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.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Sept. 18, 2012

 DHHL planner Kaleo Manuel, whose family comes from Waiohinu, goes through the Ka`u Regional Plan with Native Hawaiians.
 Photos by Julia Neal
NATIVE HAWAIIANS FROM KA`U gave input to Hawaiian Home Lands Commissioners last night at Pahala Community Center. The commissioners from all islands gathered to go over their draft Ka`u Regional Plan. Commissioners applauded Ka`u’s Native Hawaiians for forming a Ka`u Hawaiian Home Lands Association and for working as a group to gain more voice for their community. Goals expressed by those who spoke up include developing water for Kama`oa – Pu`ueo area ranches and homes at South Point, making homes more affordable for Native Hawaiians who can’t buy at the market price, and securing good mauka lands for farming and ranching. 
      Agency staff and commissioners talked about the DHHL purchase of 40 house lots in Discovery Harbour in 2005 at discounted prices in an effort to provide Hawaiians the opportunity to purchase affordable housing. Only two families have built houses and moved in at Discovery Harbour. Many others could not qualify for financing.
Paul Makuakane talks to DHHL staff about water for Hawaiian farmers.
      Engaging Habitat for Humanity and other self-help programs to assist Hawaiians in becoming homeowners was suggested.
      DHHL chair Jobie Masagatani also talked about the possibility of making a trade or some kind of arrangement with the state Department of Land & Natural Resources for  homesteaders to  farm mauka Ka`u Ka`u lands that have rainfall and irrigation water. Most of the more than 11,000 acres of Hawaiian Home Lands in Ka`u are in the Ka Lae area, have no irrigation, and are subject to high winds and fires. Wai`ohinu was one of the largest taro growing areas on this island when western explorers arrived. Some Wai`ohinu land is owned by the state, stewarded by the Department of Land & Natural Resources, and has ample soil and rainfall. Masagatani said there have been meetings with the DLNR regarding such a swap.
      Paul Makuakane said he is working on the water situation for the Ka`u Hawaiian Home Lands Association, which is studying the cost of bringing water 14 miles from Ha`ao Springs at Wai`ohinu down South Point Road, versus putting Hawaiians on land near the water source.
      Tommy Kaniho, a Hawaiian Homesteader on one of the 25 pastoral lots near South Point Road, decried the lack of water for ranchers in Ka Lae. He became a lessee in 1986. “When we first got the land they said they would have the water in seven years and they gave us not even one bucket of water in 26 years.” Kaniho said ranchers also need longer-term leases to qualify for financing for their agricultural businesses.
Tommy Kaniho asks for water for ranches along South Point Road.
      Kaleo Manuel, whose family comes from Wai`ohinu, is a planner on the DHHL regional plan for Ka`u. He said the plan is a kind of profile of Ka`u showing opportunities and needs. He said the DHHL properties include the ranches and historically and environmentally resource-rich lands at Ka Lae, the 40 residential lots in Discovery Harbour, 65 acres at Wailau - above the residential subdivision mauka of Punalu`u, and 262 acres in Wai`ohinu.
      He said more public education is needed on the caring for the Ka Lae Lands, including Palehemo, Mahana Bay, known as Green Sands Beach. “It’s not that you can’t go there with your truck, it is learning what we need to protect,” he said. A possible program for curator training is under discussion, said Manuel.
      Sandra Phund, the land development division administrator for DHHL, said she and her staff help bring water, roads, and sewage projects to Hawaiian Home Lands. She said that a $100,000 water assessment plan is underway for Ka`u. In other places, the agency is working on wells and water delivery for agriculture. She said she believes that federal funding is possible to develop water sources in Ka Lae.
      The DHHL chair said her department “is not good” with agriculture and that she is talking with state Department of Agriculture chief Russell Kokubun about partnering with his agency to help Hawaiian homesteaders in their agricultural endeavors.
Jeff Kekoa, President of the new Ka`u Hawaiian Home Lands Association.
      Stephanie Tabada asked the DHHL how it is going to approach the land in Ka`u, “Are you going to do things out here like they did in Hilo with Wall Mart?” She also brought up the new state Public Land Development Corporation and said it should be abolished. She asked if the PLDC, which is able to partner with developers on state lands, would have any say over Hawaiian Home Lands. Masagatani said the PLDC has no jurisdiction over DHHL lands and that the commissioners are the only ones who have a say on how the Hawaiian lands are treated.
      Another woman asked whether the blood quantum requirement for people to be at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian in order to inherit Hawaiian Home Land leases could be changed. Commissioners and staff pointed to 20,000 qualifying people still on the waiting list. Masagatani also warned that such a change would have to go through the state legislature and congress and that there are members of congress who want to dismantle the Hawaiian Home Lands laws and agency.
      Hawaiian Home Lands commissioners stayed in Ka`u last night and continued their discussions this morning at a Ka`u Hawaiian Home Lands Association meeting, led by its president Jeff Kekoa, at Na`alehu Community Center.
      See the complete draft of the Hawaiian Home Lands plan for Ka`u at hawaiianhomelands.org. Comments are being taken.

