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, April 23, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs April 23, 2013

USA Today photo of Merle Becker and an article about Aikane Plantation Coffee Co. was featured on David Letterman last night.
 A farm visit is open to the public on Friday, May 3. Photo from USA Today
AIKANE PLANTATION COFFEE CO. made the Late Show with David Letterman show last night in his segment called Small Town News. Letterman showed a photo of Merle Becker with her donkey, which was featured Jan. 28 in USA Today. Letterman attempted to pronounce Aikane Plantation Coffee, calling  it "A-Cane" and said it was in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia (instead of between Pahala and Na`alehu in Ka`u, Hawai`i. He did pronounce Merle and Phil Becker’s names correctly. As the camera focused on the print version of the USA Today story, the words Aikane Plantation could be easily read by those watching Letterman. The show can be seen online at www.cbs.com/shows/late_show/.
      Aikane Plantation is sponsoring a farm visit and lunch on Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. as part of the ten days of Ka`u Coffee Festival events that begin this Friday with the Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant. Call 808-927-2252 to visit Aikane, or email aikaneplantation@hawaii.rr.com. Fee for the tour and lunch is $25. Also see www.kaucoffeefest.com.
Phil and Merle Becker
      The USA Today article included a headline Roots clear back to “papa,” telling the Aikane story:
      “A pair of those Kona nightingales, Madeline and Jasmine, constitute the official greeting party at Aikane Plantation Coffee Company, one of about 50 small farms that are transforming the economic landscape in the Big Island’s sparsely populated Ka`u region.
      “Though Ka`u’s coffee industry took off when the area’s sugar cane plantations folded nearly two decades ago, its roots go back much further — in Aikane Plantation’s case, to co-owner Merle Becker’s great-grandfather ‘Papa’ J.C. Searle.
      “Today, Merle and her husband Phil combine cattle ranching with coffee growing from the same trees ‘Papa’ planted in 1894.
      “Visitors who manage to find the place — tucked off an old sugar cane road that connects the small towns of Na`alehu and Pahala — are welcomed with award-winning java, a taste of chocolate-covered macadamia nuts or peaberries (single, rare coffee beans prized for their taste) and a free tour of their 150-acre spread,” reported travel writer Laura Bly.
      As they do each year, the Beckers will operate the public information and sales booth at Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a on Saturday, May 4 starting at 9 a.m. at Pahala Community Center.

PUBLIC LAND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION has been abolished. Gov. Abercrombie yesterday signed the measure into law after receiving it from the state Legislature. The State House of Representatives unanimously passed HB1133 SD2 on April 15.
      The PLDC was created to develop state lands through public-private partnerships and generate revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources. However, growing public concern over the corporation’s broad exemptions from land use laws, county zoning laws and construction standards erupted into strong, statewide opposition and calls to repeal the PLDC.
      “As with any new law, public understanding and support are essential. In the case of the PLDC, best intentions and the potential for public good could not be reconciled with public concerns,” Abercrombie said.

HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK has received recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Federal Green Challenge Program. Honorable mention went to the park for its Education and Outreach Program.
      The park, in conjunction with University of Hawai`i – Hilo, developed an employee survey to ascertain energy knowledge, views and habits. Students from the university analyzed survey results and developed recommendations for educating national park employees about energy conservation methods.
      As a result, informational signs and stickers were put up, and energy meters were added to some equipment. Additionally, supervisors monitored employee activity, and the energy manager tracked quantitative results through energy bills.
      The Federal Green Challenge is a national effort to challenge EPA and other federal agencies to reduce the federal government’s environmental impact.
      Participants select a minimum two of six target areas — waste, electronics, purchasing, energy, water, or transportation — and commit to improve by at least five percent per year in their selected target areas.

OCEAN VIEW WELL is again operating, reports Kanani Aton, of the Department of Water Supply. Operational testing, as well as water quality testing, is taking place after a new pump was put into service and the storage tank began filling on Sunday. According to Aton, the fill station is scheduled to re-open tomorrow.
Scott Hempling
LIFE OF THE LAND executive director Henry Curtis has released a transcript entitled A State Agency Surveys What People Think of It. The 26,000-word transcript is posted on www.disappearednews.com along with a story written by Curtis. The story quotes Scott Hempling, a national regulatory expert with a decade of experience consulting for the Hawai`i PUC. 
      Hempling told the commissioners: “I would like to say that in all of the states that I have worked in, there is not a state with a bigger gap between the expectations of the Legislature has placed on the Commission and the responsibilities that have been placed with the Commission and the resources that the Commission has in terms of number of staff, flexibility to hire staff, flexibility to pay staff. It strikes me as just a deep inconsistency.
       “The public, in terms of the values that matter, isn’t going to have much influence, and shouldn’t have much influence over Commission decision-making,” said Hempling.
      “What I think is frankly more important is to dampen the public’s expectations that they can influence a Commission’s decision.
      “I still think the problem is at the top. Of not creating a path by which decisions can be made faster.
      “If you want renewables and you want it fast and you want it big, get a statute that gives the company, the IPP (Independent Power Producer) or the Commissioner or all three the pre-emptive authority to condemn the land and move it.
      “Community hearing, let people have their say, and then get it done.
      “I’m saying that if the State wants renewables it’s going to have to bite the bullet and take on the political opposition and get it done.
      “Perhaps the word for consumers is patience. Give the Commission running room.
      “Let’s talk about the woman’s concern from Lana`i about the opposition to renewable energy. The Commission has this obligation to goose the utility toward achieving the goals, but the Commission doesn’t have the legal power to go over to Lana`i and tell the landowners there and the community to stuff it and let the plant get built. They don’t have that authority, so the Commission under present law, doesn’t have the authority to make it all happen. This strikes me as a problem.”
      He argued that commissioners should be “independent of arguments that aren’t based on the merits, independent of arguments that are based on emotions, independent of adverbs and adjectives, and insist on facts and logic.”
      See public  reaction to his statements at www.disappearednews.com.

Volunteer ranger Noel Ebertz leads a special program tomorrow.
Photo from pacificislandparks.com
AS A SPECIAL PROGRAM for National Park Week, tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. volunteer ranger Noel Eberz leads a one-mile, one-hour round-trip hike exploring volcanic features like fissures and lava trees that were formed during the 1969-74 Mauna Ulu eruption. The hike highlights the process of plant survival on this harsh lava landscape.
 Meet Eberz at Mauna Ulu parking lot, four miles down Chain of Craters Road.
      Entry to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is free through Friday. 

MARIE BURNS, OF OCEAN VIEW, said she wants to thank the county for what she says may have saved her life. While camping on the shoreline at Manuka, Sunday morning at dawn she unexpectedly had what she described as a grand mal seizure. She said her friends called 911, and a helicopter came right away and lifted her to Manuka Park where an ambulance brought her to Ka`u Hospital. “I think the county saved my life,” she said, and I want to thank everyone who helped me.” Burns is a tree trimmer and community organizer.