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.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 26, 2012

Ka`u photographer Peter Anderson captured images of Kilauea Volcano's activity at Halema`uma`u Crater last night.
Light from molten lava lights up the sky.
Photo by Peter Anderson
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY scientists report that the lava level at Halema`uma`u Crater continues to rise. The most recent lava level measurement was made yesterday at the top of a rise/fall event when the lava lake surface was about 89 feet below the floor of the crater. The best viewing site is Jaggar Museum, and observers say the lava may top the vent and pour onto the floor of the larger Halema`uma`u Crater. Photos and webcams at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/activity/kilaueastatus.php show dramatic images of the current activity. 

KAWA WILL BE GUARDED with limited access to the public for about 30 days, following removal yesterday of Abel Simeona Lui, Moses Heanu, Katrina Morgan and several campers, the county reports.
      This morning, retired police officer Bill Door and an active duty police officer from Kona were standing guard. They said that police and police reserve will rotate through Kawa, providing coverage 24 hours a day.
County workers create a road for access to structures at Kawa.
Image from bigislandvideonews.com
      The county is conducting an archaeological and cultural management study, and, according to Lau, there are more than 60 burials – iwi kupuna - and a heiau. He said the county is working with lineal descendents of families who lived in Kawa in generations past to learn the history and plan for its future management. In addition to graves, Lau said, there are more than 100 archaeological and cultural sites at Kawa that will be documented and protected as part of the county plan. He said the county has found that the families with Kawa history want to share the culture in a way that sites will be protected.
      “We ask the people to be very patient with us as the archaeological survey is done,” said Lau. “We want to open up Kawa to the public as soon as we can…. We are not here to keep the public out.”
      Lau said the goal is not to block recreational use of the area, “whether people visit Kawa to surf, ulua fish, or just to come and enjoy the beautiful scenery or look at the green sea turtles…We will get it open as quickly as we can, but it will have some parameters and guidelines.”
County workers disassemble a structure at Kawa to be held
in storage at Na`alehu Police Station.
Image from bigislandvideonews.com
      During the eviction yesterday, Hui Malama Ola Na `Oiwi, a native Hawaiian health care agency, offered help to find housing and other assistance, but the service was turned down, Lau said.
      “The police did a great job in being firm but being very respectful to the situation,” said Lau.
      Sheriffs presented Lui and his companions with a writ of execution yesterday just before 7 a.m. and gave them two hours to gather up their belongings and leave Lui’s house and other structures on the property.
      Lau said Lui’s house, fencing and other structures at Kawa will be dismantled and along with other belongings will be placed in a container in a storage area at the Ka`u Police Station, where owners can pick them up within the next month. Yesterday, the county started filling potholes with dirt and gravel to make it easier for county trucks to reach Lui’s dwelling and other structures to dismantle them.
      Lui told Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter Erin Miller “Nothing has changed. Ka`u was never conquered. This is my ancestral land. The land belongs to God. God gave the land to the chiefs, to the people to malama.” He told the reporter, “I really don’t know what to do. I will go back to the land.” The story also reports him asking why the county removed him after four years of negotiations, conversations and court actions. “What is the rush that they come and cause this?”
A surf meet was scheduled at Kawa in November. Photo by Julia Neal
      Lui has lived on the property for more than 20 years, at one time with his late wife and two children. He has gone to court numerous times in the face of numerous eviction notices, unsuccessfully claiming title to the land. Four separate owners attempted to evict him. The last is the county, which bought the land with county, state and federal funding to preserve estuaries and archaeological sites in the face of earlier private plans to sell it off.
      Before the county bought the land, one section of the Kawa property, which had been purchased by a hui led by former Ka`u Realtor Marcia Johnson, was the subject of two-page advertising spreads in real estate magazines urging investors to buy the last available bay in Ka`u.
      Kawa is also the most popular surf spot in Ka`u, and Lui has regularly hosted surf meets there. The next meet, promoted by flyers posted around Ka`u, was set for Friday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 24. Called Lokahi O Kawa`a, it is posted as a Barrel Riding, Aircatching and Bodysurfing Shootout with men’s and women’s divisions. Entry fee was posted as $10.
      See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com and bigislandvideonews.com.

