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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013

Working the holidays, Summit Construction crews and subcontractors build the walls for the new Ka`u Gym & Disaster Shelter.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U GYM & DISASTER SHELTER CONSTRUCTION is in phase of building the hurricane-proof, concrete walls of the building and is expected to be completed sometime next year. The $17 million project will not only end the problem of volleyballs and basketballs hitting the existing gym’s ceiling, it will provide a venue for many community and school sporting, entertainment and educational events. The new gym will seat up to 1,000. The old gym will still be in play for practices and tournaments and smaller community and school events.
      One of the promoters of building the gym, since the time he served the district as Ka`u’s County Council member, is Kamehameha School volleyball coach Guy Enriques, who said he hopes to host tournaments at the new Ka`u gym. He said that the new gym will have three courts for tournament play. “With the old gym, that makes four.”
      Enriques said he is ready to promote weekend tournaments and volleyball clinics. “As soon as the gym is done, I’m on it,” said Enriques. He said camps might be possible be in May and June, possibly fall and winter break. “Throughout the year, we could have weekend tournaments built around the use of the gym for school sports. Ideally, such volleyball tournaments could be on Friday evenings and all day Saturday. “Once people start seeing the new gym, and especially with places to stay,” in Pahala, Punalu`u and Wood Valley, Enriques said he expects Pahala could become a popular place for sports tournaments.

This is the last day for a number of purchases that trigger federal tax deductions.
Image from plan4tax.com
THIS IS THE LAST DAY FOR A NUMBER OF PURCHASES that trigger federal tax deductions. 
      Many teachers in Ka`u buy school supplies for classrooms with their their own money and could take up to $250 a year off federal taxes, but this ends at the end of 2013.
      Deduction for state sales taxes will not be available on the 2014 federal tax forms.
      Section 179 allows businesses to take up to 76 percent of the cost of new, heavy duty trucks and some other equipment off their taxes, up to $500,000 total per year. This has led to businesses buying new trucks each year. The deduction goes down to $25,000 on Jan. 1, and dealers have seen a last minute upsurge in truck sales.
      Regarding deduction for education tuition and fees, households with under $160,000 in adjusted gross income can take a deduction for a dependent. The deduction can reach $4,000 for those with income below $130,000, but expires tonight. Spring tuitions must be paid before 2014 to enjoy the deduction.

Testing of drones may take place at Pohakuloa Training Area.
Photo from Wikipedia
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA MAY BE A POSSIBLE SITE for testing commercial drones, state Sen. Will Espero told Pacific Business News. The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that the University of Alaska, one of six institutions nationwide that have been chosen to research the technology, plans to conduct testing in Hawai`i as well as Alaska and Oregon. 
      Espero, who is chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Intergovernmental and Military Affairs, said drones could help Hawai`i’s efforts regarding disaster response, invasive species control, weather and marine research, and search and rescue operations.
      “This research has the potential to grow and diversify our economy, bringing high paying jobs to our residents. It will enhance Hawai`i as a test site for technology and robotics,” Espero said.
      Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said, “These test sites will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation’s skies.”
      The FAA announced that it has established requirements for each test site that will help protect privacy. Among other requirements, test site operators will be required to comply with federal, state and other laws protecting an individual’s right to privacy; have publicly available privacy policies and a written plan for data use and retention; and conduct an annual review of privacy practices that allows for public comment.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.

WITH THE HUMPBACK WHALE SEASON UPON US, officials at Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary remind ocean users to keep a safe distance from the mammals. Humpback whale season in Hawai`i generally runs from November through May, peaking between January and March. More than 10,000 humpback whales winter in Hawaiian waters each year.
Federal regulations call for vessels to stay at least 100 yards away from
humpback whales. Photo from NOAA
      Endangered humpback whales are protected in Hawai`i. Federal regulations prohibit approaching within 100 yards of whales when on the water. These and other regulations apply to all ocean users, including vessel operators, kayakers, paddle boarders, windsurfers, swimmers and divers throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
      “It’s important for everyone to be extra cautious during whale season, for their own safety and the protection of the animals,” said Ed Lyman, marine mammal response manager for the sanctuary. “Collisions with vessels are a major source of injury and death for humpback whales in Hawai`i.” Calves are particularly vulnerable to vessel strikes because they are difficult to see and must surface more frequently.
      A 45-ton wild animal can pose a significant hazard to ocean users, and vessel-whale collisions can result in death or injury to boaters.
      Humpback whales congregate in ocean waters less than 600 feet deep throughout the main Hawaiian Islands. “An extra set of eyes scanning the waters ahead and to the sides of a boat can prevent collisions with marine life, marine debris, divers and other vessels,” Lyman said. “Be on the lookout, especially during whale season.”
      Lyman also stressed the importance of ocean users helping monitor humpback whales in the sanctuary. “By locating distressed animals, reporting and providing the initial documentation and assessment on the animal, ocean users are the foundation of our conservation efforts,” he said.
      Anyone who comes across an injured or entangled marine mammal should maintain the required safe distance and call NOAA’s Marine Mammal Hotline at 888-256-9840 immediately, or the U.S. Coast Guard on channel 16.

