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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 31, 2012

Big city fireworks are coming back to Pahala tomorrow night, like the ones seen here from 2009 when more than
1000 people attended. Photo by Kris Bakken
A FIREWORKS SHOW ON JAN. 1 WILL GO ON this year on the grounds of the old hospital in Pahala. This New Year’s Day evening event was dark in 2011 and 2012 because of funding cuts, but Rodney Freitas and his Big Island Klimate Kontrol team will blast off the New Year by selling dinner plates beginning at 6 p.m. tomorrow evening to raise money for the event. The fireworks show will fill up the sky at 8 p.m. The location is between Maile and Huapala along Pikake Street. Freitas is a professional fireworks man who has been responsible for shows on O`ahu and in Kona, as well as the resorts along the Kohala Coast. To donate, call 987-8917. Freitas said the show in Pahala costs more than $7,500.

Ka`u's Jamae Kawauchi with her parents, retired police officer David
Kawauchi and mother Jamie, who retired from OHA. Photo by Julia Neal
JAMAE KAWAUCHI, who grew up in Ka`u, is the new westside Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, reporting to newly elected County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth. Kawauchi is assigned to the Kona office. Roth said this morning that he has admired Kawauchi’s experience as a private attorney and her willingness to help community organizations and kupuna. “When I have worked with community groups the past, she has been one of the attorneys who has always helped. She never turned us down.”
      Roth said that “the appointment has nothing to do with politics. Jamae has been there helping people in the community, including pro bono work.”
      Roth himself is known as a prosecutor who attempts to prevent crime through working with community organizations on Neighborhood Watch, education and other community-based initiatives.
      Kawauchi most recently served as County Clerk after being nominated by former County Council chair Dominic Yagong and confirmed by the Council and Mayor Billy Kenoi.
      She is the daughter of David Kawauchi, a retired police officer, and Jamie Kawauchi, who is retired from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
     Jamae Kawauchi is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and University of Hawai`i Richardson School of Law. She is a former Harvard University fellow and served as assistant director of Harvard Medical School’s Center of Excellence in Minority Health and Health Disparities. She is a former president of the County of Hawai`i Bar Association. She also served on the County Charter Commission.
      In private practice, she was a business and civil attorney who worked with Carlsmith Ball and Tsukazaki, Yeh and Moore before establishing her own law practice.

New, official Brian Schatz photo on
the U.S. Senate's website
HAWAI`I’S DELEGATION TO CONGRESS will meet soon to strategize for the upcoming 2013 U.S. Congress for which Hawai`i has junior senators and House of Representatives members, following a half century of clout built up by the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, retiring Sen. Dan Akaka and former Rep. Neil Abercrombie who quit to become governor.  Newly appointed Senator Brian Schatz spoke with Senator-elect Mazie Hirono over the weekend and announced that the Hawai`i delegation will meet as soon as all members are in Washington, D.C.
      Schatz is already on the job, having flown on Air Force One with Pres. Barack Obama to Washington on Dec. 26, the day he was appointed to fill Inouye’s post.
      “These are difficult times, and it is incredibly important that we unify around what is best for Hawai`i, and every indication so far is that we are going to be able to do that,” Schatz said.  The new U.S. Senators official websiet is up at www.senate.gov/senators/112/Schatz_Brian.htm.

STAFFING POSITIONS FOR U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ are open for applicants. Schatz announced in a statement yesterday that “getting my office operational and building our team is essential, and we’ve made good progress in a very short period of time.”
      “We will be receiving resumes of people interested in serving in either our Washington, D.C. or Hawai`i offices. We’re looking for talented, energetic and public-minded people who want to serve their state and their country,” he said.
      Resumes should be sent to: senatorschatz.jobs@gmail.com.
      The deadline for receipt of resumes is Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. Applicants should indicate whether they are applying for positions in Hawai`i, D.C. or both.

Athletic trainers help prevent and treat injuries.
Photo from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A NEW ATHLETIC TRAINER LAW passed by the state Legislature goes into effect tomorrow, Jan. 1. The legislation states that Hawai`i was one of three states in the country that did not regulate the practice of athletic training. It contended that lack of regulation created a risk to the population as trainers losing or unable to become licensed elsewhere were attracted to moving here. The bill said that it was particularly important to establish regulations since many trainers work with school children. 
      Under the new law, unlicensed people are prohibited to attach the words athletic trainer to their names. Licensing is through the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and the license costs $388. It is valid through Dec. 31, 2015. Certification is required from the National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification, Inc. Classes are available online. For more, see http://hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/programs/athletictrainer.

PEOPLE SETTING OFF FIREWORKS TONIGHT are subject to many laws and restrictions promoting safety. Fireworks are permitted from 9 p.m. this evening to 1 a.m. tomorrow morning. Consumer fireworks include certain firecrackers, snakes, sparklers, fountains, cylindrical or cone fountains, illuminating torches, bamboo cannons, whistles, toy smoke devices, wheels, ground spinners, and novelty items. 
      It is illegal to offer for sale, sell, or give away any consumer fireworks or display fireworks to a minor. It is illegal for any minor to possess, purchase, set off, ignite, or explode any consumer fireworks or display fireworks, except that minors may use consumer fireworks while under the immediate supervision and control of an adult.
      It is unlawful for any person without a permit issued by a county fire department to throw any ignited fireworks from, at, or into a vehicle; at a person or an animal; and from above the first floor of any building. It is also unlawful to set off, ignite, discharge, or otherwise cause to explode any fireworks above the first floor of any building; in any vehicle; at any time not within the periods for use; within one thousand feet of any operating hospital, licensed convalescent home, licensed home for the elderly, zoo, licensed animal shelter, or licensed animal hospital; in any school building, or on any school grounds and yards without first obtaining authorization from appropriate school officials; on any highway, alley, street, sidewalk, or other public way; in any park; on any public beach; in any officially designated forest or wildlife preserve; within fifty feet of a canefield; or within one thousand feet of any building used for public worship during the periods when services are held; and within five hundred feet of any hotel.

HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY urges the public to use caution when using fireworks. Carefully set up and use fireworks in an area clear of overhead power lines. Do not string fireworks on utility poles. If using a ladder, pole, or tie lines to set up fireworks, keep a 10-foot clearance from power lines. Power lines are energized and not insulated and could cause a serious electrical shock, burn, or electrocution. If an object should become entangled in an overhead power line, don’t try to free it. HELCO’s trouble line can be reached at 969-6666. 

HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT CONTINUES DUI roadblocks and patrols islandwide. Almost twice as many traffic fatalities occurred in 2012 as in 2011.

Kilauea Volcano is the subject of many programs in January.
Photo from USGS/HVO
VOLCANO AWARENESS MONTH begins tomorrow, with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory offering programs throughout January that focus on the importance of understanding and respecting the volcanoes on which we live. Each Tuesday except tomorrow, the park offers After Dark in the Park programs at 7 p.m. 
      Other programs are scheduled at UH-Hilo as well as in Ka`u, South Kona and Puna. Visit hvo.wr.usgs.gov for more information.




Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 30, 2012

Gun laws are strong in Hawai`i, and most hunters, like these participants in the recent Mauka Legend Hunting Tournament, are very respectful of gun regulations, says the county prosecutor. Photo by Julia Neal
`AINA KOA PONO’S partner, Sustainable Biofuels Solutions, has received a patent for an aspect of its microwave depolymerization process that would use microwaves to turn biomass into diesel. The process would be housed in a refinery proposed for land near the corner of Meyer Camp and Wood Valley Roads above Pahala.
      A news item on the website run by Sustainable Biofuels Solutions, which owns the patent, is headlined A Patent Issued For Micro Dee System and Method. The announcement says that “SBS is happy to announce the issuance of a patent for the process and method of using a microwave-transparent reaction chamber for production of fuel from carbon based feedstock. This is a great milestone in the advancement of our licensed Micro Dee technology.”
      In August, the company posted another headline: SBS Completes Third Party Micro Dee Process Validation Testing, with the announcement: “While conducting third party testing of its Micro Dee system, SBS confirmed its ability to produce 120 gallons of oil per ton of pine wood based feedstock.”
      `Aina Koa Pono has announced that Micro Dee can do what Nature takes 50 million years to do – use microwave to convert biomass into carbon, which can be used for fuel. The SBS website states that “Micro Dee creates renewable, drop-in diesel fuel from various forms of biomass and municipal solid waste (MSW) using a technique called Continuous Microwave Thermo Catalytic Depolymerization.”
      The SBS website says that the company’s “projects under development will convert not only woodchip and woody biomass feedstock, but also other forms of carbon-based feedstock, including municipal solid waste, construction debris, animal waste, tires, carpet, sugar cane, grasses and more.”
This depiction is on the current `Aina Koa Pono website,
ainakoapono.com, under refinery.
      The biomass for the proposed refinery off Wood Valley Road would come from existing brush, trees and grasses on some 11,000 acres between Pahala and Na`alehu. Once cleared, areas, some of them now in pasture, would be planted with grasses that would be harvested for biomass. The biomass would be formed into pellets that would be dried and put into the Micro Dee refinery. The refinery would have large storage tanks, a cooling stack and some 27 Micro Dee refinery units, as well as a mill yard to store the biomass and tons of additives used daily to manufacture the diesel. `Aina Koa Pono partners say they plan to bring a test plant to the site to show that it will work and fit in with the community.
      The proposal, which would increase electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island, is before the state Public Utilities Commission with questioning from the county, state Department of Business & Economic Development, the state Consumer Advocate and the Life of the Land community group,
      SBS was formed by Mele Associates, Inc, with its chair, Melvin Chiogioji, a founding partner in `Aina Koa Pono. SBS also involves partner TekGar, LLC, the originator of the forerunner to the Micro Dee process.
      See the Micro Dee You Tube film by Leon Udwin at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4cfQGeW2mM. See more at www.sustainablebiofuels-solutions.com and www.ainakoapono.com, and on the PUC website at puc.hawaii.gov.

HAWAI`I HAS THE LOWEST RATE OF GUN DEATHS and the fifth-strictest gun laws in the country, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The organization, based in San Francisco, reports that California has the strongest gun controls and ninth-lowest rate of gun deaths.
Young people in Ka`u grow up hunting, learning skills
 and respect for gun use. Photo by Julia Neal
      Another gun control organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, rates Hawai`i as  sixth in best gun laws. Brady, which lobbies for stricter gun control, rates Arizona, Alaska and Utah as scoring lowest in gun law strength and claims weak gun law states export crime guns at a rate nine times higher than states with strongest gun laws.
      Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports Alaska, Louisiana and Montana, all with weak gun control laws, posting highest rates of death caused by gunfire.
      In addition to strict laws, Hawai`i gun crime prevention is bolstered by most people coming and going on planes, which severely restricts transferring guns island to island and between Hawai`i and other states and countries.
      A story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today quotes Hawai`i county Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth saying hunting culture in Hawai`i is “pretty respectful” when it comes to owning guns. He also notes that Hawai`i gun crime levels are relatively low compared to other states.
        “When you compare our gun laws to federal gun laws, they’re very similar,” Roth told reporter Erin Miller. Local law requires those seeking to own guns to pass an educational and hunter safety course. Permits to own guns and applications go through the Hawai`i Police Department, where staff searches for applicants on national and local databases. Rejections are for commission of violent crimes, including misdemeanor domestic violence and assault convictions. Drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness are other reasons that applications can be rejected, the West Hawai`i Today story reports. Once a permit is approved, handguns must be purchased and brought to the police station within ten days, or the applicant must reapply.
      A single permit per year is required to buy multiple rifles, while each hand gun purchased requires its own permit. The police department maintains the database, providing access for officers who can check on a person quickly, even from a police car, when planning to interact with a suspect, the newspaper reports.
Hawai`i has the lowest gun death rate in the U.S.
Photo by Julia Neal
      Once a gun is registered, there are more rules. Roth explained them to West Hawai`i Today, which reports: “Gun owners may transport their firearms from home to a shooting range or hunting area, and not many other places, Roth said. Guns cannot be in a vehicle without being secured inside a box, and the gun may not be loaded while it is in a vehicle. Roth said state law allows law enforcement officers to seize any vehicle in which a loaded gun is located, and that’s the only instance he could think of in which a vehicle could be immediately forfeited for a crime. Ammunition must also be secured during transport, Roth said."
      West Hawaii`i Today also lists a host of prohibited firearms and explosives: “Prohibited guns, according to state law, are assault pistols, fully automatic firearms, rifles with barrel lengths less than 16 inches; shotguns with barrel lengths less than 18 inches; cannons; mufflers, silencers or devices for deadening or muffling the sound of discharged firearms; hand grenades, dynamite, blasting caps, bombs or bombshells, or other explosives; or any type of ammunition or any projectile component coated with Teflon or any other similar coating designed primarily to enhance its capability to penetrate metal or pierce protective armor; and any type of ammunition or any projectile component thereof designed or intended to explode or segment upon impact with its target. Converting a firearm to an automatic firearm is a crime,” West Hawai`i Today reports.
      See more at www.westhawaiitoday.com, www.bradycampaign.org and http://smartgunlaws.org.

KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN’S Steering Committee met in December and received a report on the plan’s progress. The plan lists objectives that fall under three goal areas:
  • Manage and conserve natural resources 
  • Preserve and strengthen community character 
  • Build a resilient, sustainable local economy. 
      The committee was told that the public review draft for Natural and Cultural Resources is complete and under final review. The preliminary draft of strategies will be revised according to suggestions during the final review. The preliminary draft of the analysis for the section on Community is complete and awaiting agency information. The preliminary draft of the section on the Economy is 60 percent complete.
Ka`u CDP Steering Committee's next meeting is Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013.
Photo from kaucdp.info
      The Preferred CDP will include an Appendix with all supporting detail and analysis. It will be divided into sections on CDP purpose and scope, planning process, community profile, background analysis on strategies and implementation tools. The preliminary draft on CDP purpose and scope is complete, while the preliminary draft of the planning process is 40 percent complete. Preliminary draft of the Community Profile is 80 percent complete, and Land Use policies and Map section is 70 percent complete.
      The next steps, reported cpimtu planner Ron Whitmore, who is in charge of the project, will be to publish the preliminary natural and cultural resource management analysis and to complete preliminary drafts of the community and economic strategies.
      Committee member Eldridge Naboa asked Whitmore if more specific target dates for completion could be provided. Whitmore replied that, because of the scope of the analysis and the number of agencies involved, “it was very difficult to specify target completion dates.”
      Once the first draft of the CDP is ready for review, a number of strategies will be implemented for community feedback and Steering Committee discussion. These include educational workshops, Speak Outs and events to be held in Pahala, Na`alehu, and Ocean View on weekday evenings and weekends.
      Ka`u CDP Steering Committee members were confirmed by the County Council on April 8, 2009. The next committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2013. For more information, see kaucdp.info.

TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY for visitors to vote for their favorite decorated cottage at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Ballots for the Holiday Challenge are available at the front desk, café, general store and recreation lodge.
      KMC brings in the New Year with a party from 8 p.m. to midnight tomorrow at the Lava Lounge. Call 967-8365.
      Crater Rim Café offers New Year’s Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price is $24.95 and $12 for children 6 to 11.
      KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT is continuing DUI roadblocks and patrols islandwide. So far this year, there have been almost twice as many traffic fatalities as during the same period last year. During the week of Dec. 17 through Dec. 23, Hawai`i Island police arrested 33 motorists for drunk driving.




Saturday, December 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 29, 2012

Rep. Richard Onishi, the night before he was elected to the state House, represents east Ka`u into Hilo.
Photo by Julia Neal
NO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION HEARING will be held in Pahala regarding the `Aina Koa Pono case, state Rep. Richard Onishi reported this morning. Onishi recently presented a petition to the PUC, signed by local residents, requesting a local hearing since both hearings on this island were held far away - in Hilo and Kona. Onishi said that he was informed that the public input period has passed for the issue of `Aina Koa Pono.
      The proposal involves harvesting trees, brush and grasses and building a biofuel refinery off Wood Valley Road. Onishi said he is looking at other ways to foster public input on the issue.
      The state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, as well as the County of Hawai`i, the state Consumer Advocate and Life of the Land, have standing in the case, and their input is still being accepted by the PUC. A Jan. 4 deadline requires `Aina Koa Pono and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. to answer questions regarding the proposed electric bill hikes that would support the project, as well as impacts on the agriculture and residential community in Ka`u.
      To read more on the issue, see puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

INCREASING HEALTH INSURANCE RATES will pile on more expenses for small businesses, particularly sole proprietors and independent contractors. HMSA has won approval to increase rates for this segment of the insured by an average of 8.8 percent for those whose insurance HMSA contracts will be renewed, starting next Tuesday. HMSA had asked for a 9.8 percent rate increase, but state insurance regulators cut the increase. HMSA points to rising medical costs and increased use of services.
      Honolulu Star-Advertiser gave an example of an independent worker who faces a $100 increase per month, after being with HMSA for individual coverage for 15 years. Monthly premiums will rise by $100 next year for Sabrina Hue Sing. “Her monthly rates are rising to $488, not including a $500 deductible she is required to pay before insurance kicks in, she said. ‘The first $500 has to be paid upfront, too — that’s ridiculous,’ said Hue Sing, a substitute teacher for Kamehameha Schools and the state Department of Education. ‘Because I own a condo and I rent it, I’m increasing the rent. I’m socking it to my tenants to pay more money, too, so that’s the way it works. That’s a chain reaction. That’s what people do because they have to pay their medical insurance.’”
      The Star-Advertiser story by Kristen Consillio reports that HMSA also seeks an average 1.2 percent increase for employers covering about 78,000 members. The story says that Kaiser Permanente Hawai`i “is asking for a 5.3 percent premium hike for roughly 5,000 businesses with more than 150,000 members.” See more at www.staradvertiser.com.

Sen. Josh Green
KA`U’S STATE SENATORS have their committee assignments. Sen. Josh Green, representing west Ka`u, will chair the Senate Health Committee and serve on Human Services and Public Safety and Military Affairs Committees.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      Sen. Russell Ruderman, representing east Ka`u, will serve on Education, Energy and Environment, Water and Land and Ways and Means Committees.
      East Ka`u Rep. Richard Onishi said this morning that he hopes House committee assignments are set soon so he can get working on them. He said he wants to serve on Finance, Agriculture, Economic Development & Tourism.
Rep. Denny Coffman
      West Ka`u Rep. Denny Coffman served as chair of Energy last year and has yet to receive his committee assignments. Onishi also said he is looking forward to working with Joe Souki, who he predicts will become Speaker of the House. Calvin Say is stepping down, and his chosen replacement doesn’t have the votes, said Onishi.
      The Legislature opens Wednesday, Jan. 16.

THE HILO SERVICE for Sen. Daniel Inouye featured honor guards, speeches and the viewing of the urn holding his cremated remains, which were flown to the island in a small plane and welcomed with a water cannon salute.
      One Ka`u resident, Tokuichi Nakano, a member of the famed 442nd regiment of Japanese-American fighters in World War II, attended the ceremony. Nakano, a Medal of Honor winner, served at the same time as Inouye in Europe. “I think he was a great man and made the whole 442nd so famous, so everyone knows how we fought. He was heroic,” said Nakano.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi, who hosted the event, said that Inouye was key to so many federally funded improvements enjoyed by Big Island residents. He pointed to Saddle Road and called it the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, promising to ask for federal and state approval for the name change.
      Also speaking were Kahu Daniel Kaniela Akaka, Jr., state Senator Malama Solomon; former state Senator Dwight Takamine, who is director of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations; Barry Taniguchi, president and CEO of KTA Super Stores; Monty Richards, chairman of Kahua Ranch; and Ka`iu Kimura, director of `Imiloa Astronomy Center.
      Donations can be made to the Daniel K. Inouye Fund at Hawai`i Community Foundation, 827 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813. Contributions may also be made online at HawaiiCommunityFoundation.org. The fund will continue to help organizations and causes that the senator championed over the years.
      The last Neighbor Island memorial service was scheduled for today at Maui Arts & Cultural Center.
      One Ka`u resident said she traveled to Hilo to see the film Lincoln and was so inspired she was moved to attend the Inouye ceremony at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium to honor another great American.
      The New York Times reported yesterday that Inouye’s “remains were flown to four islands so people could pay their respects, like Abraham Lincoln’s cross-country journey by train after he was assassinated.” Reporter Jeremy W. Peters wrote that after Inouye’s death, “the state went into a mourning period usually reserved for monarchs and presidents.”
      The story also pointed out that when Inouye died, “he was the senior member of the Senate, the second-longest serving member of the Senate, the second-longest serving member in the Senate’s history and the chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, the ideal perch for directing billions of dollars back home.”
      The story also pointed out that Hawai`i “ranked the highest by far in per-capita federal earmark spending, according to the most recent figures from Taxpayers for Common Sense. The $412 million spent on Hawai`i in 2010, before a moratorium on earmarks went into effect, was equal to almost $320 for each of the state’s 1.3 million people. (North Dakota was second, at about $233 per person.)"
      See more at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/29/us/politics/death-of-inouye-means-loss-of-power-for-hawaii-in-senate.

THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN JUSTICE TASK FORCE calls for prisoners held out of state to be returned to Hawai`i. Its recently released report examines the impact of the state’s contracting with non-state facilities on Native Hawaiians. It concludes that, while prisoners in non-state facilities receive more consistent and available programs, live in less crowded conditions and “receive more respect from staff” than prisoners in state prisons, “Native Hawaiians who are sent to non-state facilities are effectively given an unequal burden in relation to non-Ha­waiian prisoners.” This burden includes a dislocation from his or her home, loss of connection to the land, culture, family, job prospects, and community support, the task force says. It also reports that, when released from prison, many offenders incarcerated on the mainland do not have effective transition plans regarding employment, housing, and reintegration into the community beyond compliance with parole.
      “The state should make the return of inmates a top priority, and inmates should be returned as soon as practi­cable, consistent with public safety,” the report states. It also calls for legislation prohibit­ing future use of private, for-profit correctional facilities once all inmates have returned to Hawai`i.
      The nine-member task force also proposed the following recommendations for the Department of Public Safety:
  • Ensure that prisoners who are housed in non-state facilities and who are eli­gible by classification for pre-release programs, such as work furlough, are returned to Hawaiʻi with sufficient time to complete programs prior to their tentative parole date. 
  • Ensure that all allegations of abuse of inmates are independently investigated - and that appropriate corrective action is taken. 
  • Ensure that inmates are allowed to follow their religious and Native Hawaiian - cultural practices, and retain sacred cultural items that do not pose a danger to the security of the institution. 
      The entire report is available online at oha.org/mediapublications/criminal-justice-system.

Mark Kimura documented results of a 2012 Ka`u Coast Cleanup
sponsored by Hawai`i Wildlife Fund.
NEW YEAR’S EVE IS THE DEADLINE to vote in Subaru Hawai`i’s Share the Love Facebook contest. With help from Ka`u residents, Hawai`i Wildlife fund could win $5,000 to support its Ka`u Coast Cleanup efforts next year. Log onto facebook.com/SubaruHI and vote for HWF by clicking once on its logo and then another time on the blue VOTE button.
      HWF’s first Ka`u Beach Cleanup for 2013 is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12. Sign up with Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.




Friday, December 28, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 28, 2012

Pohakuloa opens some training areas to hunting this weekend. Photo from Royden Okinishi
WITH NO HAWAIIAN IN CONGRESS next year for the first time since Sen. Dan Akaka took his seat 36 years ago, Hawai`i’s new U.S. senator, Brian Schatz, is expected to champion the Akaka Bill, which would bring additional rights to Native Hawaiians to govern their communities and their lands. After the swearing in of Schatz yesterday in the Senate Chambers in Washington, D.C., Akaka predicted that Schatz “will advance freedom and equality…. He will defend native Hawaiians and all of our nation’s First People, those Americans who exercise sovereignty on lands that later became part of the United States. He will uphold the values and priorities of our unique state,” said Akaka, who is retiring from the Senate as the author and champion of the Hawaiian rights legislation.
Sen. Dan Akaka welcomed Brian Schatz to the U.S. Senate
yesterday. Image from Politico
      Akaka described Schatz as “a leader for Hawai`i’s present and its future.” He said “Schatz arrived in Washington at a sad time when we continue to mourn the loss of our champion, Sen. Daniel Inouye,” who also supported the Akaka Bill. Inouye was honored yesterday with a service attended by some 500 people at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo.
      Schatz, 40, was born in Michigan but moved to O`ahu with his parents at the age of two. He has been involved in many social justice and environmental issues and was named top legislator in caring for the environment by the Sierra Club. He served in the state House of Representatives for four terms.
      Akaka told Schatz, “I am here to help you in any way I can.” Akaka said members of the congressional delegations “have always put Hawai`i first before our individual ambitions. We must continue that. Hawai`i comes first.”

A RAINBOW OF RELIGIONS colors the background of Hawai`i’s new congressional delegation. Newly appointed Sen. Brian Schatz is Jewish. Sen. Mazie Hirono is Buddhist. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is Buddhist, and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is Hindu. The new delegation marks the first without an elected official with a Christian background serving in Congress.

Shan Tsutsui will work as lieutenant governor on O`ahu and also on Maui
where his family will remain. The arrangement was worked out with Gov.
Neil Abercrombie. Photo from Office of the Governor
SHAN TSUTSUI is promising to be a “liaison for the Neighbor Islands in his new role as lieutenant governor for the state of Hawai`i. Tsutsui accepted the position yesterday, replacing Brian Schatz, who left the post to replace the late Sen. Dan Inouye in the U.S. Senate. Tsutsui, 41, was president of the state Senate, elected from Maui. He told the Maui News that he negotiated the liaison aspect of his new job with Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “I look at this as an opportunity that really shows a commitment to Neighbor Island folks that they can have access,” he told Maui News reporter Nanea Kalani. 
      Tsutsui will also be allowed carry out part of his work while based in Maui. The arrangement gives the capital an annex on a Neighbor Island, harkening back to Hawaiian Kingdom days when the capital moved between the islands. It was in Waikiki from 1795 to 1796, when it moved to Hilo and stayed until 1803, when it moved back to Honolulu until 1812, when it moved to Kailua-Kona until 1820. In 1820, the capital of the Kingdom moved from Kona to Lahaina, where it remained until moving permanently to Honolulu in 1845.
      With Tsutui’s departure from the state Senate, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim has been selected to replace him as Senate President. 

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK has concerns about a proposed commercial heliport close to its boundaries, and the county Planning Department is considering a contested case hearing. The heliport, according to a story in today’s Pacific Business News, would be operated by Paradise Helicopters, and the landing pad would be within 100 yards of the east boundary of the park in Royal Gardens, accommodating up to four flights a day.

THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN JUSTICE TASK FORCE has presented its findings and recommendations to the Hawai`i Legislature. The 28-page report reflects the perspectives and insights of more than 159 people who participated in various community meetings across the state in July and August. The meetings prompted the Task Force’s 49 findings and 38 recommendations for addressing longstanding concerns about the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians who are in prison in Hawai`i and the U.S. mainland. 
      Among the key findings is a lag in efforts to give Native Hawaiian inmates a fighting chance when they get out of prison. Key recommendations include an emphasis on education to reduce the rate of recidivism and to “give Native Hawaiian inmates hope for their future.”
      “Native Hawaiians are over represented at every stage of the criminal justice system,” said Michael Broderick, chair of the task force and CEO at YMCA Honolulu. “With its findings and recommendations, the task force has laid the groundwork for real change. But for anything significant to change, all of Hawai`i must take responsibility to address this unacceptable and sad reality.”
      Kamanaopono Crabbe, vice chair of the task force and CEO at Office of Hawaiian Affairs, added, “There is no looking away from this issue. The task force’s recommendations provide an opportunity to take meaningful action. We no longer have an excuse not to try.”
      In 2011, OHA advocated for the passage of Act 170 to create a task force to formulate policies and procedures to eliminate the disproportionate representation of Native Hawaiians in Hawai`i’s criminal justice system by looking for new strategies to reduce or avoid unnecessary involvement of these individuals with the criminal justice system. Act 170 also calls for recommendations of culturally and fiscally cost-effective mechanisms and legislation and policies to reduce or prevent individuals’ unnecessary involvement in the system.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA is offering opportunities for hunters tomorrow and Sunday. Keamuku Manaeuver Area is open for shotgun bird hunting, and Training Areas 1-4 and 9-15 are open for bow hunting of mammals. Hunters check in at Kilohana Station after 5 a.m. and check out before 7:30 p.m. Hunting passes are available after 5 p.m. today. For more information, call Bob McElroy at 969-2427.

Volcano Art Center's Wreath Exhibit continues through Sunday, Jan.  6.
VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 13th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit continues through Jan. 6 at the gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Gallery artists, working in a wide variety of media, materials, and techniques, present their concepts of “wreath,” from the whimsical to the traditional. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and park entrance fees apply. 

THE DEADLINE FOR YOUNG WOMEN to enter this spring’s Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant is Jan. 15. Categories are Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Ka`u Peaberry. By May 13, Miss Ka`u Coffee candidates must be ages 17 to 24, and Miss Ka`u Peaberry candidates must be ages 7 to 9. The winners reign over the annual Ka`u Coffee Festival on Saturday, May 4.
      Applications are available at R&G Store in Pahala, Pahala Community Center, Grandma’s Closet in Na`alehu and Kahuku Gift & Garden Shop in Ocean View. For more information, call Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or Pahala Plantation Cottages at 928-9811. Organizers also welcome volunteers to help produce the pageant.




Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 27, 2012

Brian Schatz (right) has assumed the U.S. Senate seat of the late Dan Inouye. Schatz came to Pahala Plantation House in 2010 after being elected lieutenant governor and is shown here, left to right, with state agriculture chief Russell Kokubun, state labor chief Dwight Takamine and the man who appointed him to the U.S. Senate, Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Photo by Julia Neal
BRIAN SCHATZ became a U.S. senator this morning, chosen yesterday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye. Schatz flew with Pres. Barack Obama overnight on Air Force One to Washington, D.C. and took the oath this morning with Vice Pres. Joe Biden. 
      Schatz, at age 40, will be the second youngest U.S. senator when the 2013 U.S. Congress convenes. He takes the place of Inouye, who became senator at age 38 and served Hawai`i for more than 50 years in Washington. Inouye was 88 years of age when he died last week after a career that led him to chair the most powerful financial committees and to become President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, third in line to the Presidency.
New U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, 40, rallied the Democrats on Nov. 5, election eve
2012 at Hilo Bandstand.  Photo by Julia Neal
      During the Schatz swearing in ceremony, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called Inouye “an institution unto himself.” Sen. Dan Akaka also praised Inouye, saying, “Inouye will always be a legend in Hawai`i. He will never be replaced.” Akaka said Inouye touched people in Hawai`i and across the country. Akaka also welcomed Schatz to the job, saying, “I thank Brian for volunteering for this incredible responsibility. He only learned of his appointment yesterday and did not have any time to spare…. We need him here.” Akaka talked about problems, which he said were created by Congress, “the looming spending cuts and tax increases, known as the fiscal cliff.” Akaka said the problem “must be fixed in the next five days. Thank you, Brian for accepting this challenge.”
      Akaka urged the Hawai`i delegation to pull together, saying that during his 36 years in Congress, the Islands’ senators and members of Congress were always unified.
      Schatz, who has served as Lt. Governor with Gov. Neil Abercrombie, was chosen to replace Inouye by Abercrombie himself after the Hawai`i Democratic Party nominated three contenders, Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa, state Department of Land & Natural Resources deputy director Esther Kia`aina and Schatz. In a statement issued yesterday, the governor said, “I asked how best could we ensure that Hawai`i remains strong in the long run, rebuilding the seniority of our Congressional delegation in Washington…. I made this decision with the full confidence that Brian’s appointment is in the best interest of the party, the state of Hawai`i and the nation.” Political analysts said that Democrats may have wanted to keep Hanabusa in her congressional seat as she has important committee assignments. Another possibility, moving Hanabusa from the U.S. House of Representatives to the Senate, would have led to a special election with her open seat giving Republicans, including former Gov. Linda Lingle and Charles Djou, a chance at taking away a U.S. House seat from the Democrats.
Vice Pres. Joe Biden swore in Sen. Brian Schatz today.
Image from Hawai`i News Now
      Both Akaka and Reid reviewed Schatz’s background after the swearing in. It includes growing up in Hawai`i as the son of Dr. Irwin and Mrs. Barbara Schatz, surfing and graduating from Punahou School (also the alma mater of Obama), as well as serving for eight years as CEO of the human services organization Helping Hands Hawai`i and four terms in the state House of Representatives. Said Reid, Schatz “served until just a few minutes ago,” as lieutenant governor of Hawai`i and will now build on the experience of the five decades that Inouye served in the Senate. Akaka said he welcomes Schatz “with much Aloha Pumehana.”
      Akaka called Schatz “a leader for Hawai`i’s present and future.” He predicted that the young senator “will be an outspoken supporter of our troops and veterans and a defender of our environment.” He predicted that Schatz will be “a strong, progressive voice” on such issues as climate change, expanding renewable energy, protecting Hawai`i’s natural resources and native Hawaiian rights. He urged Schatz to “speak up and seek justice for those who cannot speak up for themselves.”
      On the tarmac of Andrews Air Force Base this morning after Air Force One landed, Schatz, who chaired Obama’s first campaign in Hawai`i for the presidency, told a pool reporter that he looks forward to working with the President. He said that during the flight last night, “We had a brief chat. We’re anxious to get to work and see what we can do to try to avert the fiscal cliff, and I’ll be looking forward to supporting the administration’s priorities.”
Sen. Dan Akaka at a Democratic
Party rally in Hilo. Photo by Julia Neal
      Atlantic magazine today outlined some parallels between Obama and Schatz. Both attended Punahou. Both went to college in Los Angeles, Obama to Occidental and Schatz to Pomona. Schatz studied abroad in Kenya, birthplace of Obama’s father. Both worked in community organizing after college. Both entered the U.S. Senate at a young age, Schatz at 40 and Obama at 44. See more of Atlantic’s Schatz analysis at http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/who-is-brian-schatz-the-new-us-senator-from-hawaii/266652.

