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.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs August 28, 2011

The Marshallese community shares its dance at Ka`u High School functions over the years.  Photo by Julia Neal
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY EXPERTS and promoters met in Hilo yesterday to go over plans for the future. Panelists represented geothermal, Hawaiian Electric companies and the University of Hawai`i as well as a company attempting to purchase Hawaiian Electric to move it more toward geothermal and other alternatives.
     Concerning the biofuel refinery and farm planned for Ka`u, energy expert Robert Rapier said that he would object to the `Aina Koa Pono project using taxpayer money to build it. He said the microwave processor is unproven in its ability to scale up from the size that has been tested and used commercially to the size required for the refinery. He said that he does not object to private money being use for risky business, but the public should not have to pay for it.
Robert Rapier
    Rapier said that scaling up takes time and is done in increments, which is very costly. He said it is like cooking one turkey or 1,000 turkeys. If the scaling up is not done through testing and in increments and you try to cook 1,000 turkeys at once, you can end up with perfectly cooked turkeys in the middle, burnt turkeys on one end and frozen turkeys on the other end of the assembly line.
     Rapier said, “I think they are making representations if you look at the history of the technology, it is not where they said it is.”
     `Aina Koa Pono says it will use all private funding, but Hawaiian Electric has asked for rate hikes to pay for the fuel once it is produced. `Aina Koa Pono also claims that scaling up is not a problem according to their own engineers.
     Rapier said yesterday, “When somebody is skipping from a lab scale to a commercial scale, most things die.” He pointed to a number of alternative energy projects that are scaling up, for which millions of dollars are being spent on the larger test projects.

Joshua Strickler, of the PUC (l) and
Henry Curtis, of Life of the Land
THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION does not have the authority to order an Environmental Impact Statement for the refinery that would be built between Pahala and Wood Valley, nor the biofuel farm that could occupy thousands of acres, much of it now in ranching between Pahala and Na`alehu, according to PUC attorney and researcher Joshua Strickler, who spoke at the energy meeting yesterday. 
     The county and state have also said they have no authority to order an EIS. Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz wrote in June to a Pahala resident that “no environmental assessment is required. I urge you to write to the Public Utilities Commission and call `Aina Koa Pono directly,” he said.
     Henry Curtis, of Life of the Land, wrote that the state could ask for an EIS, contending that the processing plant fits the definition of a refinery.
     `Aina Koa Pono will meet with the public on Monday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center, its first public meeting here since February.

Kekuhi Kanahele
KEKUHI KANAHELE, a Hawai`i Community College staff member and cultural practitioner who frequently visits Pahala, urged those at the energy conference to ask the deeper question of “what is the impact of anything we do now for 100 to 400 years? What is the impact on the resource? What is the exchange - life for life?” She said that from the Hawaiian perspective, “we must measure and observe lifetimes of the particular action on the `aina, the heaven, the substrate and the ocean.” 

ADDING SIDEWALKS ON THE MAUKA SIDE of Hwy 11 from Na`alehu Methodist Church to Ohai Road, across from Na`alehu School, is the highest priority on the Big Island, according to the draft statewide Pedestrian Master Plan released last week. “Although the makai side has a sidewalk in good condition, the shoulders beyond the serviced area can be narrow for pedestrian circulation,” the report states.
     The plan can be read and comments can be made at hawaiipedplan.com or 808-587-6395. Comments are being accepted through Sept. 30.

THE MARSHALLESE COMMUNITY of Ocean View invites the public to a community forum and health resource fair being held next Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Kahuku Park in Ocean View. The results of a community needs assessment consisting of 200 questionnaires will be presented along with current and future projects finalizing with a roundtable discussion on the next steps in transforming Ocean View and surrounding communities into healthy and thriving communities to live, work and play. Please RSVP to manitimejmouralliance@ymail.com.

THE OCEAN VIEW FOOD BASKET is this Tuesday, August 30, from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Ocean View Community Center. Call 939-7000 for more information.

SEN. GIL KAHELE’S first in a series of community forums will be held next Wednesday, Aug. 31 at Cooper Center in Volcano from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. He said the series of community forums will allow local residents to voice concerns and to prepare him for the 2012 state Legislature. Participants may email questions or concerns prior to the meeting to senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov.

KUMU HULA MAILE YAMANAKA is considering new classes in hula, song, Hawaiian language, culture, mythology, history and place names in Ka`u. Those interested can all her at 937-4249.