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.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ka'u News Briefs Feb. 9, 2012

The state hopes to double the number of priority watershed preserved, like this one, already under management of The Nature Conservancy at Kaiholena between Pahala and Na`alehu in Ka`u. Photo from TNC
IMMEDIATE PROTECTION OF PRIORITY WATERSHED FORESTS is the aim of a Department of Land & Natural Resources senate bill, SB 2782, discussed in Honolulu this week. It is part of Hahai No Ka Ua i Ka Ulula’au, The Rain Follows the Forest initiative to double protected watersheds within the next 10 years. Conservation Council for Hawai`i Executive Director Marjorie Ziegler says, “this is one of the most important things the DLNR and the legislature can do for our people and generations to come. If you drink water and bathe, you should care.” Testimony can be sent to the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Housing and the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment via http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2782&year=2012.

Ka'u cattle ranchers receive help from the USDA
Rural Development program.  Photo by Julia Neal
THE HAWAI`I CATTLE PRODUCERS COOPERATIVE has won a grant for its 50 ranch members statewide for transportation, marketing and other services. Ka`u ranches that are members of the co-op include Kapapala and Kuahiwi. Funding comes from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grant Program. The cooperative helps members transport their cattle and sell their beef. The grant totals more than $58,000.

ENERGY CONSERVATION EDUCATION and installation of solar water heaters and photovoltaics also received funding from Rural Development. This money went to the Hawai`i Economic Opportunity Council here on the Big Island and totals $1,218,791.
      Sen. Dan Inouye said, “This grant provides multiple opportunities for Hawai`i Island families to save money by using the power of the sun to heat their water, a cost-effective way to manage their utility bills while lessening Hawai`i’s dependence on imported fossil fuels. Hawai`i’s high energy costs are a burden on many segments of our society, and any effort to enhance energy efficiency should be encouraged and supported. I am very pleased that the Obama administration recognizes Hawai`i’s role as the clean energy leader and continues to support our efforts with federal investments.”
Sen. Dan Inouye supports solar.
      Sen. Dan Akaka said, “Solar water heaters are a great investment, and I encourage businesses and homeowners to look into this cost-saving technology. This program—along with the support and ingenuity of people across Hawai`i—will help us continue to move forward as a leader in clean energy.”
      Rep. Mazie Hirono said, “The people of Hawai`i pay the highest electricity costs in the country – close to $170 per household per month. I know first-hand how a solar water heater unit can help ease those costs, as my family has used one for years in our home on O`ahu. This is the type of program that puts people to work installing solar heating units and helps Hawai`i families save money, especially our rural communities on Hawai`i Island. This also keeps our island state on the path to reaching our goal of becoming energy self-sufficient.”
      Chris Kanazawa, USDA Rural Development Hawai`i State director, said, “The High Energy Cost Grant Program assists rural residents and businesses in Hawai`i to upgrade energy infrastructure and make other energy efficiency improvements. These grants are another example of how USDA Rural Development in Hawai`i works to help local rural communities overcome economic obstacles and create opportunity.”
       To sign up, applicants go through an energy audit of the home, attend an energy education workshop and sign assurances to comply with guidelines.
       While the program is set up for families living in poverty, households at 200 percent or above the poverty level can participate in a cost-sharing arrangement. The project covers 80 percent of costs and homeowners pay the remaining 20 percent. Call 322-3428.

Constance Lau, CEO  of HEI
HAWAI`I ELECTRIC INDUSTRIES MADE $128.2 MILLION IN PROFITS LAST YEAR as electric rates reached historic highs. In a statement, HEI President and CEO Constance Lau said, “Our improved earnings help us fund the upfront investments necessary to support Hawai`i’s move to clean energy. We are continuing to reinvest earnings in an aggressive infrastructure program to modernize the electric grid for reliability and to prepare it for significant amounts of renewable energy.” She said HEI invested $200 million in infrastructure in 2011.
      A hearing will be held at the state Legislature tomorrow to consider taking HEI out of the electricity producing business, opening up competition for lower rates to consumers. HEI would be tasked with distributing the electricity through its power lines and charging customers for that service only.

THE HAWAI`I MEDICAL SERVICES ASSOCIATION has granted the American Lung Association in Hawai`i $25,000 for its Ma`opopo Oli Hano (Understanding Asthma) program. The mission is asthma education and management for Native Hawaiian children, their families, and caregivers. School programs provide asthma education and management skills to teachers. Another HMSA grant goes to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Hawai`i to help families understand and cope with a family member who has a mental illness. This program also helps people with a mental illness avoid becoming homeless.

KA`U RED HATTERS host an annual bake and craft sale for Ka`u Hospital tomorrow and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Punalu`u Beach Park. Call Barbara Beatty at 929-9072.

VOLCANO ART CENTER hosts Love the Arts Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 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.

Park visitors hike to Mauna Ulu (top right). Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
TWO GUIDED HIKES are offered at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park this Sunday.
      People & Land of Kahuku at the Kahuku Unit is a moderately difficult hike across 2.5 miles of rugged terrain. Wear appropriate walking attire and bring water. The tour, starting at 9:30 a.m., focuses on human history and ends around 12:30 p.m. The Kahuku Unit entrance lies between miles 70 and 71 on Hwy 11. Call 985-6011.
      Sunday Walk in the Park is offered by Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., in the Kilauea side of the park. Nick Shema leads this three-mile round-trip exploration of the Mauna Ulu area. Group size limited to 15. Free to Friends members; non-members welcome to join in order to attend. Park entrance fees apply. Call 985-7373 or email admin@fhvnp.org.

Thank you our news briefs sponsors: Ka'u Coffee Mill and Pahala Plantation Cottages.