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.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014

Youngsters check out prizes at the Keiki fishing pond at Punalu`u during today's annual Keiki Fishing Tournament sponsored by `O Ka`u Kakou. Photo by Nalani Parlin
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE in a Senate Videoconferencing Pilot Project being conducted at the state Legislature. The project allows state and county departments, agencies and constituents to testify remotely via videoconference for measures during standing committee hearings of the Committees on Education and Technology & the Arts.
      This pilot project will explore the use of videoconference technology as a way to expand opportunities for the public to actively participate in formulating new legislation. At the same time, the Senate will benefit from additional state, county and community input and discussion.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      The Senate endeavors to expand the project in the future to cover more committees, more hearings and perhaps a wider audience.
      The committees participating in the SVC Pilot can only accept a limited number of videoconference testifiers for each measure, and neighbor island residents will be given priority over O`ahu residents.
      The first hearing offering videoconferencing takes place Monday, when the Committee on Education meets at 1:15 p.m. One bill the committee will consider calls for installation of air conditioning at all public schools by the end of 2019. The bill appropriates $25 million during fiscal year 2014 – 2015 for installation of systems in 20 percent of schools.
      Another bill being considered by the state Legislature calls for both chambers to implement rules to permit residents to present testimony via videoconferencing.
      See capitol.hawaii.gov/videoconf.aspx for requirements and instructions on videoconferencing.
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KA`U’S SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN has introduced a bill at the state Legislature that would establish the Hawai`i Good Agricultural Practices program to be administered by the state Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the program is to develop and support good agricultural practices for Hawai`i farms growing agricultural food products. 
     The program would develop science- and risk-based good agricultural practices that reasonably reduce the potential for on-farm food-borne illness and include, as appropriate, specific considerations and methodologies for farm sizes, practices, techniques, materials, and crops.
      It would also develop and implement programs to educate and train Hawai`i farmers to learn and implement good agricultural practices in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Former HFBF president Dean Okimoto
      The program would provide procedures for voluntary verification of on-farm implementation of good agricultural practices and the subsequent issuance of state compliance certification and develop a consumer information program to teach home practices for treatment and handling of fresh and processed agricultural food products.
      SB2762 calls for the Ag Department to consult as necessary with the Department of Health, the University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and other state and federal agencies to develop and implement the program.
      See capitol.hawaii.gov.
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KA`U RESIDENT CHRIS MANFREDI, who served as Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation vice president and then as acting president with Dean Okimoto’s resignation, has been elected by the statewide Farm Bureau board to become the organization’s new president.
      "Chris is best known for his work kick starting Ka`u Coffee industry and has served as HFB Vice President under two previous administrations and has chaired the Government Affairs Committee for three terms," stated an announcement from the Hawai`i Farm Bureau Executive Director Brian Miyamoto.
      Myrone Murakami, a former HFB President, was elected as vice president. He has been a Farm Bureau member for over three decades and operates an O`ahu farm where he and his family have grown papaya and ti-leaf for more than 30 years.
     Manfredi is a coffee broker and represented the former land owners of Moa`ula and Pear Tree where most of the famous Ka`u Coffee is grown and where his company planned to subdivide the ag land.
      For more information, call 808-848-2074 or email info@hfbf.org.
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HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK that while solar photovoltaic installations in Hawai`i continued growing at a strong pace in 2013, the pace of rooftop solar growth slowed in the last quarter because an increasing number of distribution level circuits have rooftop PV capacity exceeding 100 percent of the daytime minimum load. HECO said this measure is the trigger for interconnection studies and possible implementation of safety measures or upgrades before new PV systems on that circuit can be interconnected to the grid. A total of 17,609 solar installations with more than 129 megawatts capacity were added to the Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai`i Electric Light Company grids in 2013, or 39 percent more than was added in 2012. 
      According to HECO, the total number of solar photovoltaic systems interconnected on the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ grids as of Dec. 31, 2013 was 40,159 with a total capacity of 300 megawatts. Of those installations, 96 percent take advantage of net energy metering, a program that began in 2001 to encourage adoption of rooftop solar. With net energy metering, customers with rooftop solar receive full retail credit for electricity they generate and send to the utility grid. They use that credit to offset the electricity they take from the grid when solar power does not meet their needs at night or on cloudy days.
      “Our first priority is the safety and reliability of service to all our customers,” said Jim Alberts, HECO’s senior vice president for customer service. “At the same time, we remain committed to a strong, sustainable solar industry in Hawai`i. We continue to approve new solar systems for interconnection daily, and we are working to find ways to add more solar power, including on circuits that already have large amounts of PV installed.”
Sierra Club of Hawai`i disagrees with HECO's
statement regarding solar.
      Robert Harris, director of the Sierra Club of Hawai`i, took issue with the perspective in HECO’s statement. “Ever since HECO started eliminating access to the grid, the permits for photovoltaic projects issued on O`ahu in December fell to 1,140 from 1,925 issued in the same month of 2012,” he said. “In November, 1,040 permits were issued, a 48 percent drop from the 1,996 permits one year earlier. In October, 1,246 permits were issued, down 49 percent from a high of 2,433 a year earlier. How does this constitute strong growth?”
      Harris also referred to an announcement from the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism that the trend is continuing in 2014 with year‐to‐date residential rooftop solar permits down to 340 in the first three weeks of January, a “32.1 percent decrease from the previous year.”
      “HECO is afraid its outdated business model and decades of comfortable state-guaranteed profits are under assault,” Harris said. “So last September it slammed the brakes with an arbitrary claim that its circuits are saturated with rooftop solar. This fact – if true – should have been foreseen and prepared for. HECO claims to support solar, but its actions do not reflect its words."
      Harris referred to two bills being considered at the state Legislature that call for the utility to build a smart, modern grid capable of absorbing power that all individual homeowners and renters of all income levels can generate on their roofs. “We hope this will be an occasion where HECO’s words and actions will match. HECO should support these legislative efforts. It’s an opportunity for HECO to better service its customers as well as grow its profits,” Harris said.
      On O`ahu, more than 10 percent of HECO’s customers now have rooftop solar. On Hawai`i Island, seven percent of Hawai`i Electric Light Co. customers have rooftop solar.
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ARSITY basketball team won its second game in a row yesterday, beating Hilo 59
 - 53. Titan Ault was high scorer with 20 points. Varsity
 lost 46 – 70. 
Larry-Dan Al-Navarro
 scored 14 points. 
      The teams host Pahoa Monday.

IN OTHER KA`U HIGH SPORTS TODAY, swimmers are in Hilo and wrestlers are in Pahoa. Girls basketball teams host Laupahoehoe at 6 p.m.

A GUIDED HIKE AT KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow focuses on the area’s human history. The guided, 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hike covers rugged terrain. It begins at 9:30 a.m. and lasts three hours. 

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

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