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 31, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015

Last night was Senior Night for Ka`u High boys soccer team, seniors' final opportunity to play on their home field. Photo by Dave Berry
A COMMUNITY-BASED ERADICATION EFFORT for Little Fire Ants in Na`alehu will be held on Thursday, Feb. 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The formal presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.
      The Hawai`i Ant Lab reminds residents that “Little Fire Ants are ubiquitous and well-established on the windward side of the Big Island of Hawai‘i.” Scattered populations live along the west coast from Kailua-Kona to Captain Cook, and a small, isolated outbreak has been detected in Na`alehu. “This approximately 6.4 acre infestation is an ideal candidate for spot-eradication because the community is small and geographically separate from other infested areas. The infested area includes several private homes, a portion of Na`alehu Park, the 76 Gas Station, commercial properties and the Ka`u Family Health Center,” the statement said.
Little Fire Ants, recently detected in Na`alehu, are considered one of the world's
worst invasive species. Photo from Hawai`i Department of Agriculture
      The county Department of Parks & Recreation is treating Na`alehu Community Park. “In order to get rid of this invasive ant species, the community needs to treat on their private properties also,” warned the Fire Ant Lab. The Hawai‘i Ant Lab, Big Island Invasive Species Committee and The Nature Conservancy are teaming up to train the Na`alehu community on treatment methods. The project team will work in collaboration with the community to engage the community, garner broad support and cooperation; develop a community action plan that includes treatment, monitoring and ongoing quarantine procedures; develop and deliver training, supplies and provide technical input; and monitor outcomes, report and promote as a demonstration to other communities.
      “In order for the community-based eradication to be a success, it is vital that everyone in the community participate in treatment efforts. If you are not within the treatment area, we still encourage your participation at the Public Informational Meeting and vigilance for new introductions of Little Fire Ants,” the Ant Lab statement recommended.
      For more information, contact Hawai`i Ant Lab, 16 East Lanikaula Street, Hilo, HI 96720. Call 315-5656 or email heather.forester@littlefireants.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Jim Alberts, of HECO
HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANIES, INCLUDING Hawai`i Electric Light Company, are launching Integrated Interconnection Queues, an online tool allowing customers and developers to see the status and progress of planned renewable generation projects, including customer-sited rooftop solar as well as mid-sized and utility-scale wind and solar projects. 
      The IIQ for each company will show an application’s status relative to other projects proposed on the neighborhood circuit and on the islandwide electrical system. The list includes projects at every stage of the interconnection process, including applications approved for interconnection but not yet installed by the customer.
      “Hawai`i is experiencing unprecedented growth in rooftop solar and utility-scale solar, wind and other renewable generation,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “We know we need an improved interconnection process – we owe it to our customers. The goal for this Integrated Interconnection Queues is to provide fair and equitable treatment for all non-utility energy providers, including homeowners and developers.”
      Previously, an applicant or developer had no way to know where a project stood in line. The IIQ includes Net Energy Metering, Feed-in Tariff, Standard Interconnection Agreement, Schedule Q and Purchase Power Agreements that seek to interconnect on the distribution (also called “neighborhood circuit”) level.
      Information will be updated monthly. A project’s position in the queue will change as applicants progress through the review process and others move in and out of the IIQ.
      Complete instructions, including FAQs, are available at www.hawaiielectriclight.com/IIQ.
      Earlier this month, HECO proposed to the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission a plan to increase distributed generation, primarily residential rooftop solar, in a way it contended is safe, sustainable and fair for all customers. The proposal is part of the utility’s plan to triple the amount of distributed solar power and increase renewable energy to more than 65 percent by 2030. 
      At the end of Oct. 2014, Hawaiian Electric announced a plan to clear the backlog of residential rooftop solar projects awaiting approval as of that date, provided those projects meet certain technical standards. The plan is to process 90 percent of those projects by April 2015 and the remainder, which may require additional circuit upgrades, by December 2015.
      For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/nem.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Brian Schatz
U.S. SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ HAS BEEN NAMED to serve on five key Senate Appropriations Subcommittees: Defense; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and Legislative Branch. 
      “I am grateful to Chairman Cochran and Vice Chairwoman Mikulski for the opportunity to help shape the Department of Defense’s priorities, especially as it relates to the Asia-Pacific region,” Schatz said. “These are challenging times, and we operate in a difficult budget environment, but this puts me in a position to help Hawai`i move forward.”

