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.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs June 3, 2011

Meyer Camp Road, where the `Aina Koa Pono refinery is planned, looking toward Wood Valley Road.
Photo by Julia Neal
`AINA KOA PONO is in a better position to fund its refinery near Wood Valley Road and napier grass farms between Pahala and Na`alehu, now that Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a bill allowing the Public Utilities Commission to approve rate hikes in Hawai`i, Maui and O`ahu Counties to help pay for it. The PUC turned down the rate hike proposal earlier this year, ruling that O`ahu and Maui county residents wouldn’t be allowed to pay for fuel produced only for Big Island power. `Aina Koa Pono and the electric company went to the Legislature and lobbied for a change in the law, and they won.
     Both the electric company and `Aina Koa Pono contend that charging customers electric rates higher than the cost of using fossil fuel will be short-term, as they expect oil prices to rise above the cost of the biofuel. The rate hikes would be under $2 per month per average household. The PUC still needs to approve the contract and has asked the electric company to show more proof that their process, which involves large microwave vaporizers to turn trees, grasses and other feedstock into liquid fuel, will work on a commercial scale.
     `Aina Koa Pono is promising 300 construction jobs to build their $350 million biofuels plant on Meyer Camp Road, off Wood Valley Road. They also promise one hundred permanent jobs to run the plant and the farm. The biofuel would be carried in tanker trucks up Hwy 11 to the power plant near Kona Airport.

The monk seal critical habitat may be extended to waters
off the uninhabited coast of Ka`u.  Photo by Julia Neal
CRITICAL HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL HABITAT could be a new designation for the waters off the Ka`u Coast and around all the Hawaiian Islands if a proposal under the federal Endangered Species Act is approved. Scientists are already talking about moving some of the seal pups from the northern Hawaiian Islands preserve where they are finding it hard to find enough food. The new designation around the inhabited Hawaiian Islands would encourage developers and beachgoers to leave room for seals to reproduce, rear offspring, forage and rest, free from disturbance. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal has a population of only about 1,160. The proposal was published yesterday in the Federal Register and can be seen under Federal Register Notices at www.fpir.noaa.gov. Public comments are welcomed. 

Plastic bag ban image
from keetsa.com
BANNING PLASTIC BAGS on Hawai`i Island will be taken up by the County Council under a proposal by council member Pete Hoffmann. The Ka`u hearing will be on Tuesday, July 26 at Na`alehu Community Center at 5 p.m. The ban would take effect one year after approval to give stores and customers time to make the changeover. Maui and Kaua`i counties have already banned plastic bags, with the law going into effect this past January. On Maui, stores that don’t comply face a $500 a day fine for the first violation and $1,000 a day, if they don’t comply within a month. On Kaua`i the fine begins at $250 a day, $500 a day for the second, and $1,000 a day for the third notice. A similar measure failed at the 2011 state Legislature. 

THE FIRST WEEKLY GREEN MARKET at Ocean View Community Center is being held today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Some of the items for sale include fresh produce, herbs, flowers, plants and honey. Call 939-7033 for more information.

HAWAI`I WILDLIFE FUND sponsors a Ka`u Coast Cleanup at Kamilo Beach near South Point tomorrow. Volunteers meet at Wai`ohinu Park at 7:45 a.m. to carpool to the site. Sign up with Megan at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

The Nature Conservancy calls Kamehame Beach the most important
nesting site in the U.S. for the endangered hawsbill turtle.
Photo courtesy of The Nature Conservancy
ANOTHER WAY TO ENJOY THE KA`U COAST tomorrow is to join the Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on a hike from Punalu`u to Kamehame. The five-mile round-trip interpretive program, led by park ranger Jay Robinson, follows the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail. Call 985-7373 or visit fhvnp.org to register. 

A DINNER AT KAHUKU PARK on Paradise Circle in Ocean View tomorrow will raise funds to support the Summer Fun program there. Dinner is served at 5 p.m. and includes Chef John Repogle’s BBQ pork along with rice, corn and watermelon all for just $5. Beverages are $1, with desserts and other baked goods also on sale. Activities before dinner include a slip and slide, face painting and games. Karaoke is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Pre-sale dinner tickets are available. Call Robin at 939-8491 or Genny at 217-5593.