VOLUNTEERS AND LEADERS are needed for the annual Whale Count by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. People will scan the waters off Ka`u and nearly 60 other locations. The counts take place on Saturdays, Jan. 25, Feb. 22 and March 29. Whales come to Ka`u and other nearshore waters in Hawai`i to winter, give birth, care for their young and breed before heading back north for the summer.
      Volunteers record whale activity such as breaching and slapping tails. Researchers record whale songs and other sounds. More than 2,000 volunteers participate in the program statewide.
      Register and see more at hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/involved/ocwelcome.html.

Fireworks are prohibited at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
Photo from NPS
HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK REMINDS visitors that federal law prohibits fireworks in all national parks. “Our priorities as caretakers for these public lands are to keep the public and our natural, cultural and historical resources safe,” said Fire Management officer James Courtright, “We wish everyone a safe and healthy 2014.”

FIREWORKS PERMITS ARE AVAILABLE through midnight today. Each permit costs $25 and entitles the holder to purchase 5,000 individual firecrackers. Multiple permit purchases are authorized. Permits shall only be issued to persons 18 years of age or older, are non-transferable and non-refundable.
      Hawai`i Fire Department asks everyone to kokua in helping prevent fires and also to avoid the unnecessary injuries caused by fireworks each year.
      Regulations and recommendations regarding fireworks are available at hawaiicounty.gov.
      For more information on purchasing fireworks permits, or use of fireworks, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2912 (Hilo) or 323-4760 (Kona).

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at http://snack.to/fzpfg59c.


Monday, December 30, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Dec. 30, 2013