      On the Subcommittee on Defense, Schatz will have an opportunity to ensure that DoD is aligning its limited resources appropriately to support national defense needs, including protecting critical military capabilities in Hawai`i. In addition, the subcommittee presents an opportunity to help DoD identify opportunities to accomplish its objectives by working with partners and allies; and supporting DoD’s investments in nontraditional defense programs – such as alternative energy, climate resilience and infectious diseases research – that will pay dividends to national defense in the future.

      As a member of the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, Schatz has an opportunity to demonstrate that development of training ranges and other essential military facilities can be done in balance with local cultural and environmental needs, all while ensuring obligations to support veterans who have made sacrifices to the nation.

      Hawai`i’s representation on the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee is valuable in sustaining past gains and continuing to address the significant education and health disparities faced by the Native Hawaiian community, given the geographical, cultural and financial barriers that prevent Native Hawaiians from accessing existing health services. It will also help represent the needs of rural and low-income communities as well as underserved populations living in island communities and isolated parts of the country.
      Hawai`i depends on federal transportation funding to build and maintain the infrastructure it needs to grow the economy and connect its communities. With the Department of Transportation’s help, Hawai`i will complete the state’s first light rail project, invest in needed highway improvements, provide access to goods with port improvements and make communities more walkable.
Today is Afternoon Jazz at Pahala Plantation House.
      Agencies and offices that provide for safety and functionality for those who work within and visit the United States Capitol Complex are funded in the Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. Offices such as the United States Capitol Police and Senate Sergeant at Arms oversee and execute safety functions, while agencies like the Library of Congress, Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office facilitate the work of the legislative branch and provide public access to the documents elected officials use every day to help inform decisions in their official capacity.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

MUSICIANS COME TO PAHALA TODAY for Afternoon Jazz at Pahala Plantation House today from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The fundraiser for the Brass Band Afterschool Project at Ka`u Middle School is supported by Volcano Art Center. Musicians include Jr. Volcano Choy on trumpet, Brian McCree on acoustic bass, Bruce David on drums and vocalist Betsy Curtis. Keoki Kahumoku and the Ka`u youth `ukulele players will also perform.
      Suggested donation is $15.

KA`U HIGH’S BOYS SOCCER TEAM CELEBRATED Senior Night yesterday, hosting Parker. The close match ended with a score of Ka`u 3, Parker 4.
      David Pillette scores two goals, and Thanachit Khofaklang 
scored one for the Trojans.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Jan. 30, 2015

Hawai`i Wildlife Fund held its first Ka`u Coast Cleanup of 2015 last Friday with 161 participants. Photo from HWF
CUSTOMERS COULD SAVE NEARLY $60 MILLION if the acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. by NextEra Energy is approved, according to the companies’ joint application filed with the Public Utilities Commission yesterday. The $4.3 billion deal between Hawai`i’s largest utility and the Florida company is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.
      The companies expect benefits from improved financial standing, strong vendor relationships and economies of scale, and technical expertise.
      The applicants also say they will not request an increase in general base rates for at least four years following transaction close. They affirm commitments to continue operating under current name and retain headquarters in Honolulu. “Hawaiian Electric will continue to be locally managed, with no involuntary workforce reductions for at least two years post close,” the application states. The companies also expect to maintain HECO’s overall current level of corporate giving.
      “Hawaiian Electric stands at the forefront in addressing a vast array of complex issues associated with Hawai`i’s clean energy transformation,” the application states. “By combining with NextEra Energy, Hawaiian Electric will gain a leading-edge partner, with deep operational, technical and managerial expertise, financial capacity and a proven clean energy track record. The proposed combination is expected to provide Hawaiian Electric with the added capacity, resources and access to expertise to strengthen and accelerate Hawai`i’s transition to a more affordable, equitable and inclusive clean energy future, while delivering substantial customer benefits, including lower costs and improved reliability over time.”
HECO would retain its name if the NextEra purchase goes through.
      “The filing of this application begins an important review process that we believe will ultimately result in a more affordable clean energy future for Hawai`i,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawai`i, LLC. “We share Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawai`i’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills, and we believe our combination will help to accelerate Hawai`i’s clean energy transformation. … As we move forward, our focus will be on applying our expertise and resources, alongside Hawaiian Electric’s, to bring significant benefits, savings and value to Hawaiian Electric customers and to create the clean energy future we all want for Hawai`i.” 
      Alan Oshima, HECO’s president and chief executive officer, said “As the filing outlines, joining with NextEra Energy provides Hawaiian Electric with the unique opportunity to strengthen and accelerate our clean energy transformation.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LIFE OF THE LAND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Henry Curtis filed a motion to participate in the Public Utilities Commission’s examination of NextEra Energy’s acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co.
      “The HECO-NextEra deal is more than just changing the ownership of the HECO Companies,” Curtis said. “It is also about the Game Plan and the speed of transition to some future. The issues include ratepayer bills, reliability, smart grids, interisland cables and liquefied natural gas.
      “Life of the Land intervened in the proceeding to protect our people, our environment and our cultural resources.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Prof. Donald Thomas
Photo from UH
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I RESEARCHERS have discovered a large fresh water supply on the Big Island. In March 2013, researchers from the UH-Manoa and UH-Hilo began drilling at 6,400 feet above sea level between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in the saddle region of the Big Island. 
      UH-Manoa professor Donald Thomas is leading the effort, called the Humu`ula Saddle Hydrologic Study Project. What they discovered seven months later may radically change conventional wisdom regarding the state’s most valuable resource: fresh water.
      “The conventional model that we worked with for years and years is that we have a relatively thin basal fresh water lens, is what we call it,” said Thomas, the director of the Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes. “A layer of fresh water saturated rock that rises very slowly as we move inland.”
      According to that conventional model developed decades ago, the research team should have had to drill for 5,900 feet to 500 feet above sea level before reaching the Big Island’s fresh water supply.
      “We found something just completely different,” Thomas said. “The stable water table in the saddle is not 500 feet above sea level. It’s more like 4,500 feet above sea level. So we are almost 10 times higher than we could have expected when we started out on the project.”
      Geologists have long thought that only a small fraction of rainwater is stored in the islands because the geological makeup of Hawai`i is volcanic and porous.
Pohakuloa Training Area currently trucks water to the site. Photo from UH
      “With our findings here, it looks as though the islands really act as huge containers,” Thomas said. “What we really need to do is go back and look again, using modern geophysical methods, to really define the ground water systems within all of the islands,” said Thomas.
      The next step for the Humu`ula Saddle Hydrologic Study Project is a second drill site six miles from the first to measure the extent of the groundwater discovered. If that test well proves successful, it will also provide strong support for high-level water beneath a large tract of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property on the eastern side of the Humu`ula Saddle where their lessees have long needed a reliable source of water for ranching operations.
      The United States Army is funding the project in hopes of finding water for its Pohakuloa Training Area, where the first drill site is located. Currently, the Army spends $1.5 million each year trucking fresh water to the training camp for use by troops and support staff.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

