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.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 28, 2012

Shades of gray and lines in the sand show where the tsunami lapped onto Punalu`u Beach overnight.
Photo by Julia Neal
ESCAPING THE TSUNAMI led Ka`u boat builder, navigator, teacher and captain Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa to paddle his 28-foot, double-hull Wa`akaula sailing canoe three miles out to sea last night. While the sailor keeps most of his canoes at home above Honu`apo, he faced the challenge of saving his biggest canoe in Hilo when the tsunami warning came. It followed a 7.7 earthquake just off the Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia.
Honu`apo canoe builder Kiko
      The captain drove to Hilo where, alone, against the wind, he launched the Hawaiian sailing canoe at 9:30 p.m., less than an hour before the first tsunami waves were expected to strike. With great effort, Johnston-Kitazawa said, he paddled past the Snout of the Shark sand point at Wailoa and into Hilo Bay. He set sail and paddled three hours out to sea where some 20 ocean vessels, from sailboats to tugboats, waited out the warning.
      After small tsunami waves lapped and surged into Hilo Harbor and the ocean began to settle, Johntson-Kitazawa paddled and sailed back to Hilo, reaching the shore at 4 a.m. this morning.
      He is known for teaching Hawaiian sailing skills to many school children. See http://waakaulua.com.

THE TSUNAMI WARNING last night was the third in three years, coming from three different directions, Canada, Japan and Chile, and it was the first Hawai`i tsunami warning generated by a quake off of Canada. Last night’s 7.7 earthquake off British Columbia at 5:04 p.m. Hawaiian time led to the tsunami warning at 7:15 p.m., with first sirens at 7:45 p.m. All 78 condominiums at Sea Mountain at Punalu`u beach resort and homes near the ocean were evacuated. Campers at Punalu`u Beach Park, Honu`apo and Ka Lae were told to leave. An evacuation shelter opened at Pahala Community Center. Police blocked Hwy 11 from Punalu`u to the pali above Honu`apo, sending travelers into the mountains and over the old sugar cane haul road between Na`alehu and Pahala. Police guarding Kawa Beach from intruders 24/7 during a month-long archaeological survey were pulled from their posts.
Kiko Johnston-Kitazawa's canoe at Honu`apo. He paddled the 28-foot Wa`akaula
 from Wailoa 3 miles out to sea during the tsunami warning. Photo by William Neal 
      Myra Sumida said she and other shopkeepers at Punalu`u Black Sand Beach removed their inventory from their stands. Campers and beachgoers at Punalu`u said that early this morning they were allowed to return and saw water coming high onto the shore. Evidence on the beach showed several shades of gray, lines in the sand indicating tsunami surges onto the coast.
      No damage was reported along the Ka`u Coast and boaters departed Punalu`u ramp to resume fishing as families arrived for Sunday at the beach park.
      Last night along Hilo Bay and Wailoa, Mayor Billy Kenoi reported four-foot surges at six-minute intervals. Big Island Video News reported “water at the Wailoa Boat Harbor swirling in strange patterns, rushing in and out, carrying debris and rocking boats.” The mayor thanked county employees and volunteers for conducting safe evacuations during the tsunami warning.

The energy from the 7.7 earthquake off Canada
came toward Hawai`i. Image from Pacific
Tsunami Warning Center
COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE led the operations for last night’s tsunami warning. Sirens blared in Ka`u every 15 minutes as the expected 10:25 p.m. tsunami time neared. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center generated a model of the energy flow from the earthquake that showed it heading away from North America's west coast and targeting Hawai`i. Buoys picked up the tsunami wave between here and Canada. However, little damage was reported around the state. 
      Other tsunami warnings in the last three years followed the 8.8 earthquake in Chile on Feb. 27, 2010, and the 9.0 earthquake in Japan on March 11, 2011, when the tsunami swept away some houses on the South Kona coast.

PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE `AINA KOA PONO case before the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission are tomorrow at Hilo High School cafeteria and Tuesday at Kealakehe High School cafeteria, both at 6 p.m. More testimony, pro and con, regarding `Aina Koa Pono’s proposed contract with HELCO, which would tie up the cost of diesel for 20 years, coming from a refinery that would be built in Ka`u, is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

OPPOSTION TO `AINA KOA PONO’s project comes from Colleen Aina, owner of Pinky’s 5 Eight store in Papaikou. She writes that “allowing HECO to buy biofuel from `Aina Koa Pono is not in the best interest of the Big Island population, is not in the best interest of the Big Island economy and is not in the best interest of the future of alternative energy projects.” She lists reasons why she opposes the contract as well as the separate 4.2 percent rate increase proposed by HELCO:
  “Those who can afford the photovoltaic option (residential and commercial) will do so and leave the grid leaving the balance of the rate-paying population to pay for the grid electricity. Those left on the grid will pay higher electric bills.
      “The Big Island gets federal aid to subsidize electric bills for low-income families. The higher the electrical rates, the higher the electric bills, the larger this subsidized population will grow. How much more can we depend on this aid for the subsidized segment? What happens when this subsidy is eliminated through budget cuts? Will this subsidized population go ‘black’ - no electricity at all?
The owner of Pinky's says small businesses will be hurt by `Aina Koa Pono
and HELCO, if the PUC approves electric bill increases.
      “Many businesses like Pinky’s will have a very very difficult time paying electrical costs higher than what we are currently paying. Will this mean we close our doors? Closing the business will lead to a domino effect: swelling of unemployment, higher electrical costs for those left on the grid, etc. The effect is dizzying.
      “The move to alternative energy is the answer to relying less on oil. But CAREFUL analysis of these projects must be made. Not all projects are created equal. Could we end up paying more for the alternative energy project than we currently paying for oil-based electricity? That seems to be the case with HECO’s request to purchase the bio fuel from `Aina Koa Pono.”

Ken Kaneshiro
SUPPORT FOR `AINA KOA PONO comes from a Honolulu resident, Dr. Ken Kaneshiro, director of Center for Conservation Research & Training in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center at UH-Manoa. Kaneshiro also serves on the Board of Trustees of The Nature Conservancy with its chairman, Kenton Eldridge, who is co-founder and chair of `Aina Koa Pono. Kaneshiro's letter focuses on what he calls “the potential positive impact of biochar on agricultural productivity, water quality, ecosystem health, carbon sequestration, and even public health.” Biochar is a by-product of the refinery process. “When (biochar is) used as a soil amendment, productivity is enhanced by at least 100 percent,” Kaneshiro says.
      “Furthermore, the cost of agricultural production will decrease because while the soil with biochar may need to be fertilized the first time, subsequent application of expensive petroleum-based fertilizers will be significantly reduced. The biochar acts as a time-release substrate for the nutrients which normally would leach away following the first heavy rainfall. The secondary effect of this is that pollution of our groundwater aquifers is significantly reduced. In addition, the biochar, which is nearly 70-90 percent pure carbon, when used as a soil amendment, is a form of carbon sequestration which remains locked in the soil for a very long time.”
      Other reasons Kaneshiro states in support of the project are reinvigoration of Hawai`i’s agricultural industry, Aina Koa Pono's contenttion that it will raise $200 million in taxes for the state, its employment of 400 people for construction of its Ka`u refinery, and its promise of 200 permanent ag and refinery jobs. He also states that the refinery will help with consumption of invasive species.