Ed Olson said this morning that he sees coffee, food cops and ecotourism in the future of his lands, following rejection of the AKP
contract by the state Public Utilities Commission. Here he joined the Ka`u Coffee Mill's float in the recent Pahala Christmas parade.
Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE, FOOD CROPS AND ECOTOURISM are the likely future for Olson Trust lands in Ka`u, said Ed Olson this morning. He said he does not see a biofuel plantation and refinery on his 8,000 acres that stretch from Wood Valley toward Na`alehu. The statement comes after last week’s rejection by the state Public Utilities Commission of a plan by `Aina Koa Pono to build a $400 million refinery on the edge of Wood Valley and clear trees, brush and grass between Na`alehu and Pahala. AKP would have planted grasses and other crops to harvest and put into giant microwaves to make biodiesel drawn from an 80-foot-tall chimney. The biodiesel would have been shipped up Hwy 11 to the Hawaii Electric Co. power plant near Kona airport.
Kenton Eldridge
      After the rejection, `Aina Koa Pono founder Kenton Eldridge said his company plans to plow ahead with the biofuel plantation and refinery and sell off the biodiesel to a mainland company. However, Olson said this morning that AKP has no contract to lease the property and that he sees his trust focusing more on expanding coffee production, leasing more land out to local farmers and expanding ecotourism to the district.
      “We’re happy with Ka`u Coffee,” Olson said, noting that visitation to Ka`u Coffee Mill and demand for its coffee and the coffee grown by other local farmers is steadily increasing, the demand outstripping supplies. 
      Olson is also planning a hydroelectric plant to make energy for his coffee mill and other value-added agricultural production. The hydroelectric plant at Keaiwa reservoir would also send water down toward his coffee mill and provide additional irrigation for taro and other crop production.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I’S U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION is looking toward the New Year to continue working on issues from the past year. Adrienne LaFrance, of Civil Beat, asked them what their plans are for next year.
      Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “From my first day in Congress, I have made it a priority to build relationships with my colleagues from across the spectrum. This effort has been critical in my work on issues important to Hawai`i and our country, including the passage and enactment of the very first bill I introduced.” Gabbard’s Helping Heroes Fly Act improves airport screening procedures for wounded warriors. 
      “It is also important as I continue my work to build support for proposals like the Military Justice Improvement Act and the Freedom Act among my colleagues who may be on the fence,” Gabbard said.
      Military Justice Improvement Act deals with the issue of sexual assault within military ranks by removing the decision of whether or not to prosecute from the chain of command and putting it into the hands of trained military prosecutors.
Sens. Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz; Reps. Colleen Hanabusa, Tulsi Gabbard
      The Freedom Act addresses surveillance overreach occurring within the National Security Agency and targets reforms to the Patriot Act to ensure that innocent Americans’ personal data is protected.
      Rep. Colleen Hanabusa told LaFrance she would continue seeking federal recognition for Native Hawaiians. “We have to stay the course,” she said. “We need to hear from the White House before we can chart the next steps. There are three ways you can achieve federal recognition: one is through Congress, the other … is executive orders; and then the third is judicial, which in my opinion would require the state to take some kind of action. I think that whatever the course may be, it’s going to be something that the entire delegation pools behind... We have to hear from all the players, primarily the executive branch. It’s in their court.”
      Sen. Mazie Hirono said she plans to continue to work on immigration reform. “I continue to talk with immigration advocates,” she told LaFrance. “We are in touch with them all across the country. These are people for whom this is a top issue. It affects so many companies, families, every state. I also have been meeting with DREAMers both in Hawai`i and across the country— the DREAMers are the young (undocumented) people who get here before they turn 16.
      “I am proud of the fact that the UH board of regents took the step to offer in-state tuition to DREAMers in Hawai`i...
      “We also worked really hard on making some important changes with how we deal with sexual assault in the military. I’m hopeful that as we go forward we’ll bring forth … change to the Military Justice Act.”
      Extending long-term unemployment benefits is at the top of Sen. Brian Schatz’s agenda. “Democrats are united in the Senate to make (this) our first order of business in January, and we will have a vote before Jan. 7,” he said.
      See civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE HAWAI`I TOBACCO QUITLINE has a new advertising campaign to coincide with smokers’ New Year’s resolutions. The campaign features former smokers talking about their experiences with quitting smoking. 
      “This is absolutely a big time of year for us,” said Pedro Haro, spokesperson for the Quitline. “People are well aware of the negative effects of tobacco use, which is why quitting is always such a popular New Year’s Resolution. It’s a great time to set your quit date.” 
      In Hawai`i County, smoking has been banned from beaches and parks since 2008, and the County Council recently passed a law raising the age of those to whom merchants can sell tobacco products from 18 to 21.
      The Hawai`i Tobacco Quitline is funded by the Hawai`i Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund, which represents a portion of Hawai`i’s Master Settlement Agreement payments from a joint lawsuit against the four biggest U.S. tobacco companies, according to the Quitline.
      Contact the Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or hawaiiquitline.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Lahars can still happen years after a volcanic eruption. Photo from giglig.com
HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY’S latest issue of Volcano Watch focuses on indirect hazards of volcanic eruptions and how innovative technology can provide the gift of peace of mind by keeping constant, long-term watch on lurking hazards such as lahars and directly minimize their risk. Lahars, or volcanic mudflows, occur when water surges downslope, picking up soil, rocks and vegetation on its way. 
      On Christmas Eve 60 years ago, such an event occurred in New Zealand and killed 151 people on a train going to Auckland when it crossed a bridge that had collapsed from the force of a lahar.
      New technology is now available that can detect lahars and provide enough warning that emergency managers can take precautions and alert the public of danger. With this technology, another lahar in 2002 caused no casualties and only minor damage.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

      Tomorrow, the Lava Lounge hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration beginning at 8 p.m., featuring entertainment by Keoki Kahumoku and a midnight toast. For more information, call 967-8365.
      New Year’s Eve partiers can vote for their favorite decorated cottage during Kilauea Military Camp’s Holiday Challenge, which ends tomorrow. 
Paul and Jane Field lead Stewardship at the Summit. Photo from NPS
      New Year’s Day brunch buffet is available at Crater Rim Café from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Menu items include fresh fruit, omelette station, roast pork with gravy, ono picata, sausage patties, bacon, biscuits, brownies, ice cream sundaes and beverages for $15.95 adults and $8.50 children. Call 967-8356 for more information.
      KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT PROVIDES Ka`u residents with an opportunity to resolve to spend time outdoors by helping remove invasive Himalayan ginger from trails in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Loppers and gloves are provided. Participants are encouraged to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and close-toed shoes. Work is often in the shade of the forest with sounds of native honeycreepers like `apapane, `amakihi and `oma`o. Water, snacks, rain gear and sun protection are recommended.
      Dates set for January are Fridays, Jan. 3, 10 and 24 and Saturday, Jan. 18. Park entrance fees apply.
      Contact Adrian Boone for more information at 985-6172.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013

