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, January 01, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Jan. 1, 2013

Protection of natural resources will be a top story in 2013. Photo from The Ka`u Calendar.

No. 1: `AINA KOA PONO. Hawaiian Electric Co. and `Aina Koa Pono are required to answer detailed questions by this Friday, Jan. 4 concerning the pricing of the diesel they plan to produce at a refinery in Ka`u to provide fuel for a power plant in Kona. The contract between HELCO and `Aina Koa Pono would raise electric bills throughout the Big Island and O`ahu. The questions were submitted through a legal process before the state Public Utilities Commission by attorneys for Hawai`i County, the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, the state Consumer Advocate and the environmental and consumer group Life of the Land.
     Questions involve proof that the new refinery, comprised of giant microwave reactors, will work and be safe for the environment, community and workers; the clearing and use of pasturelands for biofuel crops instead of food crops and more land for the growing coffee industry; whether an Environmental Assessment is required and will be done; the wisdom of a 20-year contract that locks in a rate; estimates of economic impact, including job and tax creation assessments and incremental costs of the contract; possibility of additional displacement or curtailment of other renewable projects in the future; whether it is prudent to rely on the AKP contract to provide essentially 100 percent of the fuel needs for Keahole; what would happen to the refinery and land should the project fail and more.
      Due dates for Information Requests and Responses between the companies, parties and participants continue until August 2. A decision from the PUC will follow that date.

Fencing is up around the new gym and shelter construction site in, but an
underground human burial site has delayed permitting. Photo by Julia Neal
No. 2: EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLAR CONSTRUCTION PROJECT. The most expensive buildings to ever be constructed in Ka`u are expected to rise out of the green field between Pahala School cafeteria and the tennis courts in 2013. While ground was broken on Oct. 3, 2012 and contractor Summit Construction came to town prepared to work, the discovery of burials in lava tubes near the site has stopped the project until the Burial Council, state and county can agree to a plan to protect the site. A meeting of the council is set for Jan.17.
      Once completed, the complex will include a large gymnasium where invitational tournaments and school and community sports can be held, a community activities center and regional disaster shelter.

Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo has nominated Kaunamano Ranch below
 Honu`apo lookout for preservation. Photo from Hawai`i Pacific Brokers
No. 3: KA`U COAST ACQUISITION in 2013 is expected to add more than three times the acreage conserved in the last decade along Hawai`i’s longest uninhabited shoreline. More than 3,000 acres is set for acquisition by the county around Road to the Sea, which ends at a green sand beach on the western side of Ka`u. In addition, Ka Ohana O Honu`apo is seeking to conserve more than 1,300 acres from lands below Honu`apo to Ka Lae. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is interested in possibly purchasing lands makai of its Kahuku Unit that were previously planned for a Nani Kahuku `Aina resort development along the shore. The park also has the Great Crack area along the ocean between Pahala and Volcano on its acquisition list.

No. 4: IMPROVED HEALTH FACILITIES. Bay Clinic’s new Ka`u Family Health & Dental Center will have the capacity to see 3,400 new patients with 8,500 new appointments. It is being constructed in front of the current Bay Clinic, an old two-story building from plantation days.
Sen. Josh Green
      Ka`u Hospital received funding for air treatment and air conditioning to protect patients and long-term residents from the affects of vog from Kilauea volcano. New windows, doors, ceilings and other upgrades were funded by the state for this Critical Access Care hospital.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      State Sen. Josh Green said he will request $15 million for needed improvements to community hospitals in Ka`u, Kona, Kohala. “As chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, my legislative priorities for 2013 will include renewal of the Hospital Sustainability Act of 2012 which brought over $40 million in federal funds to strengthen our hospitals, building the Hawai`i Health Corps which will bring needed doctors to under-served areas of the state, fighting the epidemic of childhood obesity in Hawai`i, and doing everything possible to make sure we preserve a safe and healthy environment, including our air, water, and food,” Green said.

No. 5: NEW FACE OF PUBLIC REPRESENTATION in government is the biggest change since statehood. Ka`u will have two state senators, Josh Green and Russell Ruderman; two members of the state House of Representatives, Richard Onishi and Denny Coffman; and a County Council member, Brenda Ford, whose district runs from Volcano into South Kona.
Ka`u Coffee grower are seeking more land and land security in 2013.
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
      How much time will they be able to spend here, given the long travel distances? None of them live here and seats of government are in Hilo, Kona and Honolulu. Will social media keep them in better communication with Ka`u residents? 

No. 6: KA`U COFFEE. Growers are enjoying incredible success but where will they get more land and land security to expand their businesses? As perhaps creating the best examples in Hawai`i of post-plantation economic success for small, independently owned enterprises run by people who work and live here, Ka`u Coffee growers are seeking long-term leases for lands where they can continue to expand orchards and grow more coffee for their award-winning brew. Without land security, investment beyond their hard work and sweat is unlikely from farm banks and other lenders.