Kanu Hawai`i volunteers work to get out the vote. Photos from kanuhawaii.org
KANU HAWAI`I, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, is working to get out the vote, particularly among young people. The organization’s website says, “Democracy promises a government of, by, and for the people, but what we have today is a vicious cycle of disappointed people who no longer vote and a politics dominated by moneyed interests that have rushed in to fill the void. In the past 40 years, Hawai`i has gone from having the highest voter turnout in the country to posting the lowest rates in the nation. Breaking this cycle will require each of us to take new responsibility - new kuleana - as citizens and citizen-leaders.” 
      Kanu volunteers, most in their 20s and 30s, have been leading an effort to:
1) expand the vote by registering new voters, especially chronically under-represented communities, young people, and working families with children;
2) gather community voices door-to-door and online, asking people to share what's important and summarizing priorities in ways leaders can respond to;
3) create information for accountability with pre-election voter guides and post-election reports, equipping people to hold elected leaders accountable.
      Information compiled by Kanu Hawai`i about all candidates running for office in Hawai`i is available at kanuhawaii.org.

ABSENTEE MAIL BALLOTS for the General Election are available through Tuesday. Walk-in voting continues through Saturday, Nov. 3 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, West Hawai`i Civic Center’s Community Room in Kona and Waimea Community Center on Kawaihae Road. Registered voters with photo ID can go to any of these absentee voting polling places. Any questions can be directed to Hawai`i County Elections Office at 961-8277.

THE HAWAI`I FOREST INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, in conjunction with a group of community leaders, presents its Growing Koa in Hawai`i Nei symposium. Deadline to register is this Wednesday, Oct. 31. The symposium will be Friday, Nov. 16 and Saturday, Nov. 17. Presentations are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday at Kilauea Military Camp’s Ohia Room in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, followed by a Pau Hana Reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. A field trip to Keauhou Ranch in Ka`u is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.
Dr. Charles Michler
      Keynote speaker Dr. Charles Michler, director of Purdue University’s Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center and the Tropical HTIRC in Hawai`i, presents The Right Koa for You.
      Leading experts in koa research and management will present the following topics:
* Who’s Growing Koa and How Many Acres are Involved?
* Low Elevation Research Progress
* Silvicultural Practices to Improve Form and Branching
* Koa Case Studies
* Plantation Establishment Techniques
* Improvement Efforts to Date: Hawai`i Tree Improvement Research Center
* Recent Koa Research
* Koa Establishment and Management
      The Keauhou Ranch field trip includes visits to a 1987 koa stand (thinning trial), a 1978 koa stand (crop tree thinning), a seven-year-and-younger koa plantation, a spacing trial and a three- to six-year-old koa plantation.
      Maps and topics of discussion will be provided at each stop.
      The Koa Symposium Committee encourages students, land managers, farmers, ranchers, policymakers, government agencies, community groups, educators and the general public to attend the symposium. To register and learn more about the symposium and tour, committee members, sponsorship opportunities and benefits, visit hawaiiforest.org/index.php/art.

The Trojan wahine made history, capturing Ka`u's first-ever BIIF volleyball title. The team received a plaque, and each member and coach received a medal. Left to right: team manager Holden Galigo, assistant coach Jadelynn Domondon, team manager Kai Enriques, Jenna Gascon, Sky Kanakaole-Esperon, Leah Cariaga, Kamalani Fujikawa, Kristina Padrigo, Jernest Breithaupt-Louis, Marley Strand-Nicolaisen, Kerrilyn Domondon, Kaila Olson, Casey Koi, Toni Beck, Janeane Tadeo and head coach Josh Ortega. Photo by Lena Ortega
KA`U HIGH WAHINE VARSITY VOLLEYBALL TEAM won Ka`u’s first ever BIIF volleyball title last night. The Trojans, who held Div. II first place going into BIIF playoffs, took down Konawaena Div. II second place in four sets (25-21, 25-27, 25-19, 25-15). Senior Marley Nicolaisen-Strand cleaned up with 29 kills, while fellow senior Kaila Olson put away 16. The Trojans will play in the state championship on O`ahu, which runs from Tuesday, Oct. 30 to Friday, Nov. 2. The team is raising money for the O`ahu trip.