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.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 15, 2011

Nani Kahuku `Aina's draft EIS is available for review, and comments are due by Nov. 6.
NOV. 6 IS THE DEADLINE to submit testimony for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Nani Kahuku `Aina resort development, Sen. Gil Kahele reminded constituents during his community forum last night in Ocean View. He said that whether people are for or against the project, they should read the EIS and give their opinion. He said that he has remained neutral on the project and wants to let the process take its course. The EIS is available at libraries and online at the Hawai`i Department of Health website under Office of Environmental Quality Control.
     The resort plan calls for hotel, condominium, house, golf course and commercial development and would require a change of county General Plan and state Land Use Commission designation from Conservation to Urban near the coast.
     During the meeting both Kahele and Rep. Bob Herkes talked about efforts since the 1980s to preserve the South Kona and Ka`u Coast for the benefit of all Hawai`i. Herkes said that incredible historic sites of old Hawai`i remain along the coast, simply because it is so dry and rugged and has not been developed.
     Kahele said he worked with Pa`a Pono Miloli`i to stop a development at Kapua and the Riviera. His son Kaiali`i Kahele is now president of Pa`a Pono, and the group is working on a response to the EIS for Kahuku. 

Mayor Billy Kenoi
Photo by Julia Neal
MAYOR BILLY KENOI announced yesterday that tight restrictions on hiring, overtime, purchases and other expenses have allowed the County of Hawai`i to realize a fund balance of $24.682 million at the end of the 2011 fiscal year on June 30. That is $10.74 million more than the county expected to have on hand at the close of the fiscal year, and represents a determined effort by every department to cut costs, conserve resources, and increase the efficiency of county government, said the mayor. 
     “This is the culmination of years of hard work to reduce the size and cost of county government, and I am extremely proud of our employees for pulling together to cut spending and prepare for the future. We know we face some difficult times ahead, and these reserves will be critical to providing the police, fire and other essential services our communities need,” said Kenoi. The county budget for this year is $35.9 million, 8.9 percent less than the budget in effect when the Kenoi administration took office in 2008.

THE NEW MEDICAL VAN for Ka`u and South Kona will be on the road by early December, Rep. Bob Herkes announced last night at Sen. Gil Kahele’s community forum in Ocean View. He said it would be operated by Kona Hospital and likely make its home during the week at Na`alehu School. It will be used extensively in the schools and will travel to remote communities. Telemedicine will be on board. “Down in the village of Miloli`i,” said Herkes, the staff “can be in contact with doctors at Straub or Queens.” Medications will also be distributed from the van. 
Rep. Bob Herkes gives his report on the new medical van for Ka`u and South Kona during the Kahele forum.
Photo by Julia Neal
OCEAN VIEW RESIDENTS say they are considering another tack to prevent Rep. Bob Herkes’ state House district from being cut in half, which would eliminate Herkes as their representative. The redistricting plan would put everyone from Honu`apo through Miloli`i with residents living in resort communities in Kona. Pahala through Volcano would be put with Puna residents. 
     The effort to protect Herkes’ seat comes on the heals of two lawsuits already filed about state Senate reapportionment, one by Sen. Malama Solomon and several other people in Hilo, and a second by Kona attorney Mike Matsukawa. Both go after the Reapportionment Commission and claim it is illegal to include temporary residents like the military when counting the population used for setting up the voting districts. 
     In Herkes’ case, his supporters are considering filing a case with the Circuit Court, stating that they would be unfairly denied representation by the representative whom they have elected. The case would list all of his accomplishments and contend that districting rules require keeping communities together as much as possible. 
Sen. Gil Kahele with some of his constituents who stayed after the forum last night in Ocean View.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE NEW KA`U DISASTER SHELTER AND GYM took a lot of negotiations between the county, state and governor, Rep. Bob Herkes explained. According to a Jason Armstrong story in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald, the Legislature had to provide the money directly to the county instead of to the Department of Education, which had placed it 60th out of 64 on its priority list. Herkes told Armstrong that the gym and shelter is the biggest project he can remember the state financing in Ka`u. The cost is $17.9 million. 
     Herkes noted that the facility will be the first federally certified evacuation shelter in Ka`u. It must be impervious to vog and should also “fit into the feeling of Pahala,” he said. The County Council must formally accept the money for the project to proceed, and Council member Brittany Smart has already issued a statement of thanks to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Herkes, Kahele, former council member Guy Enriques and others who helped push for the funding.

Herds of axis deer damage pastures and farms on Maui.
Photo by Eric Nishibayashi
DON’T LET THE VENISON go to waste, said several constituents at the Sen. Gil Kahele meeting last night. Shooting invasive axis deer from helicopters and leaving them to rot in the wilderness is not the way to manage the elimination of the deer, said Donnamarie Pabre. She suggested that local hunters be allowed to harvest the deer and take home the venison, or that professional hunters bring the venison to a central place to be distributed. She also said that the lives of the deer should be considered, as these animals are not responsible for their introduction here. “Don’t mow them down,” she said. 
     Axis deer, which were recently reported in Ka`u, have damaged agriculture on Lana`i, Moloka`i and Maui, said Kahele. The County Council is creating penalties for anyone moving them here, and the governor and Legislature are also looking into additional measures, said the senator. 

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. submitted a Request for Proposals yesterday to the Public Utilities Commission. It asks for proposals to make energy for O`ahu, and some of it could be delivered by cable from Neighbor Islands. The electricity running by cable would likely be generated by wind and/or geothermal. The RFP, which must be approved by the PUC, also calls for proposals to build interisland cables. 
     Life of the Land applauded the RFP, saying its members appreciate an “open and transparent process geared towards maximizing renewable energy penetration in Hawai`i.”

THE MONGOLIAN BARBECUE at Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano happens today from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The fundraiser features 14 masters of the wok preparing each diner’s desired stir-fry combination.