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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs August 24, 2011

More hiking and vehicular trails could be established in the Kahuku section of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
THE NA`ALEHU MEETING for Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s public input on options for its new General Management Plan will be held tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Options for the future of the park include more trails, camping, activities and facilities at Kahuku, as well as connecting Kahuku with upland trails across Mauna Loa to Volcano. Another option is limiting vehicular access around Halema`uma`u Crater. The proposed options can be read on the park’s website. The park hopes to gather community comments by Sept. 30. They can be sent in by email through the park website or by mail to Cindy Orlando, P.O. Box 52, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, HI 96718. Comments will also be taken this evening at the Na`alehu meeting.

The drilling is long finished for the new
Ocean View well.  Photo from
WORK ON THE WELLS at Ocean View to provide potable water to residents and businesses could be delayed, according to county Department of Water manager Milton Pavao. Ocean View residents Don Nitsche, Mike Dubois and Allan Stafford asked to see a plan that would show more clearly how water will be loaded into water hauling trucks. They also said they need to understand how individual residents will pick up small quantities of water. 
     According to Stephens Media, Pavao said, “We have a right to stop a contractor, and if there is this much concern, we have to stop it,” Pavao said. “I'm not going to go ahead with this after hearing the concerns,” declared the water manager.
     Completion of the project was scheduled for September, and the water would be available at the spigots in October.
     Pavao plans to visit the site soon.

WATER BILLS GO UP AGAIN on Sept. 1, this time by eight cents for every thousand gallons. The increase is called a power cost charge and is blamed on the rising cost of electricity. It was approved by a unanimous vote of the county board of water yesterday. The power cost charge has been steadily increasing. Back in February, it was $1.75 per 1,000 gallons. In March it went to $1.80, and June it went to $2.23. In September it goes to $2.31.
     No one testified on the bill hike at a public hearing called before the meeting. The Board of Water is allowed to change the power charge to customers every two months. 

FORMER COUNTY MANAGING DIRECTOR Barry T. Mizuno, who is also a geothermal energy expert and a Certified Public Accountant, will sit on the University of Hawai`i Board of Regents. He starts immediately, but his volunteer task won’t be permanent until confirmation by the state Senate when it convenes in January. Mizuno, from Hilo, was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the vacant East Hawai`i seat formerly held by Harvey Tajiri.
     The Regents oversee the three University of Hawai`i campuses and seven community colleges.

THE DRAFT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT for Nani Kahuku `Aina’s proposed resort development between South Point and Ocean View along the coast states that the project “will change the character of developed portions of the site from open space to a rural community character.” It contends that most highway travellers would not notice the changes, because there is already little development present. It further claims that development would make the coast more accessible as there is little present infrastructure. A 300-foot conservation zone along the coast would minimize effects on the shoreline. The plan calls for a hotel, golf course, golf estate, condominium and commercial development and would require changing land along the coast from conservation to urban and resort. 
     Traffic would increase, says the Draft EIS, as part of a general trend on Mamalahoa Hwy with or without the development of Kahuku Village. Nani Kahuku `Aina would implement road improvements to minimize increased traffic.
     Construction and operation of Kahuku Village would inevitably produce solid waste. Green waste from construction, like shrubs, the Draft EIS says, would be turned into mulch for the site or recycled. All unrecyclable waste would be dumped at the county landfill. At the village’s completion, there would be 21 solid waste transport station sites and the option for some residents to hire private waste disposal companies.
     The Draft EIS says Nani Kahuku `Aina would consider lowering energy consumption with renewable energy sources like solar. The resort may also have access to wind-powered electricity from Kamaoa Wind Farm. However, the decision on whether to connect to the wind farm or HECO’s facilities would “be made based upon factors such as reliability of power supply, construction and operational costs, and the availability of easements or access rights for transmission lines,” says the Draft EIS. 
Nani Kahuku `Aina resort developers
promise to protect hawksbills, which
nest at Pohue Bay.
     Adverse effects on air quality could be unavoidable during construction when dust could be released into the air. In the long-term, the Draft EIS says, the impact of dust and traffic in Kahuku Village on air quality would be below State and Federal standards “even during worst-case conditions,” says the Draft EIS. During construction, the greatest noise impacts would most likely come from bulldozers and diesel trucks, but will fall under state and federal regulations.
     Adverse environment effects from Nani Kahuku `Aina’s Kahuku Village resort development would be offset by the benefits it would offer, claims the draft EIS. The county would expect to collect about $10 million more in net revenues through taxes collected from the resort development. The Draft EIS claims the development would add 393 temporary full-time jobs during construction, and 1,509 permanent full-time jobs upon completion. Wages of these workers would also benefit the economy, the EIS says.
     According to the Draft EIS, Kahuku Village would implement a Natural Resources and Cultural Management Plan to help preserve the land’s natural and cultural resources. A Hawaiian Heritage Center would help preserve archaeological and cultural resources. The development would dedicate 100 acres to the county and state for civic facilities as well as offer affordable housing. However, the construction and environmental assessments of the civic facilities would be up to the county and state.
     Comments on Nani Kahuku `Aina are due Sept. 21 through the state Department of Health’s Office of Environmental Quality Control. The entire document can be downloaded from the state health department website under the OEQC.

SEN. GIL KAHELE’S first in a series of community forums will be held a week from today, next Wednesday, Aug. 31 at Cooper Center in Volcano from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. He said a series of community forums will allow local residents to voice their concerns and to prepare him for the 2012 state Legislature. Participants may email questions or concerns prior to the meeting to senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov.

COUNTY COUNCILMEMBER BRITTANY SMART, state Office of Aging executive director Wes Lum and Hawai`i County Office of Aging executive Alan Parker are hosting meetings on needs of senior citizens tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. at Na`alehu Community Center and 2 p.m. at Pahala Senior Center. Another meeting takes place in Mt. View on Friday at 10 a.m.

PARTICIPANTS WILL LEARN STRATEGIES to protect homes and families against wildfires during a Wildfire Preparedness Workshop tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. For more information, call Carolyn Stewart at 885-6354.