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, October 17, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 17, 2011

The SS Pallada finds tsunami debris from Japan headed toward Hawai`i.
THE CREW OF ONE OF THE FASTEST TALL SHIPS in the world has found debris from the Japan tsunami near Midway. The debris is headed this way. The 356-foot, three-masted, steel-hulled SS Pallada from Vladivostok, Russia, found the debris that includes a 20-foot-long fishing vessel, clearly marked as a boat from Fukushima. The crew was able to hoist it onto the Pallada, along with other flotsam from the tsunami, and haul it to its homeport in Russia.
     The Pallada crew, from Far Eastern State Technical Fisheries University, is working with University of Hawai`i researchers at the International Pacific Research Center using an animated model to predict the path of the tsunami debris. The ship’s crew tested the debris for radiation and found none coming from the items they hauled on board. This is good news for the Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund volunteers who clean up the Ka`u Coast and are likely to come across debris from Japan over the next several years.

`AINA KOA PONO is planning to go ahead with its refinery and farm in Ka`u and “is now in negotiations with a publicly traded oil company to buy the entire output of its $350 million, 13,000-acre Big Island project for use in California,” says a story posted by Pacific Business News writer Duane Simogawa on Friday.
     Plans to build the refinery are yet to be submitted to the county planning department and other agencies. Fields have yet to be planted with biofuel crops, but a test plot of various grasses that could be grown for biofuel has been planted along Wood Valley Road.
     Pacific Business News wrote an editorial last Friday contending that the Public Utilities Commission made the right call in turning down a contract through which `Aina Koa Pono would sell biofuel to Hawaiian Electric Co. to be used in its O`ahu and the Big Island power plants. The editorial said that the biofuel contract could have led to $10 million in electric bill hikes in the first year of biofuel production, and $100 million in hikes to ratepayers over life of the contract.
     The PUC said the contract price for the project is “excessive, not cost-effective and, thus, is unreasonable and inconsistent with the public interest.”
     PBN editors said, “The PUC’s responsibility is to decide how much money our state’s regulated utilities should be allowed to make, while keeping costs for consumers under control. And, to that end, we cannot fault the PUC for its decision to ‘just say no.’ While we unequivocally support our state’s push for renewable energy, we also happen to think the transfer can happen in a way that should allow businesses and households alike to balance their budgets.”
     Said PBN, “The `Aina Koa Pono agreement did not, in our opinion, do enough to show an appreciation for the competing interests of energy independence and energy affordability.
     “We don’t think Hawai`i businesses and households have an extra $100 million — or more — to spend on biofuels during the next two decades,” concluded PBN.
     In its response to the PUC denial of the contract, HECO asked for an extension of time to file a motion for “reconsideration and/or clarification.” The PUC has given the HECO until Nov. 10. The state Consumer Advocate has already asked the PUC for a clarification of its decision to deny the `Aina Koa Pono contract. 
     `Aina Koa Pono has posted a response to the PUC decision on its website at ainakoapono.com. `Aina Koa Pono notes that the Consumer Advocate did not object to the PUC approval of the `Aina Koa Pono project and pointed to new laws passed by the state Legislature that would have allowed the cost of the biofuel to be higher than fossil fuel in order to help meet the state’s goals of becoming more independent from fossil fuel.
     `Aina Koa Pono says that the PUC must consider “long-term benefits in this situation and may find that short-term increased costs are reasonable, and not excessive or inconsistent with the state’s energy policies, and thus find a basis for approving the AKP contract.”
     AKP predicts that without its large-scale biofuel production, HECO could be forced to import biofuel at an even higher cost than AKP is proposing. “This would be a substantial undermining of the State of Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative and goals,” states `Aina Koa Pono.
     The PUC stated that it does not oppose locally produced biofuels and is considering other projects, including those using algae as the source for biofuel. It also concluded that the `Aina Koa Pono project could deter the use of alternatives that could be less expensive in the future. `Aina Koa Pono says that its large-scale biofuel farms are the way to balance Hawai‘i’s energy alternatives.
     `Aina Koa Pono is also promising 200 permanent jobs and 400 construction jobs.

Entertainment for fundraising at Cooper Center.  Photo by Julia Neal

  Wok master Ron Serrao cooks for
Mongolian BBQ.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE MONGOLIAN BARBECUE at Cooper Center in Volcano brought together many chefs to cook for each person who made a donation to the fundraiser Saturday night in Volcano. The twice-a-year event raised more than $1,000 for Cooper Center and will be held again next April, said Linda Ugalde, of Cooper Center. It was the 43rd Mongolian BBQ for Cooper Center. 

THE HAWAI`I POLICE DEPT. hosts a public meeting in Ka`u tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct. 18, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Na`alehu Community Center. The purpose is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in the Ka`u District.
     These district community meetings rotate through the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, participation is encouraged only for persons who live or work in Ka`u.
     Those interested but unable to attend may call Capt. Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP for listings and ads in The Directory 2012 is Monday, Oct. 31 -- two weeks from today. Published by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, The Directory has information about local businesses, community organizations, important phone numbers, an events calendar, maps of Ka`u, and many photographs as well as art from winners of the latest cover art contest.
     For an application, visit kauchamber.org or call Ron at 928-6471.

SPORTS OVER THE WEEKEND: Ka`u Trojans came up with 14 points in their game against Hawai`i Preparatory Academy in Kamuela on Saturday, but HPA took home the win by putting 49 points on the scoreboard.