SUPPORT FOR `AINA KOA PONO’S proposed diesel refinery in Ka`u and contract with Hawai`i Electric Light Co. has been submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission by parties involved with the enterprise. O`ahu resident and retired radiologist Grover J. Liese, MD is a member of the board of advisors for Sennet Capital, a Hawai`i merchant bank led by `Aina Koa Pono chairman Kenton Eldridge. On its website, Sennet Capital lists `Aina Koa Pono as one of its Transactions.
James Cuddihy Image from the
Louisiana-based Sugar Journal
      Liese lists the following as reasons he sees `Aina Koa Pono’s project as a “public benefit. 1) This new industry is a major step in the quest to diminish Hawai`i’s dependence on imported oil. 2) The process can be tailored to each of our islands. There will be no need for inter-island energy transmission lines. 3) It keeps Hawaiian money in Hawai`i. 4) It will create new jobs in a new industry. 5) It supports and expands the agricultural industry. 6) It meets Hawai`i’s Clean Energy objectives. I request support for `Aina Koa Pono’s Application with HELCO as outlined above,” Liese says.
      James A. Cuddihy, Jr., a former superintendent for the sugar plantation in Pahala who lives in Louisiana and has worked in the oil industry, writes, “`Aina Koa Pono is an opportunity, using private funds, to inject life into a depressed area. If successful, the venture will spread to the other islands. It is an almost perfect synergistic industry because it is sustainable, produces a marketable and valuable product with almost no pollution (zero discharge). It would initially take invasive plants and remove them from the ecosystem. It would replace them with a productive, sustainable crop on lands which had been used for sugar cane for close to 100 years— no environmental, ecological or cultural change.
      “It would not only supply jobs directly (agriculture, trucking and industrial), but it also creates jobs associated with production (industrial, equipment parts and service community). Economically, for every dollar spent in production, six dollars of revenue are generated within the community. The direct permanent employment of 200, generating $22 million, will generate another $132 million in direct revenue within the state. This does not include additional revenue generated through the purchase of equipment, parts.”
      Cuddihy has worked as a consultant for `Aina Koa Pono and given presentations at public meetings in Ka`u. He says, “At the meetings I have attended, there is a vocal minority who give culture, esthetics, natural disasters, pollution, fear of new technology, dislike for change and the unwillingness to pay for a way of living as reasons for not continuing the project. Anyone can find fault with any venture, particularly new technology. Perhaps there should be a requirement for those expressing a negative viewpoint, they have to supply an alternative solution. There may be alternative solutions in the future but `Aina Koa Pono is ready today.”

Attorney Ron Self grows olives and other trees and food crops in Wood
Valley. He opposes the refinery.
OPPOSITION TO THE PROPOSED `AINA KOA PONO DIESEL REFINERY has been submitted to the state Public Utilities Commission by attorney Ron Self, who farms property around his home in Wood Valley. “Clearly, the small number of people, companies, and government interests behind and benefiting from this enterprise believe that the people of Hawai`i are so unsophisticated that all they have to do is use good words to cover-up their bad intentions. These few rich and politically powerful interests have converged to try to take extra money out of Hawai`i residents for the foreseeable future, 20 years, at least, and control and manipulate energy markets in this state for the same period of time….
      “When you break down the proposed project, the facts show that AKP will burn biomass, then refine it, with an old outdated technology in the field of bio-energy. We don’t know what physical dangers will come from such an operation because no Environmental Impact Statement has been done…. 
      “AKP has stated that it will produce and sell 16 millions gallons of bio-diesel a year to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and another eight million gallons of biodiesel to Mansfield Oil. How are they going to do that on 12,000 acres of Olson and Mallick land in Ka`u, when the standard yields of biomass per acre per year is between 50 and 150 gallons per acre-per year. That will only be 600,000 to 1.8 million gallons a year on 12,000 acres. Where does the other biomass come from? Is AKP planning to haul a massive amount of trash to Ka`u for stock? Where are the disclosures and truth? If so, then Ka`u is in the wrong place to put the diesel refinery. It should be put where the trash is, not a hundred miles away from the sources.”
      Self also addresses the proposed contract between AKP and HELCO that would raise electric bills. “We need electric rates to go down, not up to create an economic advantage. Allowing such a system will crush all hope for alternate energy systems in Hawai`i, and continue the monopoly of energy in Hawai`i held by the HECO Companies. As a farmer who lives within a half mile of the proposed site, that grows koa, ohia, sandalwood, coffee, and olives, I am completely opposed to the whole concept being proposed to harm the treasure of Ka`u and take over $200 million from the pockets of the residents of Hawai`i to build this monstrosity. Don’t allow the people to be the guarantor of this boondoggle so that AKP can get financing for it. The Gods of Hawai`i weep for Ka`u at this proposal.”
      See all the testimony, pro and con, submitted at www.puc.hawaii.gov. Click on the `Aina Koa Pono link under What’s New and on documents.

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE `AINA KOA PONO CASE before the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission are next week – Monday, Oct. 29 at Hilo High School cafeteria and Tuesday, Oct. 30 at Kealakehe High School cafeteria, both at 6 p.m. No hearings are scheduled for Ka`u, where `Aina Koa Pono plans to build a refinery near Wood Valley Road.
      According to company officials, `Aina Koa Pono would install some 27 Micro Dee microwave units, each 10 by 15 by 30 feet, to process pellets made from shrubs, trees and grasses harvested between Pahala and Na`alehu. The pellets would be microwaved and sent up a stack, with various grades of diesels manufactured. Sixteen million gallons of the biodiesel would be trucked up Hwy 11 to HELCO’s oil-burning power plant near Kona Airport annually. An additional eight million gallons of diesel would be manufactured per year to sell for transportation through a Georgia-based fuel broker. Hawai`i Electric Light Co. proposes a 20-year contract to purchase the diesel from `Aina Koa Pono at an undisclosed price.
      `Aina Koa Pono plans to install the first module of its refinery independent of Public Utilities Commission approval. According to a statement from the company, the one unit will be able to process 33 tons of biomass per day and one million gallons of biofuel per year and will be for transportation fuel only. The fuel will be shipped by truck, likely one a week, to Hilo.

AUTHOR TOM PEEK debuts his first novel, Daughters of Fire, at Volcano Art Center Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at VAC’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Peek says the book “invites the reader on a journey into the deeper beauty and hidden turmoil of Hawai`i.” For more information, visit daughtersoffire.com and volcanoartcenter.org, or call 967-8222.