VOLUNTEERS COLLECTED MORE THAN 1,700 pounds of marine debris from the Ka`u Coast last Friday, Jan. 23. Debris collected by 161 participants included 125 pounds of derelict fishing nets and line and 1,263 cigarette butts.
      Hawai`i Wildlife Fund, Kona Brewing Co. and Sustainable Coastlines Hawai`i sponsored the event.
      The next Ka`u Coast Cleanup is Feb. 7. Volunteers can sign up with Hawai`i Wildlife Fund coordinator Megan Lamson at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com or 769-7629.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUB FAMILY NIGHT with dinner is once a month at Pahala Community Center, where 45 children attend the afterschool program. During last night’s session, islandwide Chief Professional Officer Zavi Brees-Saunders said Boys & Girls Club aims to help children do well in school, continue with education, give to the community and live healthy lifestyles. Exercise and nutrition are part of the program.
Brees-Saunders thanked Pāhala Club Director Dolly Kailiawa for her ability to be creative and skillful in managing and mentoring children.
      Brees-Saunders noted that it costs $4,000 per year per child to operate the club. Parents pay $10 a year. She said the staff and board of directors are applying for grants and need donations. Punalu‘u Bake Shop recently donated $500. Local businesses and other community members who want to donate can call Ka‘ū board of directors member Julia Neal at 928-9811 or Saunders at 961-5536.
      Funding can be available from various agencies, Brees-Saunders said. From one source of funding, when a club is 60 percent native Hawaiian, a club can receive extra funds. Serving low-income families can also draw funding, she explained, but families have to help with documentation.
      To sign up a child, call Kailiawa at 756-5285.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U HIGH’S BOY BASKETBALL TEAMS hosted Kea`au yesterday. Both teams lost to the visitors. Scores were 37-46 for junior varsity and 46-63 for varsity. Ka`u’s high scorers were Kaliikupapalani Aipia-Dolan with 15 points and Brian Gascon with 14. 
      Next week, the teams travel to Kamehameha on Wednesday.

AFTERNOON JAZZ AT PAHALA PLANTATION HOUSE tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. is a fundraiser for the Brass Band Afterschool Project at Ka`u Middle School supported by Volcano Art Center. Musicians include Jr. Volcano Choy on trumpet, Brian McCree on acoustic bass, Bruce David on drums and vocalist Betsy Curtis. Keoki Kahumoku and the Ka`u youth `ukulele players will also perform.
      Suggested donation is $15.

