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, November 29, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Nov. 29, 2012

KAMILO BEACH on the Ka`u Coast made NBC Nightly News last night with a story on the possibility of Japan tsunami debris arriving this winter with a huge impact. Anchorman Brian Williams leads off the report saying: “The tsunami in Japan was almost two years ago, and yet wait until you see the pictures of what we found on the beach in Hawai`i, the amount of debris washing ashore, and there’s more coming right behind it.”
      NBC reporter Miguel Almaguer came here for the network and filmed Hawai`i Wildlife Fund workers and volunteers at Kamilo, calling the situation: “On the southern tip of Hawai`i’s Big Island, disaster in paradise.”
      Says Lamson, “We’re pulling a minimum of 2,000 pounds, if not more, off the beach.”
      NBC notes that “Megan Lamson leads the overwhelming cleanup effort at Kamilo. This is what many are calling the world’s dirtiest beach. An estimated 20 tons of garbage washes ashore here every year.”
      Says Lamson, “We are the hub and an accumulation point for loads of marine debris that are washing up from all over the map.”
      NBC reports that “now more and more debris is arriving with Japanese markings, the leading edge of what many fear is an oncoming wave, a ten-mile stretch of buoys, bottles and fishing nets. Even a refrigerator has washed ashore.
     “This section of Kamilo Beach used to be covered in beautiful sand, but now it’s pieces of broken plastic in some cases three to four inches deep that have redefined the very look of this coastline."
      Says Lamson: “You keep digging, and you just keep finding more.”
      NBC reports the impacts on wildlife: “Necropsies on albatross show seabirds are digesting plastic at an alarming rate.”
      Oceanographer David Hyrenback says, “Every bird we open has plastic, 100 percent.” The NBC report continues, “It’s showing up in our fish, too.”
      Biologist Michelle Hester says, “The species that we love to eat like salmon and tuna are eating the fish we are finding plastic in. It’s in our human food web.”
      Reports NBC, “All that plastic is propelled by the great Pacific Garbage patch, a swirling current that has funneled trash toward Kamilo Beach for decades.”
      Carey Morishige, of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, states that “arrival of the lower floating items, the things that are more at the surface of the ocean and hanging below the surface, (are) coming potentially this fall and winter.”
      Almaguer concludes that the debris predictions are “clear signs of trouble in paradise.” See http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/50002124#50002132.
      Hawai`i Wildlife Fund leads volunteer groups to Kamilo and other Ka`u Coast beaches throughout the year. The next beach cleanup is Saturday, Jan. 12. To volunteer, contact Lamson at 769-7629 or kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com.

THE ELECTRIC COMPANY’S IMPACT on local communities will be part of the discussion at a public meeting next Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. A Public Utility Commission-nominated group of advisors to Hawaiian Electric Co. will be on hand to listen to citizens. The Pahala meeting is one of three to be held on this island this month by HECO’s Integrated Resource Planning Advisory Group. 
      Also called the Aloha Advisory Group, some of the 15 members from this island are expected to come to Pahala to listen to the public. HECO and Hawai`i Electric Light Co. plan to present information on development of an Action Plan to govern how HECO will meet energy objectives and customer energy needs consistent with state energy policies and goals. The group is asking for perspectives, concerns and ideas from the community.
Rep. Bob Herkes is a member of
HECO's Aloha Advisory Group.
      The Aloha Group reviews HECO planning and its relationship to the community. Renewable energy is one of the main topics of HECO’s Integrated Resource Plan. In IRP documents filed with the PUC, HECO states: “Renewable generation must not ‘substantially compromise’ the reliable operation of the host island’s distribution and transmission grid” and that “renewable generation must not ‘markedly increase’ curtailment or ‘meaningfully displace’ other renewable generation.”
      Renewable energy for Ka`u currently includes windmills along South Point Road that generate enough electricity for all the houses in the district. In addition, a hydroelectric plant is being constructed in Wood Valley by Olson Trust that could power up many homes in Pahala, if it were to go on the grid. Another proposal is the `Aina Koa Pono plan to build a refinery off Wood Valley Road and process trees, shrubs and crops to make biodiesel to be trucked for electric generation in Kona.
       A notice from Hawai`i Electric Light Co. says the planning by the utility is for the next 20 years, with a report to be submitted to the PUC by June 28, 2013.
      At the website www.irpie.com, documents regarding the long-term planning by the utility company are available. They include: Blazing a Bold Frontier: High oil prices and policies supporting clean energy resources; Stuck in the Middle: Moderate but growing oil prices with uncertain public policy regarding clean energy resource and infrastructure implementation; No Burning Desire: Lower oil prices with waning policy support for clean energy; and Moved by Passion: Moderate but growing oil prices with aggressive clean energy policies.
      After gathering testimony, the utility plans to update the public and hold another round of meetings in the spring of 2013.

