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, February 28, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015

The search is on for the next Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Peaberry, with the pageant scheduled for Sunday, April 26. Miss Ka`u Coffee 2014 Amery Silva (back center) and Miss Peaberry Madison Okimoto (front center) join other pageant participants who received education scholarships last year. Photo by Julia Neal
MAYOR BILLY KENOI HAS SUBMITTED HIS BUDGET to the County Council, which has until June 30 to pass it or have it automatically go into effect July 1.
Mayor Billy Kenoi
      “This proposed budget represents our departments’ best efforts to meet the needs of our growing community in a timely and fiscally responsible fashion,” Kenoi said. “Our economy is in a state of gradual recovery. We believe our investments in infrastructure, renewable energy and parks and recreation are critical to the future of Hawai`i Island.”
      The budget keeps taxes and fees at current levels while allotting funds for federal and state mandates. A $1 million increase goes to federal mandates for transportation services for the disable, and a 1.2 million increase funds medical benefits for retired county union members.
      Most of the $17.8 million total increase goes to employee contracts negotiated at by the state. The raises are implemented throughout the system, including over $4 million for police and over $6 million for the Fire Department.
      Estimated income reported in the budget includes $7.4 million in property taxes, $3.1 million from federal and state grants, $1.2 million from charges for services and $3.6 in carryover from the current year.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION will not respond to Hawaiian Electric Company’s request for approval of a lower buy-back rate from customers with rooftop solar systems. Under HECO’s current net energy metering program, customers can use their solar systems to lower their electric bills by selling energy back to the utility.
PUC Chair Randy Iwase
Image from KITV4
      The decision is part of an agreement regarding HECO’s delays in approving applications for grid-connected rooftop systems. HECO claimed in the past that connections had to be stopped based on safety issues. Last month, HECO said it had found that increasing capacity by as much as 250 percent would still be safe.
      PUC Chair Randy Iwase told Brenton Awa, of KITV4 News, that the commission “‘has its hands on HECO’ and reminded the energy giant that it needs to keep its customers ‘best interest’ in mind.” 
      Life of the Land Executive Director Henry Curtis told Awa that the PUC “stepped in and did the right thing.”
      Leslie Cole-Brooks, of Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association, told Awa, “It’s really good news. We should see improvement. These customers that have invested money in our green energy infrastructure should get to move forward.”
      See kitv.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I’S ECONOMY WILL CONTINUE its stable growth in 2015 and beyond, according to the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism’s first quarter 2015 Statistical and Economic Report.
Luis P. Salaveria
      “We are happy to see that our labor market has fully recovered from the 2009 recession, and in 2014 we had an historical high level of civilian labor force, civilian employment and payroll job count. Our unemployment rate was the sixth lowest in the nation,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “2014 was a record year for visitor arrivals as well. With the strong growth in the U.S. economy, we expect our visitor industry to continue to grow in 2015, especially in the U.S. markets.”
      In 2015, the U.S. economy is expected to grow by 3.2 percent, a rate which has not been seen since 2005. This growth will likely encourage more Hawai`i visitation by U.S. visitors, the report states.
      As a result of lower price levels due to slow growth of inflation, consumers are expected to have more purchasing power in 2015, which can be translated into an increase in real income if income as measured by nominal dollars remains unchanged. According to the report, lower inflation is resulting in lower prices for gasoline, apparel, household furnishings and supplies.
      Real personal income is expected to grow by 2.8 percent, and real gross domestic product is expected to grow by 3.1 percent in 2015. This economic growth rate for Hawai`i is similar to the economic growth rate projected for the nation in 2015.
      DBEDT expects healthy economic growth to continue into the future, projected to be at 3.0 percent in 2016 and 2.9 percent in 2017.
      See dbedt.hawaii.gov.

Anjulie Larson, with Chair Lee McIntosh,
won a Chamber scholarship last year.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT APPLICATIONS for Ken Wicks Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Scholarships is Friday, May 1. High school seniors and adults seeking to re-enter the educational system are encouraged to apply. Applicants are asked to write an essay about how their educational experience will benefit Ka`u. Preference will be given to those who intend to remain in or return to Ka`u and live here. 
      Scholarship money can be used for all college and vocational training and will range from $250 to $1,000. Visit kauchamber.org to download the application form. Call Lee McIntosh at 929-9872 with any questions.