THE FIRST OF THREE SANCTUARY OCEAN COUNTS of humpback whales takes place tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Local sites include Ka`ena Point in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Punalu`u Black Sand Beach Park, Ka Lae Park and Miloli`i Lookout.
      Interested volunteers may register online at http://sanctuaryoceancount.org.

DURING STEWARDSHIP AT THE SUMMIT tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., volunteers help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park trails. Free; park entrance fees apply.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015

This year's first Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales along the Ka`u Coast takes place Saturday. Photo from fish-journal.com
HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC CO. AND NEXTERA ENERGY submit their acquisition application to Hawai`i’s Public Utilities Commission today. The $4.3 billion deal between Hawai`i’s largest utility and the Florida giant is expected to close later this year. 
      Executives from the companies met with lawmakers during a legislative hearing at the state Capitol yesterday. Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News, said NextEra’s Eric Gleason told them the company’s strengths are helping HECO integrate renewable sources “better, faster and cheaper. … We have solutions applicable to Hawai`i and to Florida, and we support HECO’s goals.”
      “Everything we have will be revealed in the PUC process,” Gleason said. “In terms of long-term detailed business plans, that’s the plan HECO filed (with the PUC) in August.”
      According to Shimogawa, HECO’s Alan Oshima said NextEra’s benefits to Hawai`i include access to capital, utilization of new technologies and a proven track record in energy, which could accelerate HECO’s clean energy transformation.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaualendar.

Kalu Oyama, second from left, continues this year as FoodCorps Hawai`i
service member at Na`alehu School. Photo by Nalani Parlin
KALU OYAMA CONTINUES AS FOODCORPS HAWAI`I service member at Na`alehu School for its second year. 
      Food Corps Hawai`i program is committed to building garden-based nutritional education programs and expanding connections between hands-on learning and core curriculum to help students adopt healthier lifestyles, improve academic performance and obtain real-life learning experiences about sustainability and eco-literacy. The Kohala Center serves as the host site for the state of Hawaii’s FoodCorps program.
      Service members expand hands-on nutrition education programs, build and tend school gardens and help bring high quality, locally produced foods into schools.
      According to FoodCorps, when these three pillars of its approach are implemented together, there are changes in children’s attitudes toward consumption of healthy food.
      Applications for the 2015-2016 cohort of Hawai`i FoodCorps service members are available through March 30 on the FoodCorps website, foodcorps.org.
      See kohalacenter.org.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaualendar.

SHIPPING CONTAINER HUTS: The Associated Press reports that “on the Big Island, housing officials are considering building micro-units made from shipping containers. They’re planning to get seven shipping containers that are each 40 feet long and divide each into four units, said housing administrator Stephen Arnett. “Those units would be set aside for people with mental health or other problems,” he said.
Hawai`i housing administrator Stephen Arnett said shipping containers will be
used as housing units. Photo from dcengines.com
     The report was carried in an AP story on a housing briefing at the state Legislature yesterday.
      Department of Hawaiian Homelands Director Jobie Masagatani told legislators the department broke ground on more than 450 lots statewide in the past two years, according to AP reporter Caty Bussewitz. It has a wait list of about 26,000 people. “The biggest concern for me is our kupuna who are on our waiting list,” Masagatani said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaualendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO TODAY INTRODUCED the Providing Resources Early for Kids Act, legislation to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The PRE-K Act helps more kids arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed by establishing a federal-state partnerships that incentivizes states to both improve the quality of state preschool programs and expand to serve more children in need.
      “The investments we make in our youngest keiki are paid back in full by enhancing our nation’s competitiveness in our global economy,” Hirono said. “Hawai`i educators have told me that many kids start kindergarten already behind. Our children deserve the best chance to succeed and our educators need all the tools we can give them to put students on track to being lifelong learners. That’s why, beginning when I was Hawai`i’s Lieutenant Governor 20 years ago, I have been committed to quality early learning to help kids start kindergarten ready to succeed. Where you live should not determine what chance you get in life, and this bill will ensure states like Hawaii can create effective, quality state preschool programs. This bill focuses on quality because it is what makes the biggest difference in educational outcomes. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate and moving this bill forward.”
      Sen. Brian Schatz co-sponsored the bill. “Every child deserves the best education possible. But in Hawai`i and across the country, too many children are unprepared for school simply because states don’t have the resources to invest in early education programs,” he said. “Our legislation would help states like Hawai‘i establish new, high-quality early education programs that give children a better shot at success in school and in life.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaualendar.

