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.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Feb. 8, 2012

Participants at Na`alehu Elementary's Math & Science Night viewed projects such as anemometers. Photo by Nalani Parlin
A PUBLIC HEARING ON INVEST IN HAWAI`I ACT 2012 will be held this Friday at the state Capitol at 9 a.m., and anyone can submit testimony online. A statement from the Senate describes the bill as “garnering bipartisan support” and describes it as “an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.”
      Among the investments would be development of sustainable and renewable energy resources, such as photovoltaic technology. “Investing in renewable energy and upgrades to information technology initiatives throughout schools, hospitals, and office buildings will ultimately lead to cost savings and a reduction of the State’s carbon footprint,” says a statement from the Senate. Public state facilities in Ka`u that could possibly receive such funding include Ka`u Hospital and the new Ka`u High School Gym and regional disaster shelter, both funded by the state. 
Photovoltaics could save the state money and reduce the carbon footprint
of public buildings, the state Senate says. Photo from solar-green-wind.com
      The Senate statement says that, “with Hawai`i experiencing the lowest interest rates on record and significant savings made from the State’s most recent bond authorization and issuance, now is the time to invest in our State. The program will appropriate funds for shovel-ready jobs projects that will create jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants.”
      The Senate statement points to estimates by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s job multiplier, calling them “conservative” and contending the projects could “create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.”
      Projects would focus on repair and maintenance needs to address aging infrastructure concerns and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities. Projects would include those that address health and safety code concerns. Infrastructure funding would go to the Department of Education, including the State Public Library System; the University of Hawai`i, including athletic facilities; the Department of Accounting and General Services; the Department of Agriculture; the Department of Defense; the Department of Health and health care facilities of the Hawai`i Health Systems; the Department of Human Services; the Department of Land and Natural Resources; the Department of Public Safety and the Judiciary.
      In order to expedite the backlogged repair and maintenance projects, Senate Bill 2012 makes revisions to the State’s permitting, approval and procurement process. “The accelerated process will expedite the creation of jobs and facilitate the return to work for many of our residents,” said the Senate statement.
      Testimony can be submitted online at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx.

Scientists at Keck Observatory were involved in discovering a potentially habitable planet 22 light-years from Earth.
 Photo from www.keckobservatory.org
A POTENTIALLY HABITABLE PLANET, orbiting a star about 22 light-years from Earth, was discovered by an international team including scientists living here on the Big Island and working for the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea. The “super-Earth” has a minimum mass 4.5 times that of the Earth. The planet has a similar orbital period to Earth of about 28 days and is within the star’s “habitable zone,” where temperatures are neither too cold nor too hot for liquid water. 
      “This planet is the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it,” said a discovery team leader, Guillem Anglada-Escudé, of the Carnegie Institution for Science.
      Evidence suggests at least one additional planet, possibly more, orbits the star, which is said to be a member of a triple-star system. Scientists say the host star, an M-class dwarf star called GJ 667C, has a different composition than Earth’s sun, indicating that potentially habitable planets can exist in a greater array of environments than believed in the past. “This was expected to be a rather unlikely star to host planets. Yet there they are, around a very nearby, metal-poor example of the most common type of star in our galaxy,” said Steven Vogt, a member of the discovery team and a professor of astrophysics and astronomy at UC Santa Cruz. “The detection of this planet, this nearby and this soon, implies that our galaxy must be teeming with billions of potentially habitable rocky planets.”
      Published by Astrophysical Journal Letters, the teams’ manuscript will be posted online at http://arxiv.org/archive/astro-ph.

Gardening was a topic at Na`alehu School's Math
& Science Night. Photo by Nalani Parlin
AT NA`ALEHU ELEMENTARY’S Math & Science Night yesterday, participants dove into learning with fun, educational hands-on activities for the whole family. Gardeners planted beanstalk to take home, and others learned about kites and wind socks and viewed student projects such as creating anemometers. 

FISHERMEN SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS of heavy vog that sometimes covers the nearshore waters off of Kilauea Volcano, warns Pahala and Milloli`i fisherman Guy Sesson. Sesson said he recently headed out from Punalu`u to fish near Halape but had to return after he ran into heavy volcanic fumes. “I couldn’t breath,” he said. Another fisherman who left out of Punalu`u on Monday passed away on his boat, and medical personnel are attempting to determine what happened to him. Two experienced hikers passed away after being overcome with sulfuric steam about eight years ago.

STARBUCKS wants more Ka`u Coffee, according to Chris Manfredi, who has helped to seal the deal between Ka`u Coffee farmers and the chain of gourmet coffee cafés. Starbucks is selling Ka`u Coffee in more than 250 stores worldwide, Manfredi told farmers at the Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative meeting last night. The packaging describes Ka`u Coffee as an exciting find for Starbucks buyers who visit coffee growing areas around the world and recently visited Ka`u to see the farms on the slopes of Mauna Loa. Ka`u is sold as one of the elite Starbucks Reserve coffees, and the company may look for a long-term arrangement with the local farmers if supply and good quality are consistent, he said.

THE KA`U RED HATTERS host their annual bake and craft sale to benefit Ka`u Hospital this Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Punalu`u Beach Park. For more information, call Barbara Beatty at 929-9072.

VOLCANO ART CENTER hosts their eighth annual Love the Arts benefit gala this Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Participants will be transported to Venice, Italy, through food, artwork and installations by some of Hawai`i’s most gifted artisans. Tickets are available at VAC Gallery, the Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village, and online at www.volcanolovethearts.org. Tickets are $50 in advance and $60 at the door.