|Coffee and mac nuts along with making soil from mac nut husks, near the proposed `Aina Koa Pono refinery site. Photo by Julia Neal|
Aina Koa Pono recently raised its estimates of permanent jobs it promises at the factory and farm from 100 to 150 and 200.
The process would include large microwave processors to make biodiesel from trees, shrubs and crops harvested in Ka`u and elsewhere. The bulk of the synthetic fuel produced at the refinery would be hauled in tanker trucks to the power plant near Kona to be used as a substitute for the fossil fuel the electric company burns there. The rest would be used to make transportation fuel and would likely be trucked to the harbors for shipment to a refinery where fuels for cars, trucks, boats, ships and planes could be made to their specifications.
According to the county and state, no Environmental Impact Statement nor Environmental Assessment are needed as the refinery that would be constructed here serves agriculture and renewable energy.
|Mayor Billy Kenoi|
MORE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ARE GOING OFF GRID. Mayor Billy Kenoi will activate the West Hawai`I Civic Center’s 250-kilowatt solar photovoltaic facility today, just before the `Aina Koa Pono public hearing on developing a biofuel refinery in Ka`u in the same building. The ceremony is at 3:30 p.m
THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN invites Ka`u fifth graders to sign up soon for the annual Girls Exploring Math and Science conference on Nov. 17th at the Keauhou Beach Resort in Kona. Space is limitied. Girls who participate in GEMS will be joined by women from the local community who will show them how math and science relate to their careers. Through these hand-on workshops and exhibits, the AAUW hopes to stimulate interest and boost girls’ confidence in math and science. All fifth grade girl students residing in the West Hawai`i School Complex Area – whether from private or public schools – incuding Ka`u, are welcome. Girls will be eligible for scholarships. Registration forms will be distributed to public and private schools the week of Sept. 6. Registrations will be accepted on a first come first served basis until the Sept. 30 postmark deadline. Space is limited, so girls are advised to register early. For more information email AAUW at email@example.com or call the GEMS registrar Laurel Gregory at 322-4858.
WHILE KA`U IS WORKING on its Ka`u Development Plan, Puna’s Community Development Project Action Committee is looking for three people to serve. The Puna CDP includes the south end of Volcano Village, the golf course area and Hawai`I Volcanoes National Park headquarters, even though these are in Ka`u. Prospective candidates must send in their applications to the Planning Department by 4:30 p.m. on first of September. Terms for three of the current members of the committee will be expiring this November, and the county Planning Department is calling for people living in the CDP area – all the way to Volcano Golf Course – to consider volunteering.
BIG ISLAND POLICE report the arrest of 25 drunk drivers last week, bringing the year total to 835 DUI arrests so far. Police say this is a 5.4% decrease from the number of DUI arrests this time last year. The number of traffic fatalities are also down over 21%, from 19 last year to 15, 8 of which were drug or alcohol related.
A SCENIC BYWAY MEETING will be held at Pahala Community Center tomorrow at 7 p.m. Highway 11 in Ka`u has been nominated to as a State Scenic Highway, following an application by the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce to the federal government. “The Slopes of Mauna Loa” with its large stretches and untouched landscape, was the theme chosen by the committee established by the Chamber to oversee the designation of the scenic byway.