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, 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.