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, October 11, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 11, 2011

 HECO has asked the Public Utilities Commission for more time to file a motion for reconsideration and/or clarification
 for its proposed refinery and biofuel farm in Ka`u.
HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. has asked the Public Utilities Commission for an extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration and/or clarification of the PUC’s Decision and Order that denied the contract between the utility and `Aina Koa Pono. Approval could have led to construction of a refinery off Wood Valley Road and biocrop farm between Pahala and Na`alehu. 
     The PUC also denied a surcharge that would have likely led to higher electric bills.
     “The Decision has potentially far reaching implications,” HECO’s request says. “The Companies need time to evaluate the impact of the Decision on many different fronts, including but not limited to, the impact of the Decision on the Companies’ provision to supply renewable electricity in accordance with the State of Hawai`i’s clean energy initiative and the Governor's ‘New Day’ plan, liquid fuel options, and the Companies' strategy to meet renewable portfolio standards as well as broader policy considerations.”
     The original deadline to file a motion was today. HECO is asking for the deadline to be extended “through Nov. 10.”

MICHAEL CHAMPLEY, the governor’s newest appointee to Hawai`i’s PUC, was one of the three commissioners who made the unanimous decision to deny the contract. The decision stated that the cost of the biofuel was “excessive, not cost-effective, and thus, is unreasonable and inconsistent with the public interest.” According to a report in this morning’s Civil Beat, Champley, whose career in the electric utility business spanned four decades, “has expressed skepticism in the past about biofuels and whether they are in the customer’s best interest or only help the utility’s bottom line.” Biofuels “are clearly in the shareholders’ interest,” Champley told Civil Beat before he joined the commission. “What you don’t know is if it’s in the customers’ interest.” 
     According to Civil Beat, “the ruling suggests that with Champley’s addition to the PUC, the commission will be taking a harder line toward HECO and intends to play a bigger role in directing the state’s energy policy.”

INCENTIVES TO ATTRACT more people to live centrally in Ocean View may encourage some people to buy or build houses at the lower elevation near Hwy 11, but many people have chosen to live remotely in the cool, high altitudes on agricultural lands, said Ka`u Community Development Plan Steering Committee member Loren Heck. He was responding this morning to a Stephens Media story that quoted some people’s concerns about planning options that could include incentives for people to move out of the more remote areas of Ocean View. The idea is to encourage more community members to live in more of a walkable Ocean View town, where infrastructure could be concentrated. The idea was being circulated to Ocean View steering committee members and to Ocean View residents for feedback for the CDP.
     Heck said that the county would have to be wary about seeming heavy-handed about where people should live. He said any idea that the county could condemn land and force people to move into a more concentrated housing area would bring on “a sizeable class action suit.” He said the CDP process should be careful not to “treat people like cattle. The idea that, ‘Here you strayed up too far on the hill so we need to bring you back into the herd so we can take care of you,’ will not fly,” said Heck.
     Heck said that upper Ocean View “has a lot to offer. Keep it agriculture. Put money into the unique growing conditions there. It is one of the coldest areas where farmers can grow fruit trees, grapes and produce that you can’t grow in other parts of the island,” he said.

THE KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN STEERING COMMITTEE meets today from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Ocean View. The church is located at 92-1572 Keaka Parkway at the corner of Paradise Circle.

THE PUBLIC HEARING ON NEW COUNTY COUNCIL DISTRICT lines is tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. Six maps show different district lines for Council member representation.
     District lines will change, as required by law, since the county has experienced a population growth rate of almost 25 percent in a decade.
     Concerning state redistricting, Ka`u residents have been lobbying to prevent the Ka`u district from being split in half. A preliminary redistricting plan would put state Rep. Bob Herkes with Puna, as he lives in Volcano. People living between Honu`apo and Ocean View would be represented by a district that would run all the way to Kona, and Herkes would no longer be able to represent them. Testimony will be taken at the state Reapportionment Commission’s meeting at the state Capitol in Honolulu on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

SUBMISSIONS FOR THE GRIEVIN’ AND GROOVIN’ art exhibit at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus are due this Friday. In the tradition of Dia de Los Muertos, the two-day celebration on Nov. 1 and 2 will present artwork, writing, movement and rituals based on the subject of death, loss, mortality and the passage of time. For more information, contact Anne Catlin at 967-8222.

Pu`ukohola Heiau is the topic at tonight's
After Dark in the Park.
 Photo courtesy of Big Island Visitor Bureau
PU`UKOHOLA HEIAU IS THE TOPIC at tonight’s After Dark in the Park at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Superintendent Daniel Kawaiaea, Jr. shares information about this place where the history-makers of Hawai`i lived and where their history comes to life. 

THE KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT Steering Committee will meet at the ML Mac Nut Field Office in Pahala on Thursday at 4 p.m. On the agenda will be progress on the tunnel surveys, status of the transfer of the tunnel sources to Agribusiness Development Corp., funding status and formation of new regional cooperatives. For more information, contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

SEN. GIL KAHELE MEETS with the public at Ocean View Community Center on Friday at 5:30 p.m. Sen. Kahele is using forums to hear the concerns of his constituents as well as help him prepare for the upcoming 27th Legislative session in January. He will provide a re-cap of the 26th Legislative session as well as address specific issues pertaining to the community. Constituents can call 808-586-6760 or email senkahele@capitol.hawaii.gov with issues or questions for the forum.

AN OKTOBERFEST CELEBRATION takes place on Friday at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church on Paradise Circle in Ocean View. The menu will include brats and sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, dill pickles, German chocolate cake and beverages. A live polka band will add to the festivities. Doors open at 6 p.m., with dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Tickets, $12 each or two for $20, can be purchased by calling Cordelia at 939-7555. For more information or to volunteer to help, call Phyl at 929-7146.