HAWAI`I ISLAND “CLEARLY HAS THE ABILITY TO SATISFY current diesel fuel transportation requirements with locally produced biofuels,” states the county’s Energy Sustainability Program Five-Year Roadmap. However, “replacing current gasoline and jet fuel consumption represents a much bigger challenge. Fortunately, there is advanced research ongoing in Hawai`i to develop new sources of renewable biofuels. The U.S. Department of Defense supports biofuel research and development and has shown an interest in large-scale biofuels projects in Hawai`i.” 
      The report says “the promise of a reinvigorated agricultural industry that simultaneously reduces energy dependence makes support and development of a biofuels industry a goal of many business, community, and political leaders.” It also describes much of Hawai`i Island as not suitable for growing biofuels, “so competition for high quality, irrigated land could become an issue. The county should continue to help local communities discuss and decide how to achieve energy goals without harming other important interests, such as ranching, farming, and recreation,” the report states.
      The roadmap mentions the `Aina Koa Pono project with regards to transportation fuel. “The proposed `Aina Koa Pono biofuel production facility would sell 16 million gallons of biodiesel directly to Hawai`i Electric Light Company for use in their diesel generators, leaving eight million gallons available for other uses, according to company estimates,” it says. While biodiesel is commonly found on the mainland and even in Hawai`i, “biogasoline and bio-jet fuel production processes are still being tested and refined, and await scale-up to a commercial level.
      During his campaign for re-election as mayor of Hawai`i County, Billy Kenoi stated opposition to `Aina Koa Pono’s proposed contract to sell biodiesel to HELCO for electricity generation. “We’re not interested in more renewable energy. We’re interested in cheaper renewable energy. Unless it has lower rates, we will not support it,” he told West Hawai`i Today reporter Colin M. Stewart.
      The contract would allow HELCO to raise electric rates to households on the Big Island and O`ahu by $1 per month for every 600 kilowatt-hours used.
Brenda Ford and other County Council
members are sworn in Monday, Dec. 3.
      Deadline for public comments on the proposed contract is tomorrow. Public Utilities Commission is accepting comments at hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov.
      The county’s Energy Sustainability Program Five-Year Roadmap is available at hawaiienergyplan.com. Public comments are accepted at energy@hawaiienergyplan.com or 887-6411 through Dec. 5.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO WITNESS the swearing in of Mayor Billy Kenoi and Hawai`i County Council members, including Ka`u's new District 6 council member Brenda Fordat noon Monday in the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium in Hilo. The ceremony begins with music by the Hawai`i County Band. Then, Third Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura administers the oath of office. Two Council meetings also take place on Monday in Council chambers. 
      A Sine Die Council meeting precedes the ceremony at 9 a.m., when Council members receive thanks from the county for their years of service.
      Another Council meeting follows the ceremony at 3 p.m., with appointments of Council members to various committees, Stewart Maeda as County Clerk and Maile David as deputy County Clerk.
The public can view the meetings as they are broadcast live at Ocean View Community Center.

What Volcano Means to Me is part of Digital Mountain Film Festival.
WHAT VOLCANO MEANS TO ME is one of 11 films by students from Ka`u and Puna to be presented during Digital Mountain Film Festival Saturday at 6 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The public can view the films at youtube.com/user/digital-mountain2012 and vote for their favorite by sending an email to kupono_mcdaniel@nps.gov. The winner receives a MacBook Air, and additional prizes are awarded to the top film, chosen by judges, in categories 7th - 9th grade and 10th - 12th grade.

VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS Anela Strings, Music of a Higher Place, Saturday at 7 p.m. at its Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. This holiday concert features performances by harpist/percussionist Kristin Aria Shaw and harpist/keyboardist Irminsul. Admission is $16 for the general public and $14 for VAC members. Call 967-8222 for more information.