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 7, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs July 7, 2011

Old sugar cane haul road between Na`alehu and Pahala would be used to haul biomass from trucks and cutting trees and shrubs to the Meyer Camp Road refinery. Photo by Julia Neal
     THE PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE for the contract between `Aina Koa Pono and Hawaiian Electric for the proposed $350 million refinery and biofuel farm in Ka`u describes the project.      Along with giving the dates for a public hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at the Hawai`i State Building in Hilo at 9 a.m., and on the same day, Tuesday, Aug 2 at 4 p.m. at the West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kailua-Kona, the hearing notice states that `Aina Koa Pono plans to produce approximately 16 million gallons of biodiesel annually for 20 years. HECO companies and `Aina Koa Pono seek to recover the costs for the biodiesel, should they be above what is currently charged in rates to electric customers, through automatic rate increases on the bills of customers of Hawaiian Electric Light Co. which serves the Big Island, and Hawai`i Electric, which serves O`ahu.
     HECO and HELCO describe the possible rate increase as “a mechanism to spread among the Companies’ customers the difference between the price of the locally grown and produced biodiesel and the petroleum diesel that it replaces.”
Mina Morita, Public Utilities Commission Chair
     The public hearing notice says that HECO and `Aina Koa Pono “maintain that, in effect, the achievement of the State’s energy policy goals such as reducing the State’s dependence on imported fossil fuels (primarily oil), energy independence and security, local economic and agricultural benefits, and reducing green house gas emissions, ‘will benefit all customers, and not just those customers consuming the biodiesel.’ For this reason, the companies contend that ‘it is reasonable to spread the cost differential among customers.’ The companies further maintain that ‘it would be unfair for customers on Hawai`i, where `Aina Koa Pono will operate, to bear the full burden of this important step toward reducing Hawai`i’s imported oil consumption, a goal which will benefit everyone in the State.’”
     The cost increase, according to the public notice, would be about $1.75 to $2.10 a month for a typical residential customer.
     All interested persons are invited to attend the public hearings to state their views orally, in writing, or both. Statements may also be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission at 465 South King Street, Room 103, Honolulu, Hawai`i, 96813, via postal mail or hand-delivery; or by electronic mail to the Commission's electronic mail address at Hawaii.PUC@hawaii.gov.
     No public hearings are scheduled for Ka`u on the matter. The land planned for use for the project includes a refinery site just off Wood Valley Road on Meyer Camp Road and thousands of acres of pasture and wooded land between Na`alehu and Pahala. According to the County Planning Department, the refinery does not need an environmental assessment or Environmental Impact Statement as the refinery and its 1.25 million gallons in fuel storage tanks are connected to renewable energy agriculture.

Mililani Trask wants to help Hawaiians benefit from geothermal.
     A GEOTHERMAL WORKING GROUP has been established by the Hawai`i State Legislature, and a joint informational briefing is being held today at the State Capitol. The working group will take up a proposed Native-to-Native business model for the development of geothermal energy as a statewide resource for electrical production.
     Sponsoring Committees for the forum include the Senate’s Committee’s on Energy and Environment; Water, Land and Housing; and Hawaiian Affairs. House of Representative Committees participating will be Energy and Environmental Protection; Water, Land and Ocean Resources; and Hawaiian Affairs.
     Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, and Rep. Denny Coffman, chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, will lead the discussion. Individuals and organizations that will be making presentations at the session include the Innovations Development Group, Mililani Trask of the Indigenous Consultants and the chairs of the Hawai`i Geothermal Working Group.
     The purpose of this briefing is to hear about a proposed Native-to-Native business model that recognizes indigenous stewardship of sustainable projects, such as geothermal power.

      THE ELEPHANT UNDERGROUND is offering art and design projects for teens 13 and older every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Teens can work as landscape designers, creating the flower of life geometry pattern for special bees who pollinate wild and garden flowers here in Ka`u.
     Teens can begin writing by just talking story on paper. They can make drawings for the seed runners project, a science fiction adventure story and sculpture installation. The can also post their work with the Elephant Underground on Facebook. Interested teens can go to Ocean View Community Center every Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. through Aug. 3.

Dietrich Varez artwork for Cultural Festival this weekend.
     THE 31ST ANNUAL CULTURAL FESTIAL is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit just off Hwy 11 near South Point Road on the mauka side between mile markers 70 and 71. The event is free and celebrates Hawaiian culture with top Hawaiian entertainment, hands-on cultural demonstrations, local food, crafts and much more.
     Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando described Kahuku as a “a dynamic, young volcanic landscape, steeped in history and a rainbow of land and life.” She said the festival is a gift to local communities that support Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and its programs, and to visitors in order to share the culture and aloha of the island and “this special place.”
     This year’s theme is He ali`i ka `aina. He kauwa ke kanaka (The land is the chief; man is its servant) is visualized in artist Dietrich Varez’s rendering of the uau, the endemic Hawaiian petrel. This endangered Hawaiian seabird nests in the sub-alpine region of Mauna Loa, where Park resource managers monitor their habitat in hopes of increasing the small population within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit.
     Varez’s artwork on festival T-shirts this year depicts the uau and its compelling lifecycle, including a lone chick in a pahoehoe pit nest awaiting its parents’ arrival, a pair of soaring uau, the marine life they feed upon, the pukiawe shrub (which grows in the area), and an active volcano.
     Hawaiian entertainment will include hula performances by Halau Ulumamo o Hilo Paliku and Haunani’s Hula Expressions, and Hawaiian musicians Joseph Nahale, Kenneth Makuakāne, falsetto singer Kai Ho`opi`i, and Aunty Diana Aki and friends.
     Learn how Hawaiians lived, played and created, and use those skills today, through numerous cultural demonstrations by skilled Hawaiian practitioners. Lei making (feather and plant), Hawaiian canoe building, `ukulele lessons, ulana lauhala (pandanus weaving), na pa`ani (Hawaiian games), na mea mala (native plant gardening), and la`au lapa`au (how to identify and use local medicinal plants), are just a few of the interactive demonstrations participants can learn about.