Tickets are available for next month's fundraiser for Ka`u Lions Pop Warner
Football Association. Photo by Nalani Parlin
KA`U LIONS POP WARNER FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION holds a spaghetti dinner fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 20 at Na`alehu Community Center. Tickets are $7. Funds will help pay for the many fees, insurance and expenses associated with Pop Warner programs. 
      Newly elected Board members of Ka`u Lions Pop Warner Football Association are excited to start the season this year. Nominations and elections were held at the association’s season ending banquet held in December. Elected members are President Kai Manini; Vice President and Web Master Shellen Hashimoto, Secretary Nona Makuakane, Treasurer and Medical Director Tammy Kaawa, Fundraising Chair Betty-Ann Beck, Football Commissioner Devin “Bully” Breithaupt, Roster Software Contact and Scholastics Commissioner Helena Carvalho, Travel and Media Coordinator Jolie Kekoa Burgos, Equipment and Uniform Manager Kolina Paaluhi, Parent Coordinator Mona Santana, Concessions Coordinator Kuulei Ka-ne, Field Commissioner Buck Kala and Awards Banquet Coordinator Sasha Kaupu.
      Board members met in January and want to start registrations early before school lets out for the summer to get a head start on the season. They are also seeking assistance from volunteers to be coaches. All coaches are required to attend a mandatory workshop in the summer in order to be on the field during the season.
      Secretary Nona Makuakane noted that Big Island Pop Warner Football Conference might be making a change in team divisions for the upcoming season. Instead of a Midget Division, which targets ages 12-14 (105-170 lbs) and students 15 years old (between 105-140 lbs), the conference will have Jr. Midgets, ages 10-12 (90-140 lbs) and age 13 (90-120 lbs). They may also add an Unlimited Division for ages 11 to 14 weighing 105 lbs and above.
      “All board members agree that the main focus of the association is for the kids of Ka`u,” Makuakane said, “but we also need the support of the community.” Anyone wanting to purchase spaghetti dinner tickets or make a donation can call Fundraising Chair Betty Ann Beck at 315-5702. To assist by volunteering as a coach, call Football Commissioner Bully Breithaupt at 339-1097 or call Association President Kai Manini at 640-8409. Contact any board member with questions or if interested to provide any other kinds of assistance.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaualendar.

Whales are counted Saturday at Punalu`u and other area shorelines.
Photo from Susan Field
VOLUNTEERS CAN STILL SIGN UP for Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary’s 2015 Sanctuary Ocean Count. The first of three counts is set for this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 
      Volunteers count whales and record their behaviors from over 60 shore sites on the islands of O`ahu, Kaua`i and Hawai`i. Local sites include Ka`ena Point in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Punalu`u Black Sand Beach Park, Ka Lae Park and Miloli`i Lookout.
      The project allows the public to learn more about humpback whale population, distribution and behavioral trends while being involved in a volunteer monitoring effort.
      More Sanctuary Ocean Counts will be held on Saturdays, Feb. 28 and March 28 at selected sites.
      Interested volunteers may register online at http://sanctuaryoceancount.org.

VOLUNTEERS MEET AT KILAUEA VISITOR CENTER to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park trails Saturday at 9 a.m. Stewardship at the Summit is an ongoing program. Free; park entrance fees apply.

AFTERNOON JAZZ AT PAHALA PLANTATION HOUSE is Saturday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The outdoor concert is a fundraiser for the Brass Band Afterschool Project at Ka`u Middle School supported by Volcano Art Center. Musicians include Jr. Volcano Choy on trumpet, Brian McCree on acoustic bass, Bruce David on drums and vocalist Betsy Curtis. Keoki Kahumoku and the Ka`u youth `ukulele players will also perform.