Turtle digestive systems can become clogged with plastic shopping bags. Hawai`i Island merchants will no longer offer the plastic bag option as of Jan. 17. Photo from theage.com
KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN, chair of the Senate Health Committee, plans to introduce legislation that would create state oversight of midwivery, the health care field that focuses on pregnant women. Green told Honolulu Star-Advertiser that Hawai`i’s current lack of standards is “totally unacceptable.”
      Hawai`i is one of 23 states that do not regulate midwives, according to data from the Midwives Alliance of North America and the North American Registry of Midwives.
Sen. Josh Green is a physician.
      Green’s bill would establish minimum requirements for midwives and others who perform deliveries outside of hospitals. “I trust trained midwives,” Green said, “but I don’t trust those who put up a shingle” and have virtually no training or experience but describe themselves as midwives.
      The bill would establish minimum qualifications for a state license or certification, according to the story. Green also wants to limit home deliveries to low-risk cases and ensure that the provider has a medical plan. “This is what I would expect of myself or any provider taking on a pregnancy,” Green said.
      Green’s bill is also expected to address the issue of getting more reliable data on home births.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

OKINAWA GOV. HIROKAZU NAKAIMA has signed off on plans that will allow the relocation of the Futenma Marine Corps Air Station. The relocation is key to a broader U.S. realignment of troops in the Asia-Pacific region and will move approximately 8,000 Marines to other locations in the region including Hawai`i, Guam and Australia. The Okinawa approval is a diplomatic breakthrough and breaks seven years of impasse in which the relocation plan was unable to move forward.
      A new base will be built at Camp Schwab-Henoko Bay on Okinawa. The relocation is planned to maintain a strong and sustainable U.S. military presence while having less impact on the people of Okinawa following years of complaints about crime, noise and accidents related to U.S. troops stationed there.
      “It is important that the agreement reached satisfies the concerns of the people of Okinawa,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “Japan is an important ally in the region, and Okinawa, like Hawai`i, plays a key role in the U.S.-Japan alliance. As the transition moves forward and the United States continues our strategic rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific, Hawai`i will play an even more important role in ensuring the right distribution of forces throughout the region by providing facilities for Marines and DOD service members. Whether it’s facilitating the base relocation or cooperating in energy research or cultural exchange, Hawai`i and Okinawa have a long history of supporting each other, and this is great news for our friends in Okinawa.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

President Obama's backup plane is stationed at Hilo Airport during his stay
on O`ahu. Photo by Tim Wright
WHILE VACATIONING ON O`AHU, President Barack Obama signed into law the Native American Memorial Amendments Act of 2013, legislation introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz to pave the way for a Native American Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. 
      “It is long past time for our nation to honor the uncommon contributions of Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Natives, American Indian, and other native veterans,” Schatz said. “I introduced this bill so that our nation can recognize Native Americans’ service and patriotism with a fitting memorial. A memorial to native veterans will make sure future generations learn about the sacrifices Native Americans made in service to our nation. The valor of our Native American veterans, their dedication to duty and remarkable record of military service must forever be remembered. This memorial will do just that.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar

Dolphins can become entangled in plastic bags. Photo from 5gyres.org
ONE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION FOR KA`U residents to consider is to start carrying re-useable shopping bags. A law banning single-use plastic shopping bags went into effect this past Jan. 17 and allowed merchants one year to eliminate their stock. Beginning next Jan. 17, Hawai`i Island businesses will no longer offer them as an option.
      Another alternative is paper bags, but Toby Taniguchi, executive vice president of store operations for KTA Super Stores, doesn’t promote that option. He told Megan Moseley, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, that “switching to a paper bag is not better from a carbon-footprint standpoint. Modern-day landfills don’t let it dispose. It takes more energy. Switching to a paper bag is not the answer.”
      According to Hawai`i County Department of Environmental Management’s Solid Waste Division, it takes 14 million trees each year in the United States to produce a year’s supply of paper bags for retail use. “Reusable bags reduce litter and conserve natural resources; making them the best choice,” it states at hawaiizerowaste.org.
      Proponents of the law point to plastics damaging the ocean that surrounds the islands. Plastic bags choke sea turtles, get caught on dolphins, and when they break down, they are consumed by tiny sea creatures, which are eaten by fish, and the chemicals that make up the plastic go up the food chain and are eaten by humans.
      Plastic bags without handles will still be allowed for meat and other perishables, and tiny plastic bags will be allowed for small items like beads, buttons, nuts and bolts.
      Reusable plastic bags at least three mils thick will be allowed for sale and for stores to give away to carry merchandise.
      Once phased out, fines will be levied according to how many violations a commercial enterprise receives. Fines start at $250 per day for second notice, $500 a day for third notice and $1,000 a day thereafter.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kamrie Koi is producing a concert to benefit cancer research.
KAMRIE KOI is a producer. The Ka`u High School senior produced and filmed A Land Worth Fighting For and won the People’s Choice Award in the 2012 Digital Mountain Film Festival. Her latest production is a concert to raise money for cancer research through the United Way, and she has drawn a host of performers to the event on Saturday, Jan. 11, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Entertainment will be by Just in Case, JR Band, Keaiwa, Boni Narito, Honokua, Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko, Ka`u High School ensemble class and more. The events also features vendors, games, raffle tickets and prizes. Call Kamrie Koi at 430-4964 or Jolene Koi at 936-6249.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

KA`U HIGH TROJAN SOCCER TEAMS hosted Kohala yesterday, with boys winning 2 - 0
. Raycin Salmo-Grace and Derrick Velez scored one goal each. 
Goalies were Andrew Garica & Anthony Emmsley-Ah Yee. 

Girls lost 0 - 5
      Next matches are Thursday, Jan. 2, when Ka`u plays Kea`au at home.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

WATER POLO AND TRACK COACHES are needed at Ka`u High School, according to athletic director Kalei Namohala. Applications can be picked up at the school office and are being accepted from Jan. 1 through Jan. 17. For more information, contact the AD at 928-2088.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kilauea Military Camp's Holiday Challenge continues through New Year's Eve.
Photo by Dave Berry
THE 14TH ANNUAL INVITATIONAL WREATH EXHIBIT continues at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Gallery artists, working in a wide variety of media, materials, and techniques, present their concepts of “wreath,” from the whimsical to the traditional. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 for more information. 

THREE MORE DAYS ARE LEFT to vote for best decorated cottage during Kilauea Military Camp’s Holiday Challenge, which ends Dec. 31. Ballots are available at the front desk. Park entrance fees apply.

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S LAVA LOUNGE hosts a New Year’s Eve celebration beginning at 8 p.m., featuring entertainment by Keoki Kahumoku and a midnight toast. KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. For more information, call 967-8365.

NEW YEAR’S DAY BRUNCH BUFFET is available at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Menu items include fresh fruit, omelette station, roast pork with gravy, ono picata, sausage patties, bacon, biscuits, brownies, ice cream sundaes and beverages for $15.95 adults and $8.50 children. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013

A guided hike tomorrow at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park explores the area's human history.
Photo by Jay Robinson
THREE NAMES  SELECTED LAST NIGHT are on their way to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who will name West Ka`u and Kailua-Kona’s new member of the state House of Representatives. John Buckstead, regional chair of the Democratic Party, said this morning that District V members of the Democratic Party reviewed submissions by nine Democratic Party members who submitted their names for consideration. The district represents citizens from Honu`apo to Kailua-Kona. Buckstead said he expects the governor to make the decision soon since the state Legislature opens Wednesday, Jan. 15.
      The seat was vacated by Rep. Denny Coffman after his family experienced a death and an ongoing serious illness
      Those who applied, in alphabetical order, were: Abigail Au, who works in the governor’s office in Kona; Kaliko Chun, who has worked for the state Legislature for 12 years and sits on national park and other advisory committees; Richard Creagan, retired physician and farmer in Ka`u; Barbara Dalton, governor’s representative in Kona and retired Na`alehu post office manager; Una Greenaway, coffee farmer and organic farming advocate; Lei Kihoi, Kona social worker and attorney; Gene Bucky Leslie, Holualoa florist; Michael Matsukawa, a Kona attorney who has worked on community issues; and Steve Sakala, a diversified farmer in Kealakekua.
      Buckstead said he is unable to reveal names of the three finalists this morning.
      He said the selection of the three was made through the voting of 12 Democrats attending the meeting and one proxie. The candidates were not interviewed and did not attend the meeting where the selection was made. However, “we know the candidates,” Buckstead said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Mayor Billy Kenoi
MAYOR BILLY KENOI HAS REINTRODUCED AN ETHICS BILL to Hawai`i County Council, according to a story in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Kenoi previously submitted an ethics bill in 2008, but it did not pass, with some County Council members concerned that it might have unintended consequences. Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford voted for that measure.
      Kenoi’s bill proposes changes aimed at stopping appearances of conflicts of interest. It forbids employees from contracting with county government or lobbying boards and commissions on behalf of private businesses and places bans on companies holding contracts with county government if county employees, their spouses or dependent children have a controlling interest.
      The current county ethics code allows county employees to contract with the county as long as the contract is awarded competitively by sealed bid. It also forbids employees from using their position to secure advantages or contracts over others.
      “People can choose to be either an employee of the county or a vendor of the county, but not both,” Kenoi has repeatedly said, according to reporter Nancy Cook Lauer.
      “We view these proposals as an opportunity to increase public confidence in the operations of county government, and to bring the Code of Ethics more closely into line with evolving community expectations,” Kenoi said in a Dec. 9 letter to the council.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

