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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Nov. 1, 2011

`Aina Koa Pono plans to build a refinery above Pahala and a biofuel farm on 13,000 acres between Pahala and Na`alehu
and ship the biofuel to the mainland.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. is “re-negotiating certain terms and conditions of the contract” with `Aina Koa Pono, which plans a refinery just off Wood Valley Road and a 13,000-acre biofuel farm between Pahala and Na`alehu. According to attorneys for the utility, if negotiations are successful, HECO “will be submitting a new contract, or possibly an amended contract, for approval with the Commission.” 
     The filing last week, now posted on the PUC website, indicates that the utility will not request by the Nov. 10 deadline, any reconsideration or further clarification of the PUC’s rejection of the AKP contract. 
     HECO lawyers wrote to the PUC, saying: “Hawaiian Electric Light Company, Inc., Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company, Ltd. respectfully inform the Commission that the Companies have decided not to file a motion for reconsideration and/or clarification of the Decision and Order filed Sept. 29.” 
     The utilities said they used the time granted by the PUC to decide whether to appeal, in order to “analyze the impact of the Decision” and to open new contract discussions with `Aina Koa Pono-Ka`u.”
     `Aina Koa Pono has publicly stated that if it does not land a contract approved by the PUC for the electric company, it would attempt to establish its biofuel farm, build its refinery and sell the biofuel to a company in California for a higher price that HECO offered.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC is asking the PUC for approval of another biofuel contract – this one to continue importing biofuel from Renewable Energy Group, of Iowa. A press release yesterday from HECO says Renewable Energy Group is the nation’s largest biofuel producer. The biodiesel is made from animal fat waste and used cooking oil. The contract calls for importing three to seven million gallons a year for electricity on O`ahu. Renewable Energy Group sold about 68 million gallons of biofuel last year. 
     HECO is negotiating with a number of Hawai`i-based biofuel companies and has three proposals before the PUC, awaiting approval.
     “We are committed to beating the legal requirement of 40 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” said Robbie Alm, Hawaiian Electric executive vice president. “We need to bring as much clean energy online as soon as possible.” 

HEALTH INSURANCE RATES from Kaiser Permanente would increase on Jan. 1 by 8.8 percent for some of its subscribers and 9.1 percent for others, according to its proposal to the state health insurance regulator. Kaiser raised its rates 12.6 percent at the beginning of this year and 10.7 percent last year. Kaiser recently extended its services to Ka`u for individuals and businesses.

Kamilo Beach in Ka`u will likely be a draw for tsunami
debris from Japan.  Photo from Center for a Livable Future
TSUNAMI DEBRIS drifting toward Kamilo Beach here in Ka`u and to other Hawaiian shores is difficult to track and plan for removal, due to lack of planning and funding, according to a Sophie Cocke story this morning in Civil Beat. The story reports scientists and federal officials conducting meetings concerning five to 25 million tons of “potential disastrous debris from the Japanese tsunami headed for the shores of Hawai`i and the West Coast.” According to Cocke, “they have been unable to come up with a cleanup plan, and no money appears to have been made available for the problem.” 
     The lead University of Hawai`i researcher on the problem, Nikolai Maximenko, said: “This is an emergency situation, and the problem is that we don’t have emergency funds,” Civil Beat reports.
     The STS Pallada ship out of Russia found debris weeks ago near Midway Island, and researchers predict that some of it could reach here next year, the story says. See more at civilbeat.com.

SEN. GIL KAHELE co-sponsors public Listening Sessions with representatives of the Department of Land & Natural Resources this Friday and Saturday. The DLNR Administration team, including chairperson William J. Aila, Jr., first deputy and Volcano resident Guy H. Kaulukukui, and Water deputy Bill M. Tam, is visiting Hawai`i Island to hear community comments, questions, and concerns regarding topics under the department's jurisdiction.
     Also attending will be members of the state Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing, including chair Donovan Dela Cruz and vice chair Malama Solomon.
     The Hilo meeting will be Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Waiakea High School Cafeteria, and the Kona meeting will be Saturday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Konawaena High School Cafeteria in Kealakekua.

KAHELE ENCOURAGES public comment on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Nani Kahuku `Aina resort proposal for land makai of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park – Kahuku between South Point and Hawai`i Ocean View Ranchos. The plan calls for state Land Use Commission reclassification of Conservation land near the ocean to Urban for hotel, condominium, estate, housing, golf course and commercial development. The resort would be set on the coastal section of 16,000 acres. The document is available online at the state Department of Health website and in hard copy at Na`alehu Library. Click on this link: http://oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Documents/EA_and_EIS_Online_Library/Oahu/2000s/2008-07-08-DEA-Kahuku-Village.pdf.

Dennis Kamakahi
David Kamakahi
KEOKI KAHUMOKU’S annual music workshop starts this Saturday at Pahala Plantation House and runs through next week. A Veterans Day concert for the public will be held on Friday, Nov. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
     Masters of guitar and `ukulele who will teach all week and perform at the concert include Dennis and David Kamakahi; Sonny Lim; John and Hope Keawe; George, Keoki and Moses Kahumoku; Herb Ohta, Jr.; Brittany Paiva; and James Hill. For last-minute sign ups and scholarships for local youth, call Kahumoku at 938-6582.
HAWAIIAN TELCOM service will not be interrupted if its workers walk off the job, the telephone company reports. The International Brotherhood of Electric Workers local 1357 announced yesterday that its 708 workers employed by Hawaiian Telcom voted to strike. Management wants workers to pay for ten percent of their health care premiums – the company now pays 100 percent. It wants to reduce full-pay sick leave from 26 weeks a year to eight weeks. The company promised a wage increase of one percent a year and a $500-a-year ratification bonus.
     The union said it had proposed other cost saving measures. 

THE KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL is organizing for next year and welcomes volunteers to help the farmers with their fourth annual event in Pahala. The festival is open to everyone. The season begins with a Miss Ka`u Coffee pageant, followed by a two-day ho`olaule`a and education session with coffee tasting, a recipe contest, music, and coffee sales at Pahala Community Center. The meeting is at 5 p.m. tonight at Pahala Community Center.

The Housing Preservation Grant program
provides funds to repair health and
safety defects of homes in Ka`u.
THE HAWAI`I COUNTY ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL is taking applications from Ka`u homeowners for its Housing Preservation Grant program. The program removes health and safety defects from homes and makes accessibility improvements for handicapped family members. Applicants must have clear title to their homes and must have owned and occupied the home for at least one year. There are income limits, and applicants must have sufficient equity in their homes. 
     Homes must be complete and have health and safety defects such as leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, foundation and electrical hazards, wood-rot, insect damage or faulty catchment systems. Also, solar hot water systems may be installed.
     Repairs are done by licensed general contractors hired by the homeowners.
     The HPG program is funded by USDA Rural Development to improve the lives of rural communities and by the County of Hawai`i Office of Housing and Community Development to support affordable housing.
     HCEOC, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting poverty, has been carrying out HPG and other low-income housing programs for over 18 years. By the end of this year, HCEOC will have facilitated the removal of health and safety defects from 129 homes. Funding for 108 of these projects came from USDA Rural Development and the County and State of Hawai`i.