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015

West Hawai`i Coastal areas, including the Ka`u Coast and Ka`ohe Bay, north of Miloli`i, are seeing larger populations of fish harvested for the aquarium trade. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U COFFEE BUYERS, who said they spent more than $940,000 with local farmers this season, told the Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative last night that they will need more coffee in the future as they expand their marketing. Arturo Romero, of Houston, TX, and Francisco Lobos, of 0cean View, said they want to work with the cooperative so that farmers receive top prices. Francisco said the hui has been paying the farmers $12 a pound for parchment and $1.75 a pound for cherry.
Francisco Lobos, at left, and Arturo Romero with Ka`u Coffee
Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “The name is out there how good Ka`u is,” said Romero. He encouraged Ka`u farmers to allow his marketing to use the cooperative’s name. “Doing business with cooperatives is received well by companies,” he said. He promised fair pricing and noted that it took years to establish fair pricing for farmers in El Salvador, his native country.
      Romero said he wants to help Ka`u farmers with fighting the coffee berry borer, a fertilizer program, providing labor for picking season and establishing a coffee receiving place. He said a decaffeinated Ka`u Coffee will be developed along with acquisition of various packaging machinery for K-cups, filter packs and aluminum packs.
      “By next harvest, we will be able to pay more for the coffee,” he said. He contended that there are moral principals behind his business practices. “If we do good, these benefits are not only for the corporation. They are for everyone to win. The key is to be win-win, to serve you good to make long lasting relationships,” Romero told Ka`u Coffee farmers.
      While pure Ka`u Coffee will be sold, he said the lead product will be a Ka`u Hawai`i blend to achieve the broadest market. He said the company name is Bio Eco Hawai`i, Inc., and it does import Latin American coffee to blend with Ka`u. He said his group is working on a blend that would be more than 10 percent Ka`u Coffee to bring a higher price. 
         Ka`u Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba said the cooperative will consider the proposals from Romero and Lobos. She said the farmers have been selling to Lobos for years.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Yellow tang populations are increasing along Ka`u and other
West Hawai`i coastlines. Photo from wikipedia
WEST HAWAI`I REGIONAL FISHERY Management Area, which stretches from South Point to Upolo Point in Kohala, is experiencing higher populations of fish commonly harvested for aquarium trade. Fifteen years after creation of fish replenishment areas, the number of yellow tangs has increased 64.5 percent in the areas where aquarium collecting is not allowed and 58 percent in waters from 30 to 60 feet deep along West Hawai`i’s coast, according to Bret Yager, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. Hawai`i Division of Aquatic resources biologist Bill Walsh estimates 3.6 million tang now live along the coast.
      The population of kole tang, the second most popular aquarium fish, has also increased 49 percent since 1999, when conservation measures were put in place. The number is now estimated at 6.5 million.
      The data is based on 16 years of surveys and monitoring by West Hawai`i Aquarium Project and related efforts.
      “The FRAs work,” Susan Kellam, founder of the reef protection group Friends of Pebble Beach, told Yager. “Thirty-five percent of the coastline is now protected. I think the spillover effect from them is clear science as well. If you go to O`ahu or Maui to snorkel, those fish are gone.”
      The story says that, according to Walsh, total catch in West Hawai`i's aquarium fishery has grown 22 percent.
      Tina Owens, one of three chairpersons of West Hawai`i Fishery Council, told Yager the increases prove that regulatory efforts are working. “This shows we’re on the right track,” she said. “It validates everything we’ve been working on.” 
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Chris Kanazawa
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE is soliciting applications for Fiscal Year 2015 Community Connect Program grants. The grants provide funds to establish essential broadband services in rural communities where it is currently unavailable. “The Community Connect program serves rural communities where broadband service is least likely to be available, but where it can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for citizens of the state of Hawai`i and the Territory of American Samoa,” USDA Rural Development state Director Chris Kanazawa said. “This grant can assist rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the Internet.” 
      Applicants eligible to apply include state, county, city or township, Native American tribal governments, nonprofits, for-profits and small businesses.
      The minimum amount of grants awarded will be $100,000; the maximum is $3,000,000. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Feb. 17, 2015. Last year, USDA announced new rules to better target Community Connect grants to areas where they are needed the most.
Grant funds can be used to construct, acquire or lease facilities to deploy broadband to community facilities such as schools and public safety locations, as well as residences and businesses in the community.
      “The Community Connect grant can be made available to bring the benefits of broadband, including new educational, business and public health and safety opportunities, to residents living in some of the remote parts of Hawai`i and American Samoa,” said Thao Khamoui, Area Director.
      More information on the Community Connect grant is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/utp_commconnect.html.

