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, February 27, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 27, 2013

Ka`u Intermediate girls stayed for several nights onboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Pearl Harbor.
Photo by Lawrence Lucero
KA`U INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL girls, interested in aviation, recently flew to O`ahu and stayed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri to attend Pacific Aviation Museum Flight School Encampment at Pearl Harbor. They were chosen after writing essays on their desire to learn about aviation, and yesterday received certificates for completing the mission from Sen. Russell Ruderman, who visited Pahala.
Teachers Dexsylin Navarro, Nellie Davis, Deisha Davis and Gailey
McGuire led junior high girls to the aviation academy.
Photo by Lawrence Lucero
      The group was led by Dexsilyn Navarro, who heads up the math department on the Ka`u campus. Also leading the group were teachers Deisha Davis, Nellie Davis and Gailey McGuire.

OVER THE NEXT EIGHT MONTHS, Ka`u residents will be able to interact with Sen. Russell Ruderman to plan for the 2014 Hawai`i State Legislature, he said. Ruderman came to Ka`u yesterday to meet with area residents and explained that new bills must be introduced into the Legislature within five days of opening day. He said that bills he introduced this year would still be alive next year and that there is plenty of time for interaction with the freshman senator before next session. He also encouraged constituents to interact with his staff and the legislative reference bureau, which can find bills and help community members draft bills.
Sen. Russell Ruderman congratulated Ka`u sixth-, seventh- and eighth-
grade girls yesterday for completing an aviation class on the
U.S.S. Missouri. Photo by Eileen O`Hara 
      At Ka`u High School, Ruderman visited the construction site of the new shelter and gymnasium, toured the campus with Principal Sharon Beck and gave a talk to middle school students at the cafeteria. He followed up with a talk story at Pahala Plantation House, where he discussed renewable energy, growing food, preventing farm theft, supporting irrigation for agriculture and agricultural education for both Puna and Ka`u. Residents also talked about the Ka`u Scenic Byway program and continued support for Pahala Library, which is open four afternoons a week with Internet and 28 computers. Residents urged that school students use the library during school hours and that it be opened in the future after work and on weekends, as well. Ruderman talked about his support for video conferencing and other ways for people living in remote places like Ka`u to participate in public hearings and other sessions of government.
      Constituents can sign up for a newsletter and for updates. See http://russellruderman.com/contact-russell-ruderman.

Sperm whales take care of their calves for more than a decade.
Photo by Brandon Cole/National Wildlife Federation
A DECAYING WHALE on the Ka`u Coast was examined by representatives of National Marine Fisheries and The Nature Conservancy yesterday. Justin Viezbicke, of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, was among them. He said the remains of the whale on the beach were likely from the head of a sperm whale. Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, can reach 67 feet in length, with the huge head accounting for about a third of the body. The sperm whale dives deeper than any other mammal and could reach bottom of the Lo`ihi Seamount, which rises some ten thousand feet from the floor of the Pacific Ocean off the Ka`u Coast some 18 miles from where the whale was found.
      Sperm whales make the loudest noise of any animal and have the largest brains of any animal. They give birth every three to six years and take care of each calf for more than a decade. They can live more than 70 years.
      Anyone seeing marine mammals in distress, entangled, beached or washed ashore can contact Viesbicke at justin.viezbicke@noaa.gov, 327-3697 or 987-0765.

REGARDING THE `AINA KOA PONO proposal, the Public Utilities Commission last week published responses to more questions asked by the state Consumer Advocate, Hawai`i County and Life of the Land. The questions concern the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to annually sell, at a fixed price for 20 years, 16 million gallons of diesel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The fuel, produced in 27 microwave units, would be sold to Hawai`i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric Companies, with most of it trucked up Hwy 11 to a power plant in Kona. Electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island would increase.
            Hawai`i County attorneys questioned production rates claimed by `Aina Koa Pono. The county said that, according to AKP’s website, the company “has determined that based on production per acre and quality of fuel, the Big Island facility would generate approximately 3,500 gallons of biofuel per acre, versus 650 gallons per acre for other liquid fuel technologies. This is seven times more productive than biodiesel from palm oil. Please explain how/where the 3500 gallons per acre is derived. Does this assume multiple harvests per year for the same acre?”
      The utilities responded, “AKP reports that the MicroDee process will use biomass feedstock (energy grasses and woody biomass). Therefore, the pyrolytic oils derived from the process can be called a biofuel. The specific biofuel produced is not derived from an oilseed crop, such as palm oil, soybean, canola, moringa, or any other type of oilseed crop. AKP asserts that it is able to produce enough feedstock from the proposed project’s land due to each harvest cycle being approximately nine months for the energy grasses and longer for woody biomass.
      “AKP discusses the need for about 900 dry tons per day of feedstock,” the county stated and asked, “How many cubic yards of harvested material is this equal to, or simply how many wet tons of feedstock do you have to produce to make a dry ton of biomass?” A dry ton is often confusing as you cannot grow dry biomass and you have to grow, harvest, transport and handle a lot of wet material in order to end up with a ton of dry biomass, the county said.
      The utilities replied, “AKP reports that woody biomass is assumed to be harvested with a 45 percent moisture content. When it is used in the MicroDee process in pellet form, the moisture content of the woody biomass pellet is now approximately at 10 percent. Therefore, the woody biomass had a 35 percent reduction of moisture content from harvest to pellet form. The energy grasses have an assumed 70 percent moisture content (varies upon the amount of rain and time of harvest). When used in the MicroDee process in pellet form, the moisture content of the energy grasses is now at approximately 10 percent. Therefore, the energy grasses had a 60 percent reduction of moisture content from harvest to pellet form. The volatiles content remains approximately the same with only minor losses throughout the processing into a finished pellet. At the AKP daily feed rate of 900 dry tons per day, AKP estimates that approximately 40 acres of energy grass will need to be harvested per day to meet their facility’s needs.”
      Hawai`i County asked the utilities to provide the projected amount that growers would be paid per dry ton of feedstock. “How does this compare with possible alternative fuels? Will AKP enter into a 20-year contract with growers? How will AKP handle situations where there is crop failure, inadequate yield, and/or if growers decide to produce other crops?”
      The utilities replied that “AKP will be performing the farming operation for production of energy grasses and woody biomass. Because the farming operation will be handled internally by AKP, there will not be any third party contracts with external growers…. Also, in the event of crop failures or inadequate yields, the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract does allow for AKP to source their feedstock from anywhere within the state of Hawai`i.”
      Complete responses to all questions are online at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

VOLCANO VARIETY SHOW takes place this Saturday at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Acts include sketch, comedy, music and dance and are appropriate for all ages. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 children under 17. Call 967-8222. 

A NIGHT OF IMPROV is also set for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Alohaha’s Improv-Sketch-Comedy troupe performs a series of improvisational games and original comedy sketches. $10 tickets are available at the door at 7 p.m. for adults 18 years old and over. For more, call 345-2571 or email thealohahas@gmail.com.

WOMEN’S ENERGY WORKSHOP takes place Sunday, March 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Shizuno Nasu’s Volcano Village Dance Studio. The workshop features yoga and dance meditation with Nasu and Debra Serrao focusing on the Sacred Feminine. $55 includes lunch; space is limited. Register with Debra at 985-7545 or debwhiteflower@hotmail.com or Shizuno at 967-8574 or shizunodance@gmail.com.