Hunting in embraced as a component of feeding the family in Ka`u.
Photo by Julia Neal
No. 7: HUNTING & PROTECTION OF NATURAL RESOURCES will be major stories of 2013 as conservation groups, hunters, on land and sea, and the state work out plans for managing forest and ocean resources. Fishing is a subsistence lifestyle dating back to the first Hawaiians, while hunting grew with the introduction of pigs by the Polynesians and goats, sheep, wild cattle, turkeys and other game by subsequent human arrivals. Over the last two centuries, Hawaiians and immigrant families have embraced hunting as a component of feeding the family. However, some areas of the forest are being set aside for fencing out the game in order reintroduce native birds to the wild and to allow native plants to thrive. Nearshore waters are targets of bans on spearfishing with SCUBA, taking tropical fish for aquarium sales and limits and prohibitions on taking numerous marine species.

The yellow object that washed onto the shore at Waikapuna still is not
confirmed as Japanese tsunami debris.
No. 8: TSUNAMI & MORE DEBRIS. All eyes will be on the Ka`u Coast this year to see how much tsunami debris from the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami actually washes up on the Ka`u shore. A big, yellow object, made of metal, some 20 feet wide and 12 feet tall, washed up at Waikapuna in Oct. 2012, but is yet to be confirmed as tsunami debris. More recently, a one-inch-thick piece of foam with Japanese writing was found near the yellow object. The federal government and Japan have chipped in money for tsunami debris cleanup in western coastal states, and the Hawai`i 2013 Legislature is expected to come up with more funding. In addition to tsunami debris, tons of fishing nets, consumer plastics and other rubbish washes onto the Ka`u Coast all the time, and a report on NBC calls Kamilo the dirtiest beach in the world. With little relief from the planet's garbage making its way to Ka`u, debris will continue to be a top story.

Ka`u CDP Steering Committee's next meeting is on
Tuesday, Apr. 9.
No. 9: KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN. After years of community and steering committee public meetings, consultant and county planning department effort, the first drafts of the CDP are expected to roll out in 2013. The CDP is designed to become an overall guide for the future of economic and land use choices in the near future, particularly when it comes to zoning decisions. As the drafts for components of the plans are released, public input and review will be through educational workshops, Speak Outs and events to be held in Pahala, Na`alehu, and Ocean View on weekday evenings and weekends. For more information, see kaucdp.info or contact planner Ron Whitmore at    rwhitmore@co.hawaii.hi.us or 961-8137.

No. 10: THE VOLCANOES are a standing story every year with Mauna Loa, Kilauea and Lo`ihi some of the most active in the world. Kilauea spews ash and vog to blanket the communities.
Kilauea Volcano continues to affect life in Ka`u. Photo from USGS/HVO
        Mauna Loa rocks Ka`u with earthquakes. It will someday pour lava down its slopes to cover land and steam into the nearshore waters. Lo`ihi, the 10,000-foot-tall seamount just 18 miles offshore, rumbles and spits into the ocean depths, someday to rise above the Pacific. Volcanoes in Ka`u also nourish the economy, bringing visitors to the state’s top destination, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and providing the rich volcanic soils for famous Ka`u Coffee.

STAYING CONNECTED WITH HAWAI`I CITIZENS is one of the promises of newly appointed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. In his New Year’s message, he said, “I assure you, as the New Year rolls in, I will fully dedicate myself to this trust. It is an extraordinary opportunity given to me by the Democratic Party and Governor Abercrombie that I will fulfill for the people of this state. I hope you will follow along on Facebook or Twitter as I strive to keep you informed about our progress in the Senate.”

A fireworks show is set for 8 p.m. tonight in Pahala, with food plates to
raise funds for the show available at 6 p.m. Photo by Kris Bakken
KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers New Year’s Day buffet until 6 p.m. Menu items include roast turkey, braised beef, ono picatta, mushroom and leek pot pie, soup, salad bar, desserts and beverages. The price is $24.95 and $12 for children 6 to 11.
      KMC is open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.

FIREWORKS LIGHT THE SKY in Pahala this evening, thanks to Rodney Freitas and his Big Island Klimate Kontrol team. The show begins at 8 p.m. at the corner of Pikake and Huapala Streets. Sales of food plates to raise funds for the show begin at 6 p.m. To donate, call 987-8917.

Wreaths are on exhibit at Volcano Art Center
through Sunday.
VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 13th Annual Invitational Wreath Exhibit continues through Sunday at the 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. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and park entrance fees apply. 

TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY is the deadline for young women to enter this spring’s Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant. Categories are Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Ka`u Peaberry. By May 13, Miss Ka`u Coffee candidates must be ages 17 to 24, and Miss Ka`u Peaberry candidates must be ages 7 to 9. The winners reign over the annual Ka`u Coffee Festival on Saturday, May 4.
      Applications are available at R&G Store in Pahala, Pahala Community Center, Grandma’s Closet in Na`alehu and Kahuku Gift & Garden Shop in Ocean View. For more information, call Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or Pahala Plantation Cottages at 928-9811. Organizers also welcome volunteers to help produce the pageant.