SEN. DAN AKAKA received words of praise from U.S. Senate President Harry Reid this morning after the swearing in of U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz to fill the vacancy left by the late Sen. Dan Inouye. Reid said Akaka, who is retiring from the Senate, is the kindest, gentlest person he has every served with. He said Akaka’s welcoming of Schatz to the Senate was typical. “Never a word about you – always about somebody else,” Reid told Akaka. “You are a wonderful human being and have been a great senator.” Reid encouraged Schatz to follow Akaka’s example.

Kathryn Matayoshi
HAWAI`I STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION will administer college and career readiness assessments to all middle and high school students statewide in grades 8, 9, 10 and 11 beginning in spring. With the testing, DOE will be able to comprehensively collect and examine college and career readiness data in reading, mathematics, science and English. “By 2018, Hawai`i will rank 10th in the nation in jobs requiring postsecondary degrees,” said superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are setting a high bar for achievement and delivering optimal tools and resources to accelerate our students’ trajectory toward college and career readiness. All high school graduates must complete a rigorous course of study and be prepared to successfully pursue their dreams, aspirations and goals.” 
      Starting in April, more than 50,000 students annually will take the ACT PLAN test in grades 8 and 9, the EXPLORE exam in grade 10 and the ACT assessment in grade 11. The new ACT College and Career Readiness System is benchmarked to both the expectations of higher education institutions and workforce. It is also designed to help students plan for future education opportunities and explore careers based on their skills, interests and ambitions.
      For more information about ACT, visit act.org.

WITH HELP FROM KA`U RESIDENTS, Hawai`i Wildlife fund could win $5,000 to support its Ka`u Coast Cleanup efforts next year. Subaru Hawai`i’s Share the Love Facebook contest continues until Monday, Dec. 31. Log onto facebook.com/SubaruHI and vote for Hawai`i Wildlife Fund by clicking once on HWF’s logo and then another time on the blue VOTE button. 
      HWF’s first Ka`u Beach Cleanup for 2013 is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 12. Sign up with Megan Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

WITH AN 81 PERCENT INCREASE IN TRAFFIC FATALITIES compared to this time last year, Hawai`i Police Department is continuing DUI roadblocks and patrols islandwide.
      So far this year, there have been 38 traffic fatalities compared with 21 during the same period last year. Twenty-eight of the fatalities were related to drugs, alcohol or a combination of both. During the week of Dec. 17 through Dec. 23, Hawai`i Island police arrested 33 motorists for drunk driving.

HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES CONTINUE at Kilauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Visitors can vote for their favorite of the decorated cottages through Dec. 31. Ballots for the Holiday Challenge are available at the front desk, café, general store and recreation lodge.
      KMC brings in the New Year with a party from 8 p.m. to midnight Monday at the Lava Lounge. Call 967-8365.
      Crater Rim Café offers New Year’s Day buffet from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Menu items include roast turkey, braised beef, ono picatta, mushroom and leek pot pie, soup, salad bar, desserts and beverages. The price is $24.95 and $12 for children 6 to 11.
      KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 26, 2012

Fencing is up around the new gym and shelter construction site , but an underground human burial site has delayed permitting.
 Photo by Julia Neal
A BURIAL SITE NEAR THE KA`U GYM & DISASTER SHELTER site has delayed construction of the project, as the state, county, contractor, archaeologists and the Burial Council work out a plan to protect it.
      Access to the burials is next to the Pahala tennis courts, through a storm drain blocked by a heavy metal grate, and requires using a ladder. The underground site was recently studied by an archaeologist working on the project by climbing and walking through a series of lava tubes. The burial site location is high up on shelf in the cave, above storm drain water flow, but deep underground, below the surface next to one of the existing school buildings. The underground location is across the street from the open area where the gym and shelter will be constructed.
      Glenn Escott, the project archaeologist, said he is working on a burial treatment plan for state and county review. The protection plan may involve abandoning use of the storm drain.
      The plan is expected to be presented to the Burial Council the third Thursday in January. The Council planned to take up the issue in late December, but there was no quorum of Burial Council members to vote on a solution. Construction of the gym and shelter is expected to lie idle until the plan is accepted.
      About 95 percent of the time, the Burial Council recommends protecting graves onsite. On some occasions, the Council allows the graves to be moved.
      The cave was noted in state records several years ago when a dry well was installed to accommodate a septic system for the elementary, intermediate and high school on what is now the gym and disaster shelter project site.
      When the county sought a grading permit for the new gym and disaster shelter, the Hawai`i State Historic Preservation Division reviewed the plan and brought up the lava tubes and cave, as they are common burial sites. The lava tubes are partially located under the school’s main access road, which could be used by heavy equipment to build the 40,000-square-foot gym, shelter and activity center.
      The archaeologist said those working on the project have concluded that the nine- to 12-foot thick walls of the lava tubes are strong enough to handle the traffic.

Colleen Hanabusa
HAWAI`I DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S central committee today chose its three candidates from a list of 14 people who applied to replace the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye. The committee is presenting its choices to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who will make the final decision and appoint the new senator. Whoever replaces Inouye will be up for election in 2014. The candidates are U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, state Department of Land & Natural Resources deputy director Esther Kia`aina and Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz.
Esther Kia`aina
      Colleen Hanabusa is Inouye’s choice to replace him. The late senator sent a letter to Gov. Abercrombie stating his request the day before he died. Hanabusa was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and serves on House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees. She formerly served as president of Hawai`i State Senate.
      Esther Kia`aina was recently appointed by Gov. Abercrombie as deputy director of DLNR. She was one of eight candidates who ran this year for Hawai`is 2nd Congressional seat vacated by Mazie Hirono. She served as chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Ed Case and U.S. Rep. Robert Underwood, of Guam.
Brian Schatz
      Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz was elected in 2010. Schatz was also a candidate to succeed U.S. Rep. Ed Case in 2006. He was in Hawai`i’s state House of Representatives for eight years.
      In alphabetical order, here are the other 11 who applied:
  • Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case ran for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination this year but lost to U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono.
  • State Sen. Will Espero is Majority Floor Leader and chair of the Senate Public Safety and Military Affairs Committee.
  • U.S. Rep.-elect Tulsi Gabbard is a former Honolulu Council member.
  • Tony Gill, a Honolulu attorney, is son of Hawai`i’s late Lt. Gov. Tom Gill. 
  • Antonio Gimbernat was one of 11 candidates who ran for U.S. Senate this year in the race to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka.
  • Timothy Hogan, a Honolulu attorney, specializes in commercial litigation.
  • Sen. Donna Mercado Kim is vice president of the state Senate. She chairs the Committee on Tourism and Government Operations and the Committee on Accountability.
  • Kurt Lajala is an instructor pilot for a defense contractor at Hickam Air Force Base.
  • Blake Oshiro is Gov. Abercrombie’s deputy chief of staff and a former state legislator.
  • David Tarnas represented North Kona and South Kohala in the state Legislature for four years and currently works for a Waimea-based forestry and renewable energy company.
  • Earl Winfree is a commercial pilot and owner of Winfree Aviation Co. on O`ahu. He has been a candidate for Honolulu City Council. 
      A memorial service for Sen. Inouye takes place tomorrow at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
      Memorial books are available for the public to sign at the mayor’s offices in Hilo and Kona today through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The books will be sent to the Inouye family.