The Public Utilities Commission contrasted the AKP contract and another
for HECO's Kahe Power Plant. Photo from hawaii.edu
IN ITS DECISION DENYING THE PROPOSED CONTRACT between `Aina Koa Pona and the electric utility companies, the state Public Utilities Commission noted differences between the Hawai`i Electric Light Co./AKP contract and another for Hawaiian Electric Co./Hawai`i Bio-Energy for its Kahe Power Plant on O`ahu.
      One difference dealt with economic dispatch, the short-term determination of optimal output of electricity generation facilities to meet the system load at lowest possible cost.
      The PUC said HELCO’s commitment to purchase an annual minimum quantity of AKP biofuel “will likely require HELCO to operate its Keahole combined cycle generating units outside of economic dispatch in order to ensure that the contracted volumes of AKP-produced biofuel are consumed. Such a commitment, in turn, has the potential to displace or curtail more economical, existing renewable energy resources or restrict the addition of other new low-cost, fixed-price renewable energy projects.
      “By contrast, the minimum off-take volume of ten million gallons per year of HBE-produced biofuel represents only four to five percent of Kahe Power Plant’s total annual fuel consumption. Hence, HECO will continue to operate its Kahe Unit 3 in economic dispatch mode. Accordingly, HECO does not seek the commission’s approval in Docket No. 2011-0369 to allow it to dispatch its systems when using biofuel as if the biofuel was priced at low sulfur fuel oil prices. Moreover, there appears to be no evidence that the HECO-HBE contract will interconnect with or accept additional renewable energy resources.”
      Another difference stated by the PUC deals with transportation fuel contracts. “There appears to be no evidence in the docket record of any purchase agreements or other written commitments between AKP and third-party transportation fuel contractors (aviation or ground). By contrast, Alaska Airlines has reached an agreement to purchase locally produced renewable aviation fuel from HBE, while Boeing Company has entered into a memorandum of understanding with HBE, expressing their mutual interest in evaluating and developing opportunities to develop renewable aviation fuels in Hawai`i.

      The PUC discussed the different technologies the two companies plan to use: “The Micro Dee technology AKP intends to use to produce biofuel appears unproven on a large, commercial-scale basis. By contrast, HBE intends to utilize the Rapid Thermal Processing Units technology that is an established commercial technology and currently in use in Canada and will be under construction in Italy and Malaysia.”
      Community input also was considered by the commissioners. “Significant community and ratepayer opposition exists with respect to the HELCO-AKP contract, including opposition from the local county government,” the PUC states. “By contrast, there is little or no community or ratepayer opposition to the commission approving the HECO-HBE contract.
      The PUC pointed out that the two companies’ products are different. “The companies do not assert that the HELCO-AKP contract is comparable to the HECO-HBE contract,” the PUC stated. “To the contrary, they readily note that HBE’s biofuel is a crude biofuel that is not comparable to AKP’s biodiesel.”
      The points at which the prices of the two companies’ products would drop below the price of oil were also discussed. “While the referenced ‘heat-adjusted’ biofuel prices for HBE and AKP, respectively, are both projected to drop below the prices of petroleum diesel and LSFO, respectively, during the latter part of their respective twenty-year contract terms, the cross-over point under the HECO-HBE contract is projected to occur sooner.”
      The PUC’s decision is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Go to Trending Dockets, Docket Number 2012-0185.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A GUIDED HIKE AT THE KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow focuses on the area’s human history. The 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hikes over rugged terrain is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 985-6011 for more information.

