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, August 25, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs August 25, 2011

`Aina Koa Pono hosts a public meeting on Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.

JEFFREY ONO, THE STATE CONSUMER ADVOCATE, has recommended that the proposed contract between the HECO companies and `Aina Koa Pono, as well as the Biofuel Surcharge Provision – the rate hike – be approved by the Public Utilities Commission with some modifications. “The provisions of the Supply Contract appear to be fair and reasonable and in the best interest of the HECO Companies and its ratepayers,” Ono said in his statement released yesterday. The Consumer Advocate further states that he does not object to recovery of the costs of biodiesel, transportation, and related taxes incurred as a result of the supply contract up to the amount it would cost for HELCO to procure, transport, and use an equivalent amount of petroleum fuel in its operations.
     As part of its consideration, the Consumer Advocate took note of the state administration’s support for the proposed project, saying that “the concept of the project ostensibly serves a number of principles that are set forth in the comprehensive plan that embodies the ‘New Day’ initiatives. For instance, relying on fuel deemed to be renewable that is grown in Hawai‘i not only serves the objective of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, it also reduces the current reliance on imported fuels, thereby increasing Hawai`i’s self-sustainability. The proposed contract will provide support for the local economy by productively utilizing land that had been laying unused and also providing additional job opportunities for residents in the immediate vicinity.”
     The Consumer Advocate’s primary concern is whether recovery of the contract costs from only HELCO ratepayers will make the rate impact of the contract too burdensome for the contract to be approved by the Commission. While he states that the biofuel surcharge is reasonable, he recommends that recovery of the costs be applied to O`ahu customers only. In his recommended plan, Hawai`i Electric Light Co. customers would not see a hike in electric rates; only those on O`ahu would see a rate hike. The impact on HELCO and Maui Electric Co. ratepayers (Maui rate increases have already been dropped for the proposal) would be eliminated since both of these systems already provide a significant contribution to the ability of the HECO Companies to meet state Renewable Portfolio Standards and “such contributions are already reflected in the rates that are experienced by the customers on the HELCO and MECO systems,” the statement says.
     While Ono suggests that HECO customers bear the rate increase, he points out that HELCO customers “should be found responsible for the costs of the fuel required to run the units that will be producing the energy consumed by HELCO’s ratepayers.” He suggests that, instead of raising rates, HELCO could recover costs by billing HECO, which would be getting increased revenue from its customers.
     The Consumer Advocate’s statement can be read at puc.hawaii.gov/dockets.

`Aina Koa Pono's proposed biofuel refinery would be
built on Meyer Camp Road.  Photo by Julia Neal 
`AINA KOA PONO WILL HOST a public meeting at Pahala Community Center on Monday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. according to the Office of Councilmember Brittany Smart. The company plans a question-and-answer session and to update the public on its plans for a refinery between Pahala and Wood Valley and a biofuel farm on 13,000 acres near the refinery and along the old sugar cane haul road between Pahala and Na`alehu. The company promised to hold monthly meetings with the community; the last one was held on Feb. 21 in Pahala. 

THE BIG ISLAND WAS NAMED the top Hawaiian island by the annual Travel and Leisure Magazine World’s Best Awards for 2011. Among other islands around the world, the Big Island was ranked seventh, Kaua`i eighth and Maui ninth. In 2010, Kaua`i was ranked second, Maui was ranked eighth and the Big Island was ranked tenth.
     Who did the ranking? From December 15, 2010, to March 31, 2011, Travel and Leisure Magazine readers were asked to complete a survey with five characteristics about the islands to rank them on: natural attractions, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people and value. To protect the integrity of the data, after March 31, 2011 Travel and Leisure screened respondents and eliminated any identified travel industry professionals who completed the survey from the final tally. Hotels, destination spas, hotel spas, cities, cruise lines, tour operators and safari outfitters, airlines, rental-car agencies and golf resorts were also ranked in this survey. Visit travelandleisure.com/worldsbest to find out more.

COMMENTS ON OPTIONS FOR HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park’s future are being taken through September following three meetings this week where the plans were explained to the public through presentations by national park staff and consultants. The plans can be seen on the national park website. Local meetings wrapped up last night in Na`alehu.

Bluegrass teachers including Auntie Belle from Alaska
taught and performed in Ka`u this week and are inviting
enthusiasts to Kona this weekend. Photo by Julia Neal
THE TROUPE OF BLUEGRASS MUSICIANS who performed at Ka`u High School this week is inviting local youth and adults to follow them to Kona for teaching sessions at Queen Emma Community Center on the grounds of the Episcopal Church just below Konawaena High School. The musicians from Nashville, San Francisco and Alaska will teach singing, guitar, mandolin, fiddle and stand up bass with registration on Friday beginning at 3 p.m. The weekend camp will last through Sunday. Cost is $100 for the entire camp. Call 960-8385. 

THE KA`U FARM BUREAU ANNUAL MEETING will be held Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Guest speakers will be state Sen. Gil Kahele and County Council member Brittany Smart. There will be an election of the board and officers. The event is potluck, and anyone interested in the future of Ka`u agriculture is invited to attend. For more information, call 929-9550.

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 today 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 Community Center tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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

ELENA WELCH PRESENTS an evening of Chicago Jazz on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on Saturday. Call 967-8222 or visit volcanoartcenter.org.