Randy Iwase
HEARING ALL POINTS OF VIEW IS A PRIORITY for Randy Iwase, who Gov. David Ige recently nominated as chair of Hawai`i’s Public Utilities Commission. “We will be quite open to allowing a variety of people and points of views to come in and intervene, whatever that may be,” Iwase told Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News. He also said that the PUC will make decisions after public comments are received and all the questions are answered.
      Iwase said NextEra’s $4.3 billion acquisition of HECO has to be in the best interest of “not just the parties and the people of the state, but also by the policy set by the Legislature.
      “We are going to do our best to get there,” Iwase said. “I’m sure there will be a few who will disagree, but we will do our best.”
      Iwase said the PUC’s strategy in the NextEra-HECO case is to give parties “opportunities to intervene and present different perspectives, as well as raise questions about the case.”
      In addition to NextEra Energy’s the NextEra-HECO case Iwase said other top cases for the PUC are liquefied natural gas and organizing the state agency, which currently has a staff of 40 people, with 10 vacancies and another 15 funded positions. “The staff I've met are very dedicated, very smart and very committed,” Iwase told Shimogawa. “Not just to the state, but to the energy goals.”
      See bizjournals.com/pacific
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KA`U HIGH BOYS BASKETBALL TEAMS fell to Kona yesterday on their home court. Junior varsity score was 32 – 63, with Jacob Flores scoring the most points, 12. 
      Varsity players Damon Hertz scored 11 points, and Brian Gascon scored 10 of Ka`u’s 43 points. Kona came up with 77 points.
      The teams play again tomorrow, hosting Kea`au.
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AN AFTERSCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAM at Ka`u Middle School is the goal of Volcano Art Center and Volcano Choy. The school has a band room full of instruments that have not been used for years due to budget cuts. Through a grant to VAC from Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, Volcano Choy will begin teaching afterschool music classes this winter and spring. A jazz concert will be held on Saturday at Pahala Plantation House to help raise funds for restoration of the brass and woodwind instruments, to buy sheet music and cover other costs of this music program. The outdoor concert will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., with food and drinks available for purchase. Suggested donation is $15. Attendees are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.
      Donations to support this music program may also be made directly to VAC. Call 967-8222.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015

In his first State of the State address yesterday, Gov. David Ige acknowledged the important role public hospitals,
 like Ka`u Hospital, play in an island state. Photo by Julia Neal
CHALLENGES FACED BY KA`U and other rural communities of Hawai`i were part of Gov. David Ige’s State of the State address yesterday.
      Building a strong support network for agriculture is one of Gov. David Ige’s priorities, he said. “We need to support agriculture and help our local farmers dramatically increase the amount of food we grow locally,” he said. “Hawai`i grows about 10 to 15 percent of the total foods residents consume. If we are to become a sustainable society, we must increase those numbers.”
      Ige cited the cost of importing foods as more than $3 billion leaving the state annually. “If we replace just 10 percent of imports with locally grown food, it would generate $188 million in total sales, $94 million for farmers, $47 million in wages, $6 million in new taxes and 2,300 jobs,” he said.
Gov. David Ige during his first
State of the State address.
Image from Olelo
      To promote ag, Ige wants to preserve farm lands, develop agricultural parks, combat invasive species and “reassess areas that determine whether a local farmer can survive.
      “We will be meeting with farmers from each island to hear what they need to make Hawai`i more self-sufficient.” He said Department of Agriculture Director Scott Enright will spearhead that effort.
      Ige said that as a start to promoting more ag, the state is adding $5 million to the agriculture loan program and expanding use of the fund to include biosecurity and food safety needs.
      Ige acknowledged the important role public hospitals like Ka`u Hospital play in an island state. “Unlike other states, good healthcare is not easily distributed throughout the islands,” he said. “Our families and doctors cannot simply drive to another hospital if one is busy or does not have the services they need. … That’s especially true on our neighbor islands where they’re often the only provider of acute care.”
      Ige sees potential in public-private partnerships for hospitals which are faced with financial deficits, “but only if they are shaped in the right way. But no matter our direction, changing how we operate our hospitals to meet changing needs will be key to any long-term solution.”
      Energy self-sufficiency is another of Ige’s priorities. “Importing fossil fuel remains one of our greatest weaknesses, and we simply must move to reduce our dependence on it,” he said. “We have the locally generated resources that can allow us to be self-sufficient.
      “In addition, we will be restructuring and staffing the Public Utilities Commission to give it the expertise and resources needed to deal with its due diligence. I will also be assigning a special counsel to protect the public’s interest for the short and long term.”
      Ige said he plans to empower schools by giving those closest to children authority and resources to take action. “As Governor, I will appoint members to the Board of Education who embrace school empowerment of our principals and teachers as the key to ensure student success,” he said. “I challenge the leaders of public education to stop issuing mandates from the state office and to focus on empowering schools and delivering resources to the school level."
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Mayor Billy Kenoi addressed legislators
at the state Capitol yesterday.
Image from Olelo
MAYOR BILLY KENOI THANKED STATE LEGISLATORS yesterday for their support and contributions to Hawai`i County. “If we make it a good place to live, then it will continue to be a wonderful place to visit,” Kenoi said. Kenoi acknowledged the state’s support of University of Hawai`i – Hilo, the county’s largest employer. Funding of almost $100 million for construction of several buildings, including the College of Pharmacy, came through the Legislature. 
      He also thanked the state for help with recent natural disasters, including hurricanes and tsunami threats, and the current, ongoing lava flow near Pahoa in Puna.
      Requests Kenoi made focused on Puna. He asked legislators to pass legislation requiring insurance companies to renew homeowners policies. “It doesn’t seem right that somebody who pays their policy for a long period of time is all of a sudden told, ‘Oh, sorry, we’re not renewing your policy anymore.’”
      Kenoi also asked for continued support of improvements of state Hwy 130 in Puna and increases in reliability of Civil Defense sirens.
      Kenoi also asked that legislators support Kona Airport’s redesignation as an international entry point to boost economic development for the entire island.
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U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD IS JOINING other congressional leaders and members of the startup community in convening the new Diversifying Technology Caucus. This bipartisan, bicameral caucus will work to increase representation of women, minorities and veterans in the tech sector, and the ability of these groups to access good jobs that this industry creates.
      Right now only one in 14 technical employees in Silicon Valley is African-American or Hispanic. Women currently represent fewer than 13 percent of employed engineers and hold fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs. And just three percent of all startups are founded by women.
      Congress will call attention to these challenges, highlighting existing best practices, driving a public conversation and designing initiatives that support and promote diversity. The Diversifying Tech Caucus will be a partnership between policy makers, industry and academia to organize, advocate and create awareness about underrepresented groups and develop strategies for improving access and engagement. Industry and academic leaders will also work together to undertake research that legislators can use to elevate the issue and help develop solutions.
      “So many of our returning veterans have skills that would make them a real asset to tech companies, and others who have the entrepreneurial spirit to launch ventures of their own,” Gabbard said. “But so far veterans remain underrepresented in the tech community, along with women and minorities. Working with Engine, I'm proud to serve as co-chair of this caucus as we bring people together to find innovative solutions to the many challenges we face.”
Ka`u High boys soccer team's final home game
of the season and Senior Night is Friday, Jan. 30.
Photo by Taylor's Treasures Photography
      The Diversifying Tech Caucus will hold initial meetings to set a formal agenda, which will include goals such as proposing creative solutions to address obstacles to diversity in the tech industry; bringing together researchers and academics to conduct in-depth research on diversity issues; forming targeted working groups on specific Diversifying Tech issues such as #WomenStartups, #ClosingtheGap, #DiversityinTech, and #STEMEducation; holding briefings, roundtables, media events and training and networking sessions around the country to bring together policymakers and tech community representatives; and forming a Hill Staff Advisory Council of tech-friendly staffers representing a broad spectrum of Congressional offices.
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SENIOR NIGHT FOR KA`U HIGH BOYS SOCCER team is Friday, Jan. 30 at 3 p.m., hosting Parker. The game was originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 31.

