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 5, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Land between Na`alehu and Pahala should be for food production, says attorney, farmer and Wood Valley resident Ron Self.
Photo by Julia Neal
WOOD VALLEY RESIDENT RON SELF, who is also a farmer and attorney, has released a statement regarding the proposed `Aina Koa Pono proposal to build a refinery between Wood Valley and Pahala. He contends that the biofuel farm planned for pastures between Pahala and Na`alehu would take up land needed for food production. Self also takes on the electric company, claiming it has too much political power.
     Self writes that the electric company uses its dominant position to pursue initiatives and policies that serve its interest rather than that of consumers. “HECO decided that biofuels is in their best interest to maintain their monopoly” and control energy in Hawai`i “because biofuel can be converted to biodiesel to run their outdated diesel oil burning factories. No need for new investments in energy for HECO.” Biofuels, he says, are uneconomical, citing articles from July and August editions of Scientific American.
     He calls for local government to take over the grid. He suggests the state and county purchase, control, and operate transmission lines, buying them through public funded bonds. Staying away from operating power plants, government would buy electricity from independent producers. Government would sell the power to customers.
   Government could adjust prices to further incentivize renewable energy production, contends Self. He also calls for reorganization and downsizing of the Public Utilities Commission, and says the PUC should work on anti-trust issues and refer them to the state Attorney General.
     `Aina Koa Pono will host a public meeting on Monday, Sept. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center to answer community questions.

THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I was awarded a $6.1 million grant by the Department of Energy last week. According to Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s website, the grants will help develop two photovoltaic inverters controlled by utility smart-grid technology. “We are aligned with the Obama Administration,” says Abercrombie, “in lessening our dependence on fossil fuels.” “Renewable energy is also critical to sustaining our economy. This money will help us get closer to achieving our energy goals.”
     The Department of Energy also awarded a grant of $750,000 to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to bolster the Public Utility Commission’s efforts to resolve grid-reliability issues and integrate renewable sources of energy, including solar.

Rick Vidgen, of Big Island Carbon
BIG ISLAND CARBON, LLC is among the Hawai`i businesses chosen to be showcased during the Asia Pacific Economic Leaders meeting in Honolulu this November. The biomass energy company uses macadamia shells, some of them from Ka`u, to produce carbon used for manufacturing, energy production, pharmaceuticals, and the military. Its president is Rick Vidgen, former president of MacFarms, a large employer of Ka`u residents.
     An economic forum of 21 countries, APEC meetings attract government leaders, university leaders, businesses, and representatives of the scientific community from Pacific Ocean bordering countries in North America, Latin America, Oceania, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. Twelve hundred volunteers will provide greeting, hospitality, translation and other services. The two-days of official meetings begin Nov. 12 and are surrounded by additional meetings, workshops and visits to Hawai`i destinations.

UNITY THROUGH CULTURE was the message of the Marshallese community gathering last Saturday in Ocean View. Jonithen Jackson, a Marshallese leader in Ka`u and head of the Alliance of Community and Health, described the importance of celebrating culture, and the danger of ignoring it. He gave an example of two people at a bus stop coming from different cultures. If they ignore each other, they could end up not understanding one another and getting into disputes. If both cultures are respected, they will get along and help one another. He talked about a new covered bus stop built by the Marshallese community for everyone in Ocean View. 
     Jackson moved permanently to the Big Island in 1991, and hundreds of Marshallese have arrived since then. According to Jackson, there are about 400 Marshallese living in Ocean View – the largest Marshallese community on the island – half of them children. 
Dr. America Bracho, during a Marshallese meeting in Ocean View.
Photo by Julia Neal
     Dr. America Bracho is Founding President and CEO of Latino Health Access, a nonprofit organization aimed at improving health education and training in Hispanic communities in the U.S. The physician came to Ocean View to work with the Marshallese and gave a rousing speech last Saturday. Bracho spoke enthusiastically of Jackson’s vision of community organizing, saying that many local problems cannot be solved without social participation. Top to bottom solutions and advice by professionals alone, aren’t enough, she said.  
     Alejandro Espinoza, the Chronic Diseases Program Coordinator for Latino Health Access, has visited Ka`u several times. Espinoza said the Marshallese and Latinos have gone to training together on the Mainland. He said there are many cultural similarities. “Both have big hearts and are really tied with their community. It’s easier to work with communities like that.”

THE HAWAI`I ISLAND LIONS CLUBS will host a wellness event in Na`alehu Community Center on Friday, Sept. 16. The free clinic is open to the public and offers the following: Diabetes retinal screening, vision testing, blood pressure checks, take-home kidney function test, glucose testing, lung function testing, and hepatitis screening. It will also offer information on Woman’s cancer issues, medication management, help to quit smoking, Native Hawaiian approaches to health, and family care-giving assistance. The event begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m.