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.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ka`u News Briefs Dec. 19, 2012

Hannah's Makana `Ohana Hula Halau performs at holiday concerts this weekend. Photo by Julia Neal
KAHU RADIO 91.7 FM’s equipment, funded by Civil Defense, is gone from the Crown Castle communications tower on the upper road between Pahala and Na`alehu. The equipment has been transferred to the radio station in Pahala “to be reinstalled or liquidated,” according to a press release from station manager Christine Kaehuaea. She also states that “co-owner of KAHU 91.7 FM and Director of Ka`u Community Radio, Inc., Wendell J. Kaehuaea, has retired from daily radio station operations.”
Workers scale the tower near Na`alehu to remove KAHU
91.7 FM's antennas. Photos from Christine Kaehuaea
       The statement sent to media statewide says that KAHU “received FCC approval on Dec. 12 to dismantle its last existing tower site in Na`alehu, in the southern region of Hawai`i Island, due to the station’s increasing operational expenses over the last year and lack of consistent public, local business and corporate funding.”
      The press release, issued Tuesday, says that “Crown Castle LLC, the tower owner, in cooperation with Pacificomm Systems LLC, the tower climbers, physically removed the antennas (Monday) at 10:00 a.m. from the mono-pole tower as the KAHU 91.7 FM tower crew leader, Christine Kaehuaea, station general manager & owner, manually turned off the HELCO circuit breaker for the last time, then assisted her tower crew consisting of Mike Munnerlyn, Leo Hill and Ron Ebert to unbolt the equipment and remove the transmitters to take them, as well as the antennas back to the radio station to be re-installed or liquidated in efforts to pay off outstanding operational expenses.”
      The press release states: “With the help from community volunteers, plus companies like Mike Munnerlyn General Contracting Services and Taylor Built Construction Co. Inc., the antenna and equipment re-installation was successful. Upon testing during Uncle Bobby’s “Nahe, Nahe” show at 4:00 p.m., listening on the Internet was consistent (kahufm.com), however the FM radio broadcast proved to be a challenge when their 600-watt transmitter malfunctioned. The station’s 150-watt transmitter was installed temporarily and will suffice until the 600-watt can be shipped for warranty repairs.”
Community members help reinstall the antennas at
Ka`u Community Radio station. 
       The press release says that “reports were received of strong coverage in Na`alehu, Pahala, and Punalu`u. The station is still awaiting confirmations from the Volcano area down to Kalapana.”
      The statement quotes the manager: “‘As the equipment came down, it felt good knowing that the community and our creditors are behind us in pushing the reset button,’ says Christine. ‘It is so important that we continue service, but with any business, expenses must be paid, hence our downsizing and liquidating of any and all equipment that we aren’t using.’”
       The statement puts forth: “As a native Hawaiian owned and operated community radio station, KAHU 91.7 FM is the only radio station heard from Volcano to Na`alehu and impacts 11,225 residents from Ocean View to Volcano and down to Kalapana, as well as approximately 398,695 visitors that pass through the District of Ka`u while traveling around Hawai`i island.”
      “The mission of KAHU 91.7 FM, the Shepherd, a community radio station broadcasting LIVE from Pahala, on Hawai`i island, is to embrace the communities that it serves in the District of Ka`u, around the Hawai`i island, the outer islands and beyond. As the only Native Hawaiian owned and operated station in the United States and sole resource of County & State Civil Defense emergency broadcast services to the southern region of Hawai`i island; the goal of KAHU 91.7 FM is to assist in keeping the doors of business open for local merchants and businesses, educate listeners to the Hawaiian culture and island diversity, support the community through a variety of unique avenues and offer a voice of friendship through music and other programming to welcome all into our KAHU 91.7 FM ‘Ohana’(family).”

HAWAI`I COUNTY, one of the participants on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell 16 million gallons of biofuel refined in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co., has sent an information request to the Public Utilities Commission asking the companies for clarification on points in the contract and other documents. 
      In the introduction of its information request, the county outlines its concerns with the project.
      “The County of Hawai`i is the first island in the state to achieve high penetrations of Renewable Energy. A concerted effort was made and continues to be made to achieve the goals of continued renewable energy resources development because it was and remains to be the right thing to do for our island environment and economy,” the county states.
      “Consideration still needs to be made as to whether we could do better or whether regulations favoring certain technologies and/or business models are indeed beneficial for our island economy, standard of living or the overall future good of our island. We have renewable energy contracts, however, due to avoided cost rules, most of the existing contracts are linked and move with the price of oil. This adversely affects many socio-economic benefits we first envisioned when decisions were made to develop high levels of clean energy.
      The county says it encourages any effort to delink those prices, but “consideration must still be given regarding introduction of renewable energy at prices that will hurt our hard working families or collapse an economy we all depend on to sustain our island. Therefore, a hard look must be made into whether Hawai`i ratepayers should be locked into another utility contract with a cost structure much higher than the alternative renewable energies or current level of petroleum-diesel it replaces.
      “While no one can predict where the prices of petroleum-diesel will be in the future,” the county states, “it is likely that fifty to sixty percent of our Renewable Energy will be locked into the high cost of oil for at least several years to come. Pursuant to the terms of this contract, another block of renewable energy will be locked into these very high prices for many years to come.
      Another county concern with the proposed project is that it “creates an unusual cost by effectively precluding alternate and potentially more-attractive renewable energy resources from being developed” and that it “further reinforces the perception that high-cost projects, using increased Renewable Energy and Renewable Portfolio Standards, will be accepted no matter what. If system generation capacity is already in place for many years to come and there are limited numbers of additional megawatts of renewable projects that could come on-line, we must analyze each proposed project with a keen eye on the relation between generation capacity and fuel cost even more carefully.
      The county claims that, with forty percent renewable energy production/consumption per year, renewable projects are now competing with each other to get their megawatts on the grid.
      “This project, with its associated unproven technological foundation and high prices, essentially crowds out other projects that could ultimately lower the energy burden paid by the ratepayer,” says the county. “Before we permit HECO and HELCO to enter into this contract, with its inherent negative drawbacks, should we not first investigate and consider the best technological fit for our already existent natural renewable energy resources? In the alternative, we should take an inventory of possible projects by using existing resources on the system in better combination with efficiency and demand
response technologies.”
      The county says that “not all ratepayers on our island are either willing or able to accept higher electricity rates just because a product is from a renewable energy source as may be the case here.
      “From a utility perspective, this means a desirable biofuel for electricity generation project must offer consumers the opportunity to lower their rates or at the very minimum, not increase them. It is also desirable to allow further ratepayer cost reductions if operational efficiencies and/or new technologies enable further savings. This is particularly important when a large percentage of the ratepayers on our island are at the lower end of the economic spectrum and are already paying some of highest electricity rates in the nation.”
      The county’s complete information request, as well as other documents, can be read at puc.hawaii.gov/dockets. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Ali`i Keanaaina is one of the songwriters scheduled to
perform tonight at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium.
SONGWRITERS FROM HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK’S Hawaiian Music Songwriters Retreat held in August present their music this evening at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. 

KA`U `OHANA BAND, Ka`u Community Chorus and Hannah’s Makana `Ohana Hula Halau perform Saturday at 3 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center and Sunday at 7 p.m. at Discovery Harbour Community Center.