VOLCANO ART CENTER BEGINS 2014 with a fundraiser, an exhibit and workshops.
      On Saturday Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center hosts its Colossal Rummage yART Sale, a major fundraiser for the Art Center. VAC is looking for all kinds of items to be donated, everything except books and clothing (books about the arts and crafts are accepted). All items in working order and/or clean can be delivered to VAC’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village on Wednesday, Jan. 8 and Thursday, Jan. 9.
      VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park ushers in 2014 with an exhibit by painter Christina Skaggs. The Color of Sacred, a Solo Show opens with a reception on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and continues through Feb. 23.
      2014 programs kick off at the VAC’s Ni‘`aulani Campus with Tapping Your Creative Right Brain, a writing workshop with Tom Peek on Saturday, Jan. 11. Participants learn how to unlock the part of their minds that holds wild dreams, fascinating associations, deep metaphors and other gems of imagination, then apply them to their writing. The workshop is open to all levels and genres; no writing experience is necessary.
Tom Peek
      Process Painting - Spirit of Creativity with Patricia Hoban is offered on Saturday, Jan. 18. Participants embark on a journey that encourages them to experiment, explore, discover and play. Hoban explains, “We strive to get rid of our internal critic and judge through this endeavor. When people learn ‘the process,’ they can paint from within, letting their subconscious or right brain engage in spontaneous expression.” No previous art education or experience is needed.
      For more information about the yART Sale and to register for workshops, call 967-8222.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.


Friday, December 27, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Dec. 27, 2013

