up the recipients. Rep. Mazie Hirono said that the “innovative educational projects will make a difference in the lives of Native Hawaiian children and young adults. Just five months ago House Republicans sought to eliminate funding for Native Hawaiian education programs. We were able to fight back with the Young-Hirono Amendment and preserve this funding. Moving forward, we must remain vigilant in defending against further attempts in Congress to do away with Native Hawaiian programs.” Sen. Dan Inouye said that “too many Native Hawaiians face a unique set of obstacles on their way to obtaining a quality education. Many of these children live in challenging communities and often have difficulty navigating risky environments to attend school and better themselves.” Recipients with programs in Ka`u include Partners in Development Foundation, which oversees Tutu & Me, the preschool educational program, and Hui Ho`omalu, which helps place teens and children with temporary families. 

Anton Krucky
Photos courtesy of
hawaiibusiness.com
A NEW KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOL TRUSTEE will be selected following a public comment period that ends Aug. 30. A screening committee has selected three finalists to succeed trustee Dianne Plotts. They are Anton Krucky, Lance Wilhelm and T. `Aulani Wilhelm. The new trustee will be named by a state probate judge. 
     Anton Krucky is co-founder of Tissue Genesis Inc. and serves as its chief executive officer and president. He worked in product development, marketing, and sales at IBM, serving as General Manager of operations in the Pacific. He has consulted to and invested in small and emerging technology, and owned several small businesses. He serves on boards of major Hawai`i corporations that include Servco Pacific, and medical and healthcare Boards like University of Hawai`i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine and the Pacific Health Research Institute. 
Lance Wilhelm
     Lance Wilhelm is a Kamehameha School graduate and executive vice-president of Kiewitt Building Group, which recently built Trump International Tower. He is a career executive in the Kiewitt construction company. 
     T. `Aulani Wilhelm, another graduate of Kamehameha School, has been involved in conservation and management issues in Hawai`i for nearly 15 years. She is superintendent for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the largest single conservation area under the U.S. flag and the world’s largest marine protected area. She previously served as acting reserve coordinator of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve. She served as an information officer with the state Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources. 
T. `Aulani Wilhelm
     The public is invited to submit written comments through Aug. 30 to be filed with the probate court. Comments can be sent to Kamehameha Schools Trustee Screening Committee, c/o Inkinen & Associates Inc., 1003 Bishop St., Suite 477, Honolulu, HI 96813.

DEFENDING THE EAST-WEST CENTER is a fight that Rep. Mazie Hirono is taking on in Congress. A bill in the House would eliminate the East-West Center by repealing a 1960 law that established the center for cultural and technical interchange between Asian, Pacific and Western countries. Hirono is asking to remove the language from the funding bill. “Eliminating the East-West Center would have an immediate and potentially devastating impact on our country’s foreign policy and national security interests in the Asia-Pacific region,” she said. “Its work addressing trade, security, human rights, and energy security among other key issues is needed today more than ever.” The bill is being discussed in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The East- West Center still has support at the State Department. The East-West Center, created at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa in 1960, receives federal funding each year of approximately $21 million from the U.S. government and $10 million from other governments, companies and foundations. It brings foreign students to the U.S. for university training in government and economic development. One group of students came to Ka`u as part of their training. Congressional delegate Eni Faleomavaega, of American Samoa, is helping Hirono to preserve the center and is asking for an amendment to remove the proposed funding cut in the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Council Districts were last set in 2001, with District 6
cutting through Napo`opo`o.
COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICTS that don’t cut through villages and communities and split the population is one of the aims of the county Redistricting Commission. Such a district boundary exists at Napo`opo`o, where Ka`u County Council member Brittany Smart has one part of the community and council member Brenda Ford has the other section of the neighborhood. The issue came up at a District 6 Matters meeting at Yano Hall last night, according to a report in West Hawai`i Today. According to reporter Brendan Shriane, one resident said the split means community voices weren’t being heard. If the two council members don’t get along, “then we are out of luck,” said the Napo`opo`o resident. A redistricting meeting under the District 6 Matters banner will be held at Na`alehu Community Center next Wednesday, July 27. 

THE NEW STATE SCHOOL BOARD plans to conduct informal visits and meetings to remote places like Ka`u, according to a report in Civil Beat. Board of Education Chair Don Horner said he would like to hold periodic meetings on the Neighbor Islands, despite the cutbacks in funding for education. At least two board members would attend each meeting.

VOLCANO ART CENTER HOSTS a Poetry Slam tomorrow from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at its Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. This high-energy poetry competition is open to up to 15 poets on a lottery basis. Admission is $8.

ALSO AT VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Niaulani Campus, Moon Brown and Reggie Griffin perform on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. as part of the Center’s Live Jazz Concert Series. Tickets are $15. Call 967-8222 or purchase online at volcanoartcenter.org.