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, August 01, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs August 1, 2012

Supporting alternative energies, such as hydroelectric for the Ka`u Coffee Mill (above), and biofuel for the electric utility and transportation are part of the Edmund C. Olson Trust II plan. Photo by Julia Neal
EDMUND C. OLSON TRUST II has renewed its commitment with `Aina Koa Pono to lease some 3,000 acres and a location for a test site for a biofuel refinery near the corner of Wood Valley Road and Meyer Camp Road. Olson said this morning that the biofuel processor will be a test plant and much smaller than earlier planned and would allow trial runs for the new technology.
Along with offering land for a biofuel project,
Edmund C. Olson plans to restore the old Keaiwa Reservoir
for irrigation and a hydroelectri plant. Photo by Julia Neal
      `Aina Koa Pono plans to work with the company offering a new microwave processing technology. A test plant will be moved from North Carolina to the land above Pahala, Olson said. He said he is not an investor in the venture but offered to lease land in his quest to help provide green energy for the state. He is also working on a small hydroelectric plant for his coffee mill and macadamia husking plant on Wood Valley Road. He said that the local hydroelectric plant could power up more than 300 homes in Pahala. On O`ahu, some of his land is planned for windmills. 
      `Aina Koa Pono has retained the public relations firm Hastings & Pleadwell to make its case to the community. The Public Utilities Commission turned down a proposal from `Aina Koa Pono last year to sell biofuel to Hawaiian Electric Co., a plan that would have raised electric rates on the Big Island, Maui, Moloka`i, Lana`i, and O`ahu. Electric rates are the highest in the country. `Aina Koa Pono has also said it wants to make biofuel for transportation.

Rep. Mazie Hirono.
Photo from mauidemocrats.org
Mufi Hannemann.
Photo from hgea.org
WHILE PUBLIC WORKERS WERE “on the public dime,” Ka`u County Council candidate Bradley Westervelt, Mayor Billy Kenoi, congressional candidate Mufi Hannemann and a spokesperson for U.S. Senate candidate Mazie Hirono gave campaign speeches, according to a story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today. One of the venues was in Ka`u, at Na`alehu gym.
      The Nancy Cook –Lauer article says only those candidates endorsed by the United Public Workers union were invited to speak during two-hour “educational and information meetings” to which state and county workers were sent, during their work time. The meetings were scheduled around the island, July 2, 3, 23, and 24.
      “Section 2-83 of Article 15 of the Hawai`i County Code of Ethics prohibits county employees from using county time, equipment or facilities for campaign purposes,” the story reports.
      Les Kondo, Executive Director of the state Ethics Commission, told West Hawai`i Today, “It’s inappropriate to use state resources, including state time, for campaign purposes.”
      West Hawai`i Today estimated the cost of the meetings to county taxpayers: “anywhere from $15,978.60 to $28,695.28 in salaries alone,” plus travel time to the venues. In addition to Na`alehu, sessions were held at West Hawai`i Civic Center, North Kohala Public Library, Waimea Civic Center, Honoka`a High School Cafeteria and Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium, the newspaper reported.
Bradley Westervelt.
Photo from Bradley Westervelt
      Cook-Lauer wrote that when District 6 County Council Candidate Bradley Westervelt was asked “whether he thought campaign forums are an appropriate use of taxpayer money, he broke the connection and did not call back.” Westervelt said he did call back and left a message. He said he doesn't know if it is inappropriate to campaign to public workers while they are on the job as he is unfamiliar with their UPW contract. He said he did give speeches to government workers at West Hawai`i Civic Center and Na`alehu gym, which are located in areas connected with the district where he is attempting to win the County Council seat.
      According to West Hawai`i Today, council member Brenda Ford, who is running against Westervelt for the District 6 council seat, said the following: “As a former union steward on the mainland, I absolutely support the right of the unions to take two hours or whatever to talk to their union employees. I absolutely disagree with any electioneering by union management or by candidates on county property and on county time … It should be flat-out illegal for anyone to campaign like this … what’s next? Bring in your ballot to the meeting and let them fill it out for you?”
Mayor Billy Kenoi.
Photo from
      The story reports union members saying that blue sheets with the names of endorsed candidates were given out by the UPW during the meetings.
      According to Cook-Lauer, state UPW Director Dayton Nakanelua said the practice of having such meetings during work is protected in the union contract and has been upheld in court.
      Mayor Billy Kenoi told West Hawai`i Today that he was not campaigning. “I was invited by the UPW leadership,” Kenoi said. “I went there to thank the workers for all their hard work and to promise that I would continue to work hard and to work fairly.”
      See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

COUNTY CLERK JAMAE KAWAUCHI plans a press conference today to go over her reasons for conducting, July 21 through 23, an audit of the Hawai`i County registered voters database. According to a Nancy Cook-Lauer story in this morning’s West Hawai`i Today, Kawauchi examined the register, understanding that Hawai`i county’s 101,728 registered voters represent a relatively high percentage – 71.2 percent of the island’s 18-years-and-older population, reported by the 2010 census. The story said “she found that several Hawai`i County voters voted twice in the 2010 elections and some people were registered more than once in the county elections office database.”
      The Associated Press is reporting that Kawauchi found that four people voted twice and that between 50 and 60 people were registered more than once. Kawauchi has discussed the situation with the Attorney General’s office and the state Office of Elections and is expected to explain more today, the story says.
      According to West Hawai`i Today, “The problems she revealed predate her tenure as County Clerk.” Kawauchi became County Clerk in 2011.County Council Chair Dominic Yagong told West Hawai`i Today: “All Jamae was trying to do was be thorough. When everything does come out, people will understand why she did what she did.”

A 3.1 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE struck as a sharp jolt at 4:51 a.m. today. It was located in the ocean, 10 miles east, southeast of Na`alehu, 12 miles south, southeast of Pahala and 14 miles northeast of the Lo`ihi Seamont, the underwater volcano off the coast of Ka`u.

KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS announced a recess from language classes during August. Spanish Circulo will resume on Monday, September 10 at 10 a.m. Hawaiian Pohai starts Tuesday, September 11 at 6 pm, followed by Community Singers rehearsal at 7:30 pm. All three of these weekly activities will take place at Discovery Harbour Community Hall. For more information, call 929-7544.

OCEAN VIEW NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH meets tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the Community Center. Call 939-7033 for more.