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.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs July 3, 2011

The rodeo in Na`alehu continues today to celebrate Independence Day.  Photo by Julia Neal

COUNCIL MEMBER PETE HOFFMANN has issued a statement calling for the continuation of the Furlough Friday program. In a press release, he said that “the past two years brought savings to County taxpayers, did not result in any significant reduction in County services, and County employees retained their jobs, and perhaps as important, their medical and other benefits. I believe this is the direction the County must pursue, and I’m pleased to see the Mayor make the effort.” 
Ka`u Auto Repair & Towing joined the police at the
Na`alehu Parade yesterday, warning: Don't Drink and
Drive this holiday weekend. Photo by Julia Neal
     Mayor Billy Kenoi stated last week that he would consider continuing furloughs, if needed, to balance the county budget.
     Hoffmann also noted that the Council had recommended that any savings that might occur in on-going union negotiations be used to pay into the county retirement benefits fund – payments that the mayor’s budget defers until next year.
     Said Hoffmann, the mayor’s budget, which survived a veto-override last week, “fully funded the current payroll scale for all County employees, so there is some hope that actual expenses will be less. I trust that if some savings are realized, the Mayor will act on the Council’s recommendation and some payment made to the GASB-45 account.
     “In summary, let’s get on with business. There’s much to be done, and although this budget is finished, the County’s economic distress remains,” said Hoffmann.
Rep. Bob Herkes and his wife walk with their
Nene each year in the Na`alehu and Volcano
parades. Photo by Julia Neal
PRIVATE COMPANIES ARE HONING in on the island’s garbage to free up the county landfills and to recycle and use waste for energy. Pacific Waste, Inc. and its affiliate BioEnergy Hawai`i have met with Mayor Billy Kenoi and staff and also plan to make a presentation to the County Council Environmental Management Committee. They would like to set up a waste-to-energy plant and pay for it by selling energy and recyclables and through receiving the tipping fees that are provided to the county for commercial operators bringing in the trash. According to a Stephens Media report, they could save the county $900,000 the first year, $1.3 million each following year, and $120,000 in county employee wages each year. Council Chair Yagong said he looks forward to the presentation but noted that bids may have to be opened to other companies, if such a plan were to be considered.

`AINA KOA PONO, which plans a refinery between Pahala and Wood Valley to process biomass into biofuel, says it too has the capability to deal with county trash – using large microwave processors to vaporize it into gasses that would be turned into auto, aviation, car and truck fuel as well as fuel for oil burning power plants owned by Hawaiian Electric Light Co.
     Engineer Sandy Causey said such waste-to-energy plants, however, would be placed at the landfill sites and that garbage would not be trucked to Ka`u for processing.
County Council member Brittany Smart (center) with
staff and crew. Photo by Julia Neal
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I BOARD OF REGENTS is likely to see either Dr. Gregory Chun or Barry Mizuno as the new Hawai`i County regent. They are the finalists from the Regents Candidate Advisory Council, and Gov. Neil Abercrombie will select one for approval by the state Senate during the 2012 legislature. Mizuno is a CPA, former county managing director and finance director. He worked for the Puna geothermal plant, remains a consultant for Ormat, its current owner, and is considered an expert in alternative energy. Chun graduated from and works with Kamehameha Schools, leading its cultural outreach campaign, and is former president of Bishop Holdings. 

Miss Ka`u Coffee Brandy Shibuya graces the Na`alehu
Parade on July 2.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE TRAIL TO PU`U `O`O is likely to be closed for at least another two years, after the state Board of Land and Natural Resources votes on the closure at its meeting this Friday. This morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald reports that County Civil Defense Director Quince Mento pointed to 13 rescue missions since 2008 along the route, which is also called Captains Trial and Kahuauale`a Trail. A firefighter was severely injured after falling into a crack more than 130 feet deep during a rescue, Mento said. The closure was initially made because of the eruption at Pu`u `O`o, making vent areas and lava channels dangerous to walkers. “Conditions can change rapidly, including collapse of existing features,” according to Paul Conry of the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife. 

THE INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE yesterday saw much community participation from public officials such as Sen. Gil Kahele, Rep. Bob Herkes, and County Council member Brittany Smart. The County Band marched through, along with Ka`u Coffee queens and princesses, children’s groups and motorcycle riding groups. It was sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou. 

Gil Kahele in his first Independence Day Parade in
Na`alehu as senator.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE INDEPENDENCE DAY RODEO continues today at the Na`alehu Rodeo Grounds. Ropers, riders, and paniolo from all over the island have converged on Na`alehu for the event, which also offers food and collectibles to buy there. 

VOLCANO VILLAGE’S FOURTH OF JULY festivities happens tomorrow, with the parade beginning at 9 a.m. and traveling down Old Volcano Road from the post office to Cooper Center on Wright Road, where the celebration continues.