The biggest registered Manele is in
Bird Park. Photos from DLNR
CAN KA`U TOP THESE TREES? The Biggest Tree registry is open for applications for 2013. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is coordinating Hawai`i’s participation in the national documentation that measures height, width of crown and circumference of the nation’s biggest trees. Hawai`i has already registered the biggest trees for some of the more tropical species. Some of these trees are found only in Hawai`i. 
      One of the tallest natives trees of its species was found in Ka`u. It is the Manele, also called the Soapberry. The tallest that was registered so far is a tree at Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. It is 73 feet tall, with a circumference of 29.6 inches and crown spread of 57.2 inches.
      In the Koa Category, Hawai`i ranks first with a South Kona tree that is 115 feet tall, with a circumference of 343.3 inches and a crown spread of 93.3 feet. It is located in Kona Hema Preserve, managed by The Nature Conservancy on the slopes of Mauna Loa.
      In the Hau Category, Hawai`i ranks first with a tree at Hulihe`e Palace in Kona with a circumference of 110 inches, a height of 20 feet and a crown spread of 25.2 feet.
This koa tree at Kona Hema, managed
by The Nature Conservancy, has a
circumference of 343.3 inches.
      In the Coconut Category, Hawai`i ranks first with a height of 103 feet with a tree on Moloka`i. It has a circumference of 14 inches and crown spread of 20 feet. The tree was planted by King Kamehameha V.
      In the `A`ali`i Category, Hawai`i ranks first with a 16-foot, 7-inch tree at Maui Nui Botanical Garden. It has a circumference of 23 inches and a crown spread of 16 feet 2 inches.
      The DLNR is looking for the biggest trees in 21 categories. They are: koa, lama, wiliwili, `ohi`a ha, Malaysian apple, White hibiscus, Hibiscus, Red Kaua`i Hibiscus, Hawaiian holly, Koela lau nui, Hawaiian olive, papala kepau, Hawaiian Sumach, Soapberry, Mamane, O`ahu prickly-ash, Paper Mulberrry, Coconut, Sea Hibiscus, Soapberry Wingleaf and Hopbush.
      To register a tree, take photos and measure its circumference and crown and estimate its height. GPS its location or write down specific directions to locate the tree. Send to Sheri Mann, Cooperative Resource Management Forester
, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
,1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
, Honolulu, HI 96813; or email Sheri.S.Mann@hawaii.gov.
      A Big Tree map for Hawai`i can be seen at https://arcgisonline.com/apps/OnePane/basicviewer/index.html?appid=49274160c80f4ffc8f2f2c9db7ec3915.
This 103-foot-high coconut tree was planted
on Moloka`i by King Kamehameha V.
      The American Forests Big Trees program with photos of big trees across the country can be seen at http://www.americanforests.org/our-programs/bigtree.

VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS variable hula art offerings of hula lessons, lei making, storytelling, lauhala weaving or `ukulele lessons each Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the front porch of the gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Everyone is welcome to the free programs, and park entrance fees apply.




Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 25, 2012

Berta Miranda clutched her Bible as she and other coffee growers waited below the raging fires in June
after escaping from coffee farms at Pear Tree. Photo by William Neal

`Aina Koa Pono biofuel project would change the face of Ka`u.
NO. 1:  `AINA KOA PONO refinery, tree harvesting and biofuel idea would change the face of Ka`u more than any other development since the proposed 2,000-unit resort concept died at Punalu`u. The `Aina Koa Pono project, turned down in 2011, was proposed again to the Public Utilities Commission in 2012. The plan is to build a refinery off Wood Valley Road. It would harvest existing trees and shrubs. It would plant grasses on some 11,000 acres to be used for biomass to make pellets that would run through a microwave refinery to manufacture diesel for a Kona power plant. The operation would raise electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island and lock Hawaiian Electric Light Co. into a 20-year fixed price for the diesel. The partners promise 400 union construction jobs and 200 permanent mill and farm jobs. The county, state and Life of the Land, in a legal proceeding before the PUC, are asking about the impact of using land to grow biofuel instead of food, the displacement of cattle ranchers, the impact on the environment and the lifestyle in Ka`u, and proof that the microwave process will work. The case is expected to be decided in 2013.

Redistricting divided Ka`u in half, giving it representation by two
state senators and two state representatives.
NO. 2:  CHANGING POLITICAL DISTRICT LINES with reapportionment in 2012 led to Ka`u representation by two state senators and two members of the state House of Representatives, as well as electing a member to the County Council who serves a constituency from Volcano into Kona. The redistricting came with the U.S. Census showing growth and shifts in population and the required adjustment of political districts to live up to the one-man, one-vote requirement. 
      While it may be perceived that having more people representing Ka`u could mean more help for the district, all of those elected live somewhere else. While Ka`u’s latest senator, Gil Kahele, traveled regularly from Hilo through Ka`u to his second home in Miloli`i, west Ka`u’s new senator, Josh Green, lives in Kona, and east Ka`u’s new senator, Russell Ruderman, is deeply rooted in Puna. While Ka`u’s latest member of the state House of Representatives, Bob Herkes lives in Ka`u and was deeply involved with obtaining potable water for Ocean View, saving the South Kona Wilderness Area, and funding the regional disaster shelter for Ka`u, the new west Ka`u representative, Denny Coffman, is a Kona resident, and the east Ka`u representative, Richard Onishi, lives in Hilo. While the last member of the County Council, Brittany Smart, lived in Discovery Harbour in Ka`u, the new County Council member, Brenda Ford, is a South Kona resident. All have promised to keep Ka`u in mind, but it may be up to Ka`u residents to keep in touch with them.
A visitor center for Ka`u Coffee opened in 2012.
NO. 3:  KA`U COFFEE reached new success in 2012 with demand outstripping supply. More than 50 Ka`u Coffee growers own their own homes, have their own small businesses and work in coffee orchards on the slope of Mauna Loa. Their marketing and quality have reached some of the finest gourmet coffee stores and restaurants in the world, as well as popular coffee shops like Starbucks. In 2012, Ka`u Coffee Mill opened to service local farmers who would not have to drive their coffee to Hilo or Kona for processing and to also serve as a Ka`u Coffee visitor center. In 2013, the farmers are expected to seek more land security for their existing farms and more land to expand their coffee orchards. At the end of the year, Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative president Gloria Camba thanked the late Sen. Daniel Inouye for helping the coffee growers, many of them displaced sugar workers, through a federal grant that helped them to create the new industry after the last sugar company on the island shut down in Ka`u in 1996.