THE `AINA KOA PONO CASE before the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission will involve intervention of Life of the Land and participation by the County of Hawai`i and the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. The state Public Utilities Commission approved inclusion of the consumer and environmental group, as well as the government agencies, and has posted its decision on its website. The PUC also set a Nov. 30 deadline for public testimony in the case.
      The case determines whether the PUC will approve a 20-year contract between `Aina Koa Pono and Hawai`i Electric Light Company for a fixed price for biodiesel that would be manufactured at a refinery at the mouth of Wood Valley and trucked to HELCO’s oil burning power plant near the airport in Kona. The refinery would use a patent-pending process called Micro Dee, with 27 large microwave units to process pellets made from grasses, shrubs and trees, sending the resulting vapor and gas up a stack to draw off biodiesel.
      Big Island hearings on `Aina Koa Pono are Monday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m., Hilo High School cafeteria and Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m., Kealakehe High School cafeteria in Kona.
      To read and submit testimony, see the `Aina Koa Pono case at puc.hawaii.gov. Click on `Aina Koa Pono under “What’s New?”

Kealakehe High School is the site of a State Senate and House candidate
forum tonight. Photo from vthawaii.com
STATE SENATE AND HOUSE CANDIDATES for districts between Honu`apo and Kona participate in a public forum tomorrow, 6 p.m., at Kealakehe High School. State Senate District 3 candidates are incumbent Josh Green, Jeff La France and Michael Last. State House District 5 candidates are incumbent Denny Coffman and Dave Bateman.
     The forum will air live, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., on LAVA 105.3 FM. Other candidate forums at Kealakehe High School are: U.S. Senate and U.S. House at 2 p.m. this Sunday; Hawai`i County Mayor and Hawai`i County Prosecutor at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1; and Hawai`i County Council District 6 (Volcano through South Kona) and District 9 (Waikoloa, Kohala) 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8.

ALI`I KEANAAINA performs at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., in the Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Singer, songwriter and musician Keanaaina debuts his first solo album, He Mele No. The public event is free, but entrance fees may apply.

KEIKI, GRADES K THROUGH 8, can sign up through Thursday for a String Art program hosted at Pahala Community Center on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more call Nona at 928-3102.
Organizers of the International Day of Peace celebration at Honu`apo
make peace flags for attendees. Photo from Shary Crocker
COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE ENCOURAGED to pre-register for a ranger-guided hike through an isolated refuge of rare plants in a remnant old-growth forest within the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This Kipuka`akihi Hike is scheduled for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-registration required, hike is free to all. For more, call 985-6011.

HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUB OF KA`U meets Thursday. For more, call 929-9731 or 936-7262.

THE FIRST 60 PEOPLE TO ATTEND the International Day of Peace celebration at Honu`apo Park on Friday, will have a choice of three different block printed peace flags to take home. The event starts at 3 p.m. and organizers encourage everyone to wear white for a human peace sign photo at 4 p.m. The photo will be “shared with the world,” says one event coordinator Shary Crocker. For more, call 939-9461 or 929-7647.