`Aina Koa Pono says it plans to forge ahead with its project which called for cutting trees, brush and grasses between Pahala and Na`alehu. Photo by Julia Neal
`AINA KOA PONO PLANS TO MOVE FORWARD with its plans to construct a $450 million refinery and Ka`u biofuels farm, reports Alan Yonan, Jr. in this morning's Honolulu Star-Advertiser. After its second proposed contract with Hawai`i utility companies was turned down by the state Public Utilities Commission this week, AKP said it still has a contract with Georgia-based Mansfield Oil Co. to distribute up to 24 million gallons of AKP’s biofuel for transportation use. AKP's plan has been to produce the fuel at a microwave refinery on the edge of Wood Valley above Pahala using trees, shrubs and grasses cut from lands between Pahala and Na`alehu.
      In an email to the Star-Advertiser, AKP co-founder and partner Kenton Eldridge said, “AKP is very disappointed with the PUC’s decision but will continue to pursue our plan to produce both biofuels as well (as) biochar.” Biochar is a byproduct of the refining process that AKP said can be used as a soil conditioner.
AKP says it has a contract with Mansfield Oil to distribute up to 24 million gallons
of biofuel annually for transportation use.
      Previously, Eldridge had said Mansfield Oil Co. would transport 16 million gallons of biofuel annually from the Ka`u refinery to HELCO’s Keahole power plant as well as distribute an additional eight million gallons of biofuel annually “with preference to Hawai`i. If sold here, it would represent 16 percent of Hawai`i’s transportation diesel demand based on the 2011 data of the Federal Highway Administration,” Eldridge predicted, saying, “Mansfield is an industry leader in fuel handling and distribution and will handle all the fuel logistics from the Ka`u facility.”
      In its unanimous decision, the PUC stated, “AKP, at its option, is free to pursue a scaled-down version of its proposed bio-refinery for the purpose of supplying biofuel to the transportation and other non-utility generation sectors. Such a venture will not require the commission’s approval of the resulting biofuel supply contract as a prerequisite to obtaining financing for a scaled-down version of any proposed AKP bio-refinery.”
      Hawai`i Electric Light Co. president Jay Ignacio told the Star-Advertiser, “We respect the commission’s decision, and our companies will continue to focus on alternatives to meet Hawai`i’s clean energy goals and lower the cost of electricity for our customers.”
      State energy administrator Mark Glick told Yonan the PUC decision “reflects the state’s energy policy of balancing technical, economic, environmental and cultural considerations on energy projects to ensure making the best use of land and resources.”
      Eldridge is also quoted in Pacific Business News: "We’ve had a Plan B for awhile. We will continue to pursue our project for the transportation fuels and will have more to say in the coming days.”
      The land for which `Aina Koa Pono representatives said they had a lease is owned by the Edmund C. Olson Trust and the Mallick family. It is used for ranching and farming, with planned expansion of food crops and coffee production as the market for Ka`u Coffee is exploding.
      See staradvertiser.com and bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pohakuloa Training Area wants to add four helicopter landing zones to its current 31.
Photo from Environmental Assessment
BUILDING FOUR HELICOPTER TRAINING LANDING ZONES along with access and connecting trails within Pohakuloa Training Area is the subject of an Environmental Assessment released Monday. The military’s conclusion, according to the EA, is that the project would have no significant impact on the natural or human environment. 
      The zones, on the northern slope of Mauna Loa, would be used for pilots to train on varied terrain, under diverse conditions and at multiple altitudes. The locations would allow pilots and troops to be trained to proficiency in austere environmental conditions above 8,000 feet.
      No increase in training flights is being proposed. PTA estimates that approximately 10 percent of current training flights occurring at PTA would use the new landing zones once they are constructed.
      There would be a maximum of 420 flights a year following a flight path within PTA’s airspace and perimeter and a maximum of 20 landings per day on the proposed zones. Multiple helicopters could be in the air and conducting maneuvers simultaneously.
      While there are no cultural resources within the landing zones, three potential cultural sites identified along a trail during a survey in February and March can be avoided during construction activities, the EA stated.
      “Impacts to sensitive species from construction activities are anticipated to be low because of the lack of habitat and the implementation of measures to mitigate potential habitat loss and species injury/death,” the EA stated. Impacts from noise to sensitive species are anticipated to be low, “because species would not be attracted to the noise and would vacate the area until the noise subsides.”
      The EA is available online at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov and garrison.hawaii.army.mil/NEPA/NEPA.htm. Copies are also available at public libraries in Kailua-Kona and Hilo.
      Comments are being accepted through Jan. 18. Send to Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Division (IMHW-PWE), Attn: Dale Kanehisa, 948 Santos Dumont Ave., Building 105, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Barracks, 96857-5013.
      For more information, contact Kanehisa at 656-5670 or email dale.kanehisa@us.army.mil.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Scott Enright replaces Russell Kokubun as Ag chief.
Photo from Office of the Governor.
THE GOVERNOR HAS APPOINTED A NEW CHAIR of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. Scott Edward Enright has been named to replace Russell Kokubun, who is retiring at the end of the year.
      Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Enright’s appointment Thursday. “Scott is a respected member of the community whose collaborative spirit has served to bring all parties to the table toward nurturing and sustaining the agriculture industry in Hawai`i,” Abercrombie said. “With Scott’s experience, we will continue to strengthen our agriculture industry by improving infrastructure, building our local markets and expanding exports.”
       Abercrombie touted the Hamakua Coast resident’s agricultural experience, including his efforts to develop the state’s grass-fed beef industry.
      Enright has served as Kokubun’s deputy since February 2012. His previous experience includes working as a consultant for the Hawai`i Sustainable Agriculture and Renewable Energy Project and as a cultivation and irrigation superintendent for Hamakua Sugar Company.
      He earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and philosophy from University of Hawai`i – Hilo.
      The appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation.
       To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

HOLIDAY EVENTS CONTINUE in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      The 14th annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit continues at Volcano Art Center Gallery. Call 967-7565 for more information.
      Kilauea Military Camp’s Holiday Challenge ends New Year’s Eve. Visitors can vote for their favorite decorated cottage at the front desk.
      Park entrance fees apply.

A GUIDED HIKE AT THE KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Sunday focuses on the area’s human history. The 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hikes over rugged terrain is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call 985-6011 for more information.

Volcano Awareness Month is featured at January's After Dark in the Park programs
Photo from USGS/HVO
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN LOOK FORWARD to the fifth annual Volcano Awareness Month coming up in January. Among other events, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory presents programs at After Dark in the Park each Tuesday except New Year’s Eve. The programs begin at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      On Jan. 7, geologist Tim Orr reviews highlights from the past 31 years of eruption and talks about recent developments. On Jan. 14, geologist Matt Patrick presents an update on Kilauea’s summit eruption, including an overview of the volcanic processes occurring within the vent. Ben Gaddis, a long-time HVO volunteer, tells the story of Kilauea’s most violent eruption of the 20th century from the perspective of the people who lived through it on Jan. 21, and on Jan. 28, geochemists Jeff Sutton and Tamar Elias offer an update about volcanic gases, especially those related to the 2008-2013 activity at Halema`uma`u Crater. An optional gas tasting party follows the talk.
      For more on Volcano Awareness Month, see hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.