SPECIAL OLYMPICS EAST HAWAI`I is sending Ka`u to competitions around the island and the state. Special Olympic athletes are selling $9 tickets for teri beef plates through Feb. 14. Call athlete Cindy Hickman at 670-6879 or organizer Lori Nakashima at 938-5144. 

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I – HILO GEOLOGISTS Ken Hon and Cheryl Gansecki discuss Pahoehoe Lava: the Ebb and Flow of Molten Rock at After Dark in the Park today at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      The two have spent decades studying and filming behavior of pahoehoe lava and will use time-lapse and recent videos to explain how and why these flows advance, stall and inflate.
      This free program is part of Volcano Awareness Month.
      Park entrance fees apply.

Students are eager to work with Jr. Volcano Choy at a new music program
for Ka`u Middle School. Photo by Julia Neal
ALL THAT JAZZ IN PAHALA is the title of an article in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald about this Saturday’s jazz concert featuring Jr. Volcano Choy at Pahala Plantation House to support a new music program at Ka`u Middle School. 
      The event is sponsored by Volcano Art Center, which has received a grant from Hawai`i State Foundation on Culture & the Arts to bring back band music education to keiki of Ka`u. The afterschool program for beginning brass band will be instructed by Choy, the highly experienced performing artist and educator who lives in Volcano, following a professional performing and recording career on the mainland.
      A Hawai`i native, Choy noted that Ka`u High school’s music building is filled with all the instruments that are part of a full band program. Due to lack of a program, scores of instruments are rusting and non-functional. A statement from Volcano Art Center says, “These instruments need to come alive again. They are trumpets, trombones and more which all need TLC.”
   Those attending are urged to bring a garden chair and the $15 suggested donation.
     For more information and overnight accommodations, call Pahala Plantation Cottages at 928-9811.