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.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs September 19, 2011

Monkeypod and other exotic and native trees provide a canopy, shade, retention of water in the soils and
prevent desertification between Pahala and Na`alehu. Some of these trees could be replaced with biofuel
crops to feed the proposed refinery.  Photo by Julia Neal
`AINA KOA PONO HOSTS A PUBLIC MEETING tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. The company’s website www.ainakoapono.com has posted many of the question and answers regarding concerns of community members in Ka`u. The proposed refinery and biodiesel farm is planned for lands near Wood Valley Road, and a crop farm is planned for former sugar lands and pasture between Pahala and Na`alehu. 
    Representatives of the company have been meeting with small groups of people in Ka`u and are promising 400 construction jobs to build the refinery and 300 permanent jobs. The jobs would be union, according to the spokesmen.
Biofuel refined in Ka`u would be trucked to HELCO's
power plant in Kona.
      `Aina Koa Pono is leasing some 13,000 acres for the project. The biodiesel would be trucked up Hwy 11 to Hawaiian Electric’s power plant near Kona Airport, where it would be used as a substitute for fossil fuel oil. The company also plans to make transportation fuel. 
    The processing involves grinding and drying biomass into pellets which would be vaporized in giant microwave reactors to make the fuel. Some 1.25 million gallons of the fuel would be stored onsite along with other inputs at the refinery along Meyer Camp Road above Pahala.
    The process would require importation and the input into the refinery of tons per day of zeolite, which includes aluminum and silica. The zeolite comes from Arkansas and Australia, according to `Aina Koa Pono representatives. The by-product of making the biofuel would be biochar, which, according to `Aina Koa Pono, could be used as a soil amendment.
    `Aina Koa Pono is hoping that the state Public Utilities Commission will allow a rate hike on electric bills to help pay for the project.

Mazie Hirono
REP. MAZIE HIRONO has won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO union in her quest to win the seat of Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is retiring from Congress. “Fighting for our working families has always been a top priority of mine,” Hirono said in a statement. “In Congress, I have been a strong supporter of working people and will continue to be in the United States Senate because they are family, friends and neighbors and they provide essential services for all of us,” she said. Her opponents include former congressman Ed Case, and whoever wins the nomination could face former Gov. Linda Lingle. 

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES is hiring hundreds of people now and plans to hire thousands over the next couple of years. It recently announced more flights from Japan. A dozen routes to new cities are planned by Hawaiian, which has also ordered new planes. Hawaiian and Alaska are the only airlines in the U.S. that are expanding. 

ASIANA AIRLINES is also expanding, starting new flights from Korea to Honolulu.

Ope`ape`a, the Hawaiian
hoary bat
WILDLIFE ECOLOGIST Frank Bonaccorso presents findings about the elusive behavior of ope`ape`a, the Hawaiian hoary bat, at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. He discusses seasonal movements, feeding, insect prey, reproduction and daytime roosting of the bat, which is Hawai`i’s only native land mammal. He also examines current and emerging threats to the survival of these masters of the night. The program takes place at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and park entrance fees apply.

LOW AND MODERATE INCOME HOUSING is on the county’s radar. Landowners, homebuilders and other organizations interested in pursuing federal funding for low- and moderate-income rentals, as well as housing for sale, are invited to special training sessions this Thursday and Friday.
    The county Office of Housing and Community Development, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Community Planning and Development are coordinating the workshops on the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships programs.
    The workshops will provide an overview of the programs including their objectives, the kinds of projects that may be eligible, some of the steps applicants must follow, the reporting requirements and availability of funding for the programs for 2012.
    Mark Chandler, director of CPD Honolulu, will conduct the workshops in Hilo on Sept. 22 at the OHCD Existing Housing Division Conference Room at 1990 Kinoole Street, Room 104 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
    A second workshop will be offered in Kona on Sept. 23 at the West Hawai`i Civic Center (Community Meeting Hale, 1st Floor) located at 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy. from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Traditional rock walls and trees line the street where a new sidewalk
would be constructed.  Photo by Julia Neal
COMMENTS ON PUTTING SIDEWALKS along the mauka side of Hwy 11 in Na`alehu are being taken until Sept. 30. The sidewalks would run from Na`alehu Methodist Church to Ohai Road, across from Na`alehu School. It is called the highest priority on the Big Island, according to the draft statewide Pedestrian Master Plan. “Although the makai side has a sidewalk in good condition, the shoulders beyond the serviced area can be narrow for pedestrian circulation,” the plan states. 
    One concern about the plan is the future of the shade-making monkeypod trees and stone walls along part of the route. The area is also used for parking during events at Na`alehu Park. 
    The plan can be read, and comments can be made at hawaiipedplan.com or 808-587-6395. 

COMMENTS ON OPTIONS FOR HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park’s future are being taken through September following three meetings 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.