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.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs March 22, 2013

The Ka`u Coast could be a study area for adding more land to the National Parks. Photo by Peter Anderson
PLAN TO STUDY THE KA`U COAST and other places in Hawai`i with the goal of expanding national parklands drew praise from conservation groups this week. The commentary followed Sen. Brian Schatz introducing S.618 – Pacific Island Parks Act of 2013, his first bill in the U.S. Senate. It would launch a three-year study on values, resources and costs. The legislation says the Secretary of the Interior “shall conduct a special resource study of each of the following sites:
(A) The Ka`u Coast on the island of Hawai`i, Hawai`i.
(B) The northern coast of Maui, Hawai`i.
(C) The southeastern coast of Kauai, Hawai`i.
(D) Historic sites on Midway Atoll.”
      The initiative builds on community efforts in Ka`u dating back to the doubling of the size of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, with help from the late Sen. Dan Iouye, and to a state task force on conserving the coast. The task force, set up through state legislation from Rep. Bob Herkes, encouraged funding from federal, state, county and private sources for the subsequent preservation of Honu`apo, Kawa and lands west of Punalu`u. Most of the lands had been put up for sale by speculators, and community groups organized to preserve them.
The late Sen. Dan Inouye joined Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
superintendent Cindy Orlando at the opening of the park's Kahuku Unit.
      One of the areas that would be studied under the Schatz bill is the Great Crack between Pahala and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, long on the acquisitions list for the National Park Service.
      Hawaiian Islands state director for the Trust for Public Land, Lea Hong, said: “Parks are a wise investment, supporting hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoor recreational activities that contribute a total of $725.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy and 6.15 million jobs, according to the Outdoor Industry Association. More broadly, outdoor recreation, nature conservation and historic preservation contribute a total of $1.06 trillion annually to the economy, supporting 8.4 million jobs – or one out every 16 jobs in the U.S.”
      Hawaiian Islands Land Trust executive director Ted Clement said, “We support Senator Schatz’s efforts to expand national parks in Hawai`i because Hawai`i’s long-term well being, environmentally, economically, and otherwise, is directly linked to the land and the choices we make about it. Indeed, Hawai`i’s state motto proclaims, ‘The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.’ The proposed legislation will help keep Hawai`i a world-class destination and highly desirable place to live, work and visit – factors critical to our economy.”
Lea Hong
      The Nature Conservancy’s Hawai`i State director Suzanne Case said, “The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund was enacted nearly 50 years ago to use revenues from the extraction of offshore oil and gas to support the conservation of other precious resources – our land and water. Today, the LWCF is the primary federal financing tool to conserve our national parks, forests, and wildlife refuges. Legislation like that introduced by Senator Schatz today proposes to identify some of those precious resources in Hawai`i and the Pacific that are at risk of being lost but have the potential for protection through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.”
      Robert D. Harris, director of the Sierra Club of Hawai`i, said, “The Sierra Club appreciates and strongly supports Senator Schatz’s efforts to protect Hawai`i’s special places. Recognizing the looming impacts of climate change and sea level rise, this is an important step toward preserving Hawai`i’s unique cultural and natural heritage and ensuring our children have amazing beaches and wild places to explore.”
      The latest action on the bill is that it has been referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.
      Comments may be made by selecting the “new parks” from the topics drop-down menu at www.schatz.senate.gov/contact.

Sen. Josh Green
GMO LABELING IS SHELVED, and a study will be conducted on the costs and value of identifying for the public which foods are genetically engineered. The state Senate’s Agriculture Committee, in a joint meeting with the Consumer Protection and Health Committees, almost cancelled a public hearing on the issue yesterday, over the objections of West Ka`u Senator Josh Green. The Honolulu Star- Advertiser this morning quoted Green, who chairs the Health Committee: “I think the reason we have to have a hearing and we have to have labeling is just because of public trust.” Writer Sara Zoellic also reported Green saying: “Had we not had a hearing, it would have been easy to see people blame government in a conspiratorial way. That’s not OK.”
      Testimony on the issue came from all sides, with workers from Monsanto and other GMO seed producers lining up to testify alongside GMO labeling proponents.
      The committees voted to shelve the bill and authorize a study, noting that the state attorney general found flaws in the language that could deem it unconstitutional. Similar bills to label GMO are being heard at legislatures around the country.

IN TESTIMONY OPPOSING THE PROPOSAL for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road to Hawai`i Electric Light Co., Life of the Land concluded that “the contract should be rejected based on the proposed high price” and “the proposed secret price.”
      Life of the Land's testimony submitted last week to the Public Utilities Commission also noted that the utility's own testimony covers how the `Aina Koa Pono project would meet the utility's system requirements and also covers the price to be charged for the fuel. However, the utility has delayed its presentation of a  Life Cycle Analysis, which would evaluate the input costs versus the output value for the  `Aina Koa Pono project, and an evaluation of externalities that could result (such as traffic, pollution of air and groundwater and displacement of food producing agricultural operations).
      Life of the Land recommended that with the applicant opting "to file the Life Cycle Analysis/externalities data at a later date, the Commission should only issue preliminary approval of what is essentially a term sheet: prices and fuel characteristics. Final approval must await the submission of documentation regarding the Life Cycle Analysis/externalities. At that point the parties/participants and the public would have an opportunity to opine on the new submittals. The parties/participants would then propose a new schedule (information requests, testimony, and a possible evidentiary hearing) restricted to evaluating the Life Cycle Analysis/externalities.
      “If the Commission approves or modifies the proposed price, then we advocate that the Commission only give preliminary approval to the first two issues (meeting the utility’s system requirements; and the price), and defer ruling on the third issue (Life Cycle Analysis/externalities) pending further filing of relevant documentation by the applicant.”
      See this and more testimony at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

Pahala Public & School Library celebrates 50 years of service next month.
Photo by Julia Neal
THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY of Pahala Public & School Library will be celebrated Friday, April 19 at the library located at 96-3150 Pikake Street. As part of National Library Week, the event begins at 10:30 a.m. with local hula halau, students of Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School and a crafts demonstration from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. with Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u. At 2 p.m. the winners of the Haiku Poetry Contest will be announced, and the haiku recited. Contests, door prizes and refreshments will be offered throughout the day.
      Pahala Library is now open three days a week on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
      For more information call 928-2015.

TALK TO ME LIKE THE RAIN and Let Me Listen and I Can’t Imagine Tomorrow are the titles of two one-act plays by Tennessee Williams that will be performed Sunday at 3 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House. University of Hawai`i-Hilo drama department senior Julie Dobbs directs Dick Hershberger and Arlene Araki in the rarely performed plays. Tea and cookies will be served, and a potluck dinner follows.

TOMORROW IS A BUSY DAY for Ka`u sports. At home, the boys volleyball team plays Kohala/St. Joseph’s at 10 a.m., and the softball team meets Konawaena at 1 p.m. A Judo tournament takes place in Hilo at 9 a.m. Track and field team members travel to Laupahoehoe for a meet at 9 a.m., along with the tennis team, whose match begins at 10 a.m.