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 4, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs August 4, 2011

A brush fire burned between the two entrances to Punalu`u yesterday.
Photo by Tim Bryan courtesy of Big Island Video News

KA`U RESIDENTS testified this week at the public hearing on the proposed biofuels refinery between Pahala and Wood Valley and biofuels farm between Pahala and Na`alehu. Dennis Elwell, a Discovery Harbour resident and retired university science professor, suggested that before the contract is approved to fund a high risk, high return energy project like this, there should be a pilot project built to prove that it can work. He said the plan to use a microwave reactor to make biofuel is still experimental.
     Chris Manfredi, manager of Ka`u Farm and Ranch for owners of 6,000 acres in Ka`u, said that it is important to study the proposal entirely before changing the direction of local agriculture, which has diversified into coffee and other products in recent years. He said the project uses "the air we share," the water used for agricultural and pointed to the the seismic risks since large earthquakes have been recorded here.
     Manfredi is president of the Ka`u Farm Bureau but said he was speaking for himself. He asked for a farm plan to show what would be grown for biofuel crops. He also said it would be good will toward the community to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement to answer questions from the community, even if there is no trigger requiring it. He brought up dust, smoke and odors as questions for the developers. And asked where any such biofuel plant is up and running in a community anywhere on the planet.
     The public is invited to send testimony to the Public Utilities Commission at 465 South King Street #103, Honolulu, HI 96813 or hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov.
     See more in tomorrow's Ka`u News Briefs.

A BRUSH FIRE BURNED between the two entrances to Punalu`u yesterday, shutting down Hwy 11 into the afternoon and evening and forcing traffic through Ninole Loop. The fire burned on both sides of the highway, and the road did not reopen until 11 p.m. Water was still being dropped by helicopter this morning to put out the hot spots. The fire started on the Hilo side of the north entrance to Punalu`u, jumped Ninole Loop and then Hwy 11. Most of the damage was to grasslands. Arson is suspected. Discovery Harbour and Pahala volunteer firefighters responded. Engine 10 from Pahoa joined the Pahala county firefighters, along with Engine 19 from Volcano. A water truck from the county road crew helped out. 

Lava broke out on the west flank of the Pu`u `O`o cone.
Photo from Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
MANY PEOPLE DROVE to Jaggar Museum and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory last night and witnessed three glows. A bright glow lit the crater walls of Halema`uma`u crater. A very bright glow was shining from Pu`u `O`O, and the moon presented a glow to the south. Pu`u `O`o crater floor collapsed yesterday afternoon, taking the lava lake with it. About 15 minutes after the start of the collapse, a high-volume lava flow issued from west flank vents on the Pu`u `O`o cone and flowed northwest and south along the west edge of previous flows. At the summit, the lava lake surface started to slowly recede yesterday afternoon. Seismicity was elevated within the summit area and low elsewhere. Gas emissions remained elevated from summit and rift zone vents, according to Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientists. 

Raylene Moses
Photo from Bay Clinic
RAYLENE MOSES, OF NA`ALEHU, has been nominated and confirmed to fill Rell Woodward’s position on the Hawai`i Windward Planning Commission. She works with Ka`u Electric, a family contracting firm, and is a longtime member of the community group `O Ka`u Kakou. 

“THE SLOPES OF MAUNA LOA” is the theme being used by the committee that is working on designating Hwy 11 through Ka`u as a federally recognized scenic byway. The group had three public meetings recently and has divided the highway into three sections for different subcommittees to focus on. The sections are: from Manuka Park to South Point Road, from South Point Road to the Punalu`u turnoff and from the Punalu`u turnoff to the entrance to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Anyone interested in helping can call Marge or Dennis Elwell at 929-7236.