Hawai`i County's completed its purchases for parklands between
Honu`apo and Punalu`u in 2012. Photo by Julia Neal
NO. 4:  KA`U COAST PRESERVATION made great strides in 2012 with the completion of the county purchase of the last segment of 1,000 acres between Punalu`u and Honu`apo pier. The decade-long campaign involves county, state, federal and private funding and conserves shoreline property that is the closest to the main Hwy 11 that travels through Ka`u. Additional proposals were launched and are likely, with more than 3,000 acres to be purchased for conservation surrounding Road to the Sea on the west side of Ka`u, a Ka Ohana O Honu`apo proposal for the county to purchase the slope below Honu`apo scenic lookout with the land extending southward along the shore, and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s attempt to secure land along the Great Crack, makai of Hwy 11 between Volcano and Pahala as well as land extending to the shore below the Kahuku Unit of the park. 
      The preservation movement is seen as conserving a resource for all the people of Hawai`i and the nation as Ka`u has the longest uninhabited coastline in all of Hawai`i. It is also considered an economic engine for the future when people will stay in accommodations owned by local residents, visit local farms, frequent local stores and restaurants and explore the Ka`u Coast.
      In the words of Sen. Daniel Inouye: “As the urban sprawl continues to spread beyond O`ahu and into our Neighbor Islands, I think all of us will agree that we must be very vigilant in setting aside that which must be protected.”

Ocean View water well blessing drew public officials and longtime
advocates to the new filling station in July. Photo by Charles Tobias
NO. 5:  POTABLE WATER FOR OCEAN VIEW became available to the community after a 20-year struggle for funding from the state that was led by a band of citizens that marched on the state Capitol and lobbied incessantly. Rep. Bob Herkes helped secure the funding. The well was completed, storage tanks installed and spigots opened to private and commercial water haulers. Ocean View residents hauled water for many decades from South Kona and Wai`ohinu but are now able to access free water for domestic use from the site just mauka of Hwy 11. The achievement is another example of the pioneering spirit of Ocean View residents who built a community with no previous infrastructure, volunteering and raising money for their roads, water system, park, community center and ambulance, amenities that have existed since plantation days in Na`alehu and Pahala. Next, they say, is a school.

Several key politicians and community members helped break ground for
the Ka`u Gym & Disaster Shelter in October. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
NO. 6:  A REGIONAL DISASTER SHELTER & GYMNASIUM for Ka`u was funded and ground broken in the most expensive capital improvement project in Ka`u history. Costing some $18 million, the Ka`u Gymnasium & Disaster Shelter will be a sports and events venue for Ka`u High School and the community. Its hurricane-hardened buildings will become the region’s disaster shelter with activity rooms equipped with air-cleaning devices for heavy vog events. The disaster shelter was championed by Rep. Bob Herkes, the gym by former County Council member Guy Enriques, Ka`u High Principal Sharon Beck, Mayor Billy Kenoi and Gov. Neil Abercrombie, along with help from Ka`u’s last Council member Brittany Smart. Construction is expected to get underway in early 2013 with completion in 2014 on the grounds between Pahala tennis courts and the school cafeteria.

Ka`u Coffee Grower Co-op Pres. Gloria Camba checks on
singed farms after the fire in June. Photo by William Neal
NO. 7:  DROUGHT AND FIRES hit Ka`u agriculture hard in 2012, and the rains on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were a welcome relief to ranchers, macadamia, coffee, flower and vegetable growers. Fires surrounded Pahala this summer, burning through macadamia orchards and some coffee and eucalyptus farms, leaving millions of dollars in damage. Flames marched up the main entrance to Pahala and threatened Ka`u Hospital, where patients were evacuated to Na`alehu. Fires burned along the coast and threatened The Nature Conservancy’s Kamehame hawksbill turtle preserve but did no damage to the nesting grounds. With dry weather continuing, more than a month of intense dust storms blew through Pahala and across farms and pastures between Pahala and Na`alehu after the fires ended their path of destruction.

In April, a Big Island Invasive Species Committee hunter
killed its first axis deer on the Big Island -- above
South Point. Photo from BIISC
NO. 8:  THE KA`U FOREST, with both conservation and hunting traditions, became a huge issue in 2012 as the state cracked down on the introduction of game animals, like the axis deer, and also made a plan to manage Ka`u Forest Reserve. The first axis deer to be shot on the island was taken down in Ka`u by a marksman from Big Island Invasive Species Committee. The helicopter pilot who brought the first axis deer to Hawai`i Island to create a herd for recreational and subsistence hunting was sentenced and fined, along with his cohorts. Licensed hunters are encouraged to assist in the effort to protect Hawai`i Island’s natural resources and farms by harvesting any deer encountered in public hunting areas without restrictions for season or bag limit.
Ka`u Forest Management Plan calls for fencing 12,000 acres of forest.
Photo by Rob Shallenberger
      The state Department of Land & Natural Resources released its plan for public comment on its efforts to exclude invasive species, including goats, pigs and sheep, from a portion of Ka`u Forest Reserve in order to protect and propagate native plants and to reintroduce the endangered Hawaiian crow, the `Alala, to the wild. A small band of hunters backed by the Pele Defense fund filed a lawsuit, while the state explained that it would provide hunter walk-over stairs to allow continued access to traditional hunting grounds.

Ka`u Hospital received many upgrades in 2012. Photo by Julia Neal
NO. 9:  IMPROVED MEDICAL FACILITIES were funded in 2012 for expansion of Bay Clinic in Na`alehu and upgrades at Ka`u Hospital in Pahala. Bay Clinic’s new Ka`u Family Health & Dental Center will have the capacity to see 3,400 new patients with 8,500 new appointments. It will be constructed in front of the current Bay Clinic, which is located in an old two-story building from plantation days. 
     “In addition to expanding access to affordable medical care, the new clinic will provide dental and family counseling services and fully incorporate Bay Clinic’s evolving care model known as the ‘Patient Centered Medical Home,’” said Paul Strauss, who said there is a “new day for health care in Ka`u.”
      Ka`u Hospital received funding for air treatment and air conditioning to protect patients and long-term residents from the affects of vog from Kilauea volcano. New windows, doors, ceilings and other upgrades were funded by the state for this Critical Access Care hospital.

With reduced hours, Pahala Library is only open Mondays from
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
NO. 10:  THE FUTURE OF KA`U LIBRARIES became a serious question in 2012 when Pahala Library was reduced to opening one afternoon a week. Pahala Library was open only 64 days of the 121 days that were scheduled between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31 – and even less frequently during the last quarter of the year. Staff shortages and lack of use appear to have put the libraries into a downward spiral, particularly if students are unable to go there regularly before and after school and if libraries are not open when the working public can check out books. County and state elected officials have vowed to follow the issue and help out in 2013, particularly with plans to make the libraries into technology and information centers.

A memorial service for Sen. Dan Inouye
takes place in Hilo Thursday.
Photo from DHHL
A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SEN. DAN INOUYE takes place Thursday at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo. Viewing of the koa box with his ashes begins at noon, with a service from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
      Memorial books are available for the public to sign at the mayor’s offices in Hilo and Kona tomorrow through Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The books will be sent to the Inouye family.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ offers buffets today from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on New Year’s Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The price of $24.95 and $12 for children 6 to 11 includes entrees, side dishes, desserts and beverages. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

KMC ALSO PLANS A NEW YEAR’S EVE PARTY for Monday in the Lava Lounge. Call 967-8365 or 967-8371for more information.