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, October 11, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 11, 2012

Last night, community members protested AKP's private meeting with select individuals, asking for the meetings to be
 open to the public. 
`AINA KOA PONO moved its private meeting with select community members to the Ka`u Coffee Mill last night, after being told to find another venue by management of the KAHU radio station. The meeting remained closed to the public and media. Some of those invited to the meeting stood with signs on Wood Valley Road, saying “Where is the transparency, people?,” “Keep Ka`u Ka`u” and “AKP Not Pono.”
Chris Eldridge, AKP partner
      The meeting was originally scheduled for KAHU Radio station, by its co-founder Wendell Ke`ahu`ae`a, but volunteers at the station and members of the public called for the community radio station to be “neutral ground” on the issue of building a refinery just off Wood Valley Road. The project also involves a proposal before the state Public Utilities Commission to allow `Aina Koa Pono to sign a contract with Hawaiian Electric Light Co. that would lock the utility into a 20-year set price for purchasing biofuel from `Aina Koa Pono. The contract would also cause electric bills to go up once the refinery is producing diesel. The diesel would be trucked up Hwy 11 to the oil-burning power plant next to Keahole Airport in Kona.
      Dorothy Kalua, who grew up in Pahala, had a career in accounting with an airline and moved back to the village to live with her mother, was invited but declined to come to the closed meeting. She sent the following letter, which she asked the hosts of the meeting to read:
      “I am opposed to putting a microwave polymerization refinery in our town. I am not only opposed because of the effect it will have on our community, our roads, our land, and our people. I am also opposed to it for the State of Hawai`i. To place our state in a contract for the next 20 years with a process that has not been commercially used, expending our resources on this process with a company having no history of success, ignoring the other energy sources on this island... is unwise in the very least. 
Eldridge stated at the meeting that AKP would bring individual
MicroDee units to the property to test them rather than
initially building a large refinery. Photo from biofuels-solutions.com
      “To grow sterile grasses to create fuel to feed an old (power plant) refinery rather than the people is not the best use of our land. One only needs to explore the results of such behavior in other parts of the world.
      “I am opposed to this for my town, my state... and for the world.
      “We need to lower energy costs. Lower energy costs will create more jobs for this island and this state than any one company can promise.
      “It is realized that the people involved in this proposal are putting themselves in position to make money. It may be good for those few people in the short term, but not for the future of all the people. I decline your offer.”
      Kalua wrote as a post script, “There are even those who say ...besides being financially unsound and environmentally damaging this undertaking is immoral.”
     According to several people attending the meeting, the hosts did not read the letter to those attending.
      `Aina Koa Pono has stated that it will create 400 construction jobs and 200 permanent jobs for its refinery, harvesting and biofuel growing operations. Its contract proposal before the Public Utilities Commission says it will be selling 18 million gallons a year of biofuel to Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
      However, according to people who attended the meeting, `Aina Koa Pono partner Chris Eldridge put forth that the hui would not build a large refinery initially, but would first bring individual MicroDee, microwave depolymerization units to the property to test them. According to several people attending the meeting, the `Aina Koa Pono representative also talked about the reason for having the private meetings with small groups of people, saying that small private sessions are being conducted so that people would feel comfortable listening and answering questions. 
AKP promised at last night's meeting that there would be no clear cutting of
trees between Pahala and Na`alehu to feed the biofuel refinery.
Photo by Julia Neal
      According to people attending the meeting, Eldridge also stated that the company is not going to be clear cutting the trees between Pahala and Na`alehu for biomass for its refinery.
      Company representatives have said in the past, however, that they will be cutting brush and trees for the first several years of operation before growing crops for the refinery.
      People attending the meeting also said that during the scale up to the big refinery, `Aina Koa Pono promised, only about one truck a week would be going up the highway.  Eldridge also said that the refinery would not be adding trucks on the highway, even when operating at full scale, since trucks are already going along the highway after imported fuel is unloaded at the harbor. `Aina Koa Pono would be replacing rather than adding trucks, he said, according to meeting attendees. 
      Mike Munnerlyn, a contractor living in Pahala, who attended the meeting, said he has some concerns about the small amount of SO2 and the high amount of moisture that would be emitted by the cooling stack at the refinery. He said he worries that the combination of high moisture, vog that often blankets the Wood Valley area, and the additional SO2 could be trapped in the valley making vog conditions worse and damaging crops. 
      Public hearings on the issue of whether to allow Hawai`i Electric Light Co. to buy the diesel at a fixed rate for 20 years are set for Oct. 29 at Hilo High School Cafeteria at 6 p.m. and Oct. 30 at Konawaena High School at 6 p.m. Public testimony is due Nov. 30.
      For more, see ainakoapono.com. See the presentation on the proposed microwave refinery technology at biofuels-solutions.com. See public testimony and the proposed HELCO contract and the `Aina Koa Pono and HELCO position at puc.hawaii.gov.

RED CROSS VOLUNTEERS MEET tonight at 7 p.m. at H.O.V.E. Road Maintenance Corp. office in Ocean View. Current volunteers and those interested in becoming volunteers are welcome. For more, call Hannah Uribes at 929-9953.

KA`U TROJANS SPORTS LINE-UP FOR THE WEEK includes a home football game tomorrow versus Konawaena at 7 p.m. On Saturday, girls volleyball plays Kohala at Pahoa at 10 a.m. and an air riflery match is set at Waiakea.

Kumu Leilehua Yuen and Mau Josiah demonstrate at Hawai`i Volcanoes
 National Park Saturday. Photo by Kenji Kuroshima 
HULA INFORMANCE, Hula Arts At Kilauea, is performed Saturday at 10:30 a.m. on the hula platform in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Kumu Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah present a 50 minute narrated demonstration of the preparation, protocol and offering of traditional hula and chant. A hands-on cultural demonstration is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Volcano Art Center Gallery porch. The event is free – donations welcome – but park entrance fees apply.

STORY FLOW is Saturday at 7 p.m. in Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The show features up to ten six-minute stories, told by community members, relating the theme of the month: The First Time. Those interested in telling a story can sign up at 6:45 p.m. Entrance fee is $6. For more, call 967-8222.

KA`U LIONS, of Pop Warner Football, play Keaukaha Warriors in Pahala this Sunday. 

MEDICINE FOR THE MIND, a Buddhist healing meditation for beginners and the advanced, is offered Sunday, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at Kilauea Military Camp Chapel in HVNP. The event is free, however park entrance fees may apply. For more, call 985-7470.

FRIENDS OF LINCOLN ASHIDA host a meet and greet this Sunday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at the Pahala Community Center. For more visit ashidaforprosector.com.

A CANDIDATE FORUM, sponsored by League of Women Voters, will be hosted Monday, Oct. 15, at the Cooper Center in Volcano Village. State Rep. for District 3 candidates Fred Fogel, Marlene Hapai, and Richard Onishi meet the public at 5:30 p.m. followed by Prosecuting Attorney candidates Lincoln Ashida and Mitch Roth at 6:45 p.m. For more visit lwv.org.