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, February 05, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Feb. 5, 2012

The Directory 2012 cover detail from the Ka`u Coffee Mill mural Akebono Ka`u by Kathleen Kam.
DEFERRED MAINTENANCE AT SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS and other state buildings, as well as upgrading facilities with alternative energy capabilities, are targeted with $500 million in funds from floating state bonds. The entire effort is promoted by Gov. Neil Abercrombie and his administration as an economic stimulus package. 
Calvin Say
      To make these projects go faster, the 2012 Legislature is considering a measure to allow fast-tracking permits and procurements, exempting these projects from county permits when construction meets county, state and federal codes. The Senate Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing this coming Friday on the legislation, called Bill 2012.
      According to a story in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “The dash toward streamlining has given some regulators and environmentalists pause, however, since permitting and procurement requirements are safeguards against substandard work and favoritism.”
      However, “senators have described the procurement process as lengthy and complicated, which can add considerable time to completing state construction. Their objective is to address smaller repairs and upgrades, such as painting a school or rewiring the electricity in a hospital wing, rather than build a new highway or public housing complex, – projects that would demand greater regulatory scrutiny,” the story by Derrick DePledge points out.
Robert Harris
       Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club Hawai`i chapter, told the Star-Advertiser that he “recognizes that the Senate is targeting relatively minor construction projects but believes the exemptions may be too broad.” Harris told DePledge that “governmental oversight is intended to try and prevent bad projects from occurring. This may be too big of a blanket sweep, with a massive amount of money potentially,” Harris said.
Gary Hooser
      According to the Star-Advertiser, House Speaker Calvin Say proposed exempting some state and county projects from the state environmental review law. Gary Hooser, director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, told the Star-Advertiser that the proposal is “ill-advised and unnecessary.”

BANK OF HAWAI`I IN KA`U is not scheduled to close. The rumor was fueled by the bank’s planned closure of Kohala – not Pahala, as Bankoh will shut down three community banks in April, in Kohala on the Big Island and Laie and Aikahi on O`ahu. The bank has been shifting to more online and mobile phone transactions and instore branches, such as those in KTA and Safeway.

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS CONTINUE in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, and visitors are advised to drive with caution and anticipate road closures and delays up to 15 minutes in construction areas.
      Intermittent closures of the entrance station lanes can be expected as crews repave the area. Visitors can also expect parking lot and partial road closures along Chain of Craters Road and along Crater Rim Drive between Kilauea Military Camp and Hwy 11. The west half of the steam vents parking lot is closed, but should re-open next week. Expect some delays on Mauna Loa Road.
      On Feb.13 and 14, Mauna Loa Road will be closed during the day. Hilina Pali Road from Kulanaokuaiki campground to the lower end near Hilina Pali Overlook will be closed between Feb. 13 and 17. All planned construction projects are dependent on weather conditions.
      Park superintendent Cindy Orlando said, “Please continue to pardon our dust as we make these necessary improvements to your National Park.” For updates, check www.nps.gov/havo.
      The improvements serve an increasing number of visitors to the park. Orlando reports that visitations have increased 8.8 percent since 2009, with a 3.6 percent rise in the last year.

CARNEVALE DI VENEZIA: Under a Hawaiian Moon is the theme of Volcano Art Center’s eighth annual Love the Arts benefit gala next Saturday, Feb. 11, with tickets available for purchase online at www.volcanolovethearts.org. For one memorable evening, guests will be transported to Venice, Italy, through food, artwork and installations by some of Hawai`i’s most gifted artisans. Each year the Love the Arts silent and live auctions grow in size and reputation through the generosity of local artists and community sponsors. Fine arts, goods and services will be among the auctioned items. Auction proceeds benefit arts, cultural and environmental programs in and around the Volcano community. Tickets are $50 and are available at VAC Gallery, the Niaulani Campus, www.volcanoartcenter.org and 967-8222. At the door, tickets are $60.

THE DIRECTORY, the annual publication of the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, is being circulated throughout the district. The 80-page guide to businesses, services and community activities in Ka`u features an essay by one of Ka`u’s top students, now studying engineering at University of Hawai`i, feature photos of the beauty and community life in Ka`u, and listings and phone numbers of Chamber members, along with details about businesses in Ka`u to help the community buy local.