THE SEARCH HAS BEGUN for the New Miss Ka`u Coffee. On Sunday, April 26, Miss Ka`u Coffee & Miss Peaberry Pageant will be held at Pahala Community Center. To sign up for the Miss Ka`u Coffee competition, contestants must be 17 to 24 years of age. For Miss Peaberry, contestants must be seven to nine years of age.
      Contenders will display their talents, intelligence and grace in four categories: Talent, Public Speaking, Gown and Sportswear. The pageant involves training in dance, stage performance, fashion, poise and knowledge to celebrate the Ka`u Coffee industry.
      Practices begin a week from tomorrow on Sunday, March 8 at the Old Pahala Clubhouse.
      The Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant also raises scholarship money for the young women and girls.
      To enter, contact chair Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or director Nalani Parlin at 217-6893. Applications are available at www.kaucoffeefest.com.
      To donate to the scholarship fund, contact Julia Neal at 928-9811.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

`O Ka`u Kakou Treasurer June Domondon, President Wayne Kawachi and Ka`u
High Athletic Director Kalei Namohala congratulate St. Joseph's Manato Fukuda
and Ka`u High's Buddy Flores on winning the half-court basket challenge
during Homecoming. Photo from Nalani Parlin
KA`U HIGH’S BUDDY FLORES and St. Joseph’s Manato Fukuda both made challenging half-court shots on Homecoming night held Feb. 13. Since last year, OKK has sponsored a half-court basket contest during basketball season to support Ka`u High’s athletic department. Interested contestants put in their names at select basketball games, and participants are drawn to compete. For each shot made, OKK donates $500 to Ka`u High Athletic Boosters Club to be used to support expenses for any Trojan sporting team. Both winners also won $20 Wal-Mart gift certificates. 
      Principal Sharon Beck was also put to the half-court test but did not make the shot. However, as she exited the court, she threw an over-hand shot and made the basket much to the surprise of the crowd.
      June Domondon said the coincidence was so great that OKK decided to donate an extra $1,000 for Beck’s unexpected basket. This brings the total half-court donations this year to $2,000. Last year, contestants earned the Booster Club $3,000 with a total of six baskets.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U RESIDENT TONY BOY ANDRADE is an enthusiastic member of the Hawai`i Drag Racing League. Andrade started racing back in 2012 when he and his father built his 1968 Chevy Nova in their family shop South Side Repair Services from the ground up and named it It's About Time. The Hawai`i Drag Racing League has monthly races at the Hilo Drag Strip. The races are held by veteran racer Mr. Keith Aguiar, his family and many friends.
Ka`u's Tony Boy Andrade races his 1968 Nova, named It's About Time.
Photo from the Andrade family
      Andrade said his dragster is the “quickest true stock chassis 1968 Nova on the Big Island.” His fastest time is 11.1 seconds in a quarter mile. “Racing is a good stress release. It’s an expensive sport, but something worth getting into.” He said this sport needs to be in a safe environment, on racing tracks that are supervised and cared for.
      Andrade encourages Ka`u residents to make the drive to Hilo to support his sport. An event takes place next weekend on Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DR. CLAIRE HORWELL CONTINUES here vog survey a week from today on Saturday, March 7 at Ocean View Swap Meet. She is researching how residents protect themselves and how those methods relate to official advice. Surveys take 10 – 15 minutes. Ka`u residents can also share their vog stories at https://www.facebook.com/groups/421925067973152/.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Feb. 27, 2015

The vent at Halema`uma`u opened during Jim Kauahikaua's tenure as USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory's Scientist-in-Charge. Kauahikaua is stepping down to focus on research at the observatory. Photo from USGS/HVO
JIM KAUAHIKAUA, SCIENTIST-IN-CHARGE at USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, is stepping down on March 8 but will stay on to conduct research. HVO announced his decision in the current issue of Volcano Watch
      Kauahikaua joined HVO as a geophysicist in 1988 to study magnetic, gravity and electrical resistivity of Hawaiian volcanoes and techniques to assess lava flow hazards and quantifying lava flow emplacement. He became HVO’s 19th Scientist-in-Charge on Oct. 3, 2004, the first of Hawaiian ancestry.
      “Since 2004, Jim has overseen substantial changes in HVO’s volcano and earthquake monitoring technologies and capabilities,” the article states. “A notable challenge successfully managed by Jim was HVO’s use of $3.1 million provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Many improvements were accomplished through that one-time boost in funding, but most importantly, HVO’s monitoring networks were expanded and made completely digital. Redundant telemetry paths were also added to ensure consistent and near-real-time connectivity between HVO and the more than 100 field-based monitoring instruments on Hawai`i’s active volcanoes... .”
Jim Kauahikaua Photo from HVO
       The article describes Kauahikaua’s duties and accomplishments during the past 10 years. “Jim coordinated HVO’s response to a number of significant volcanic and seismic events on the Island of Hawai`i. These include the 2004 – 2005 Mauna Loa unrest, the 2006 destructive Kiholo Bay earthquake and, on Kilauea, the 2008 explosive opening of the summit vent within Halema`uma`u Crater and the 2011 Kamoamoa fissure eruption, in addition to the ongoing East Rift Zone (Pu`u `O`o) eruption. Jim’s expertise on lava flow emplacement and hazards served HVO well when Kilauea lava re-entered Kalapana in 2010 – 2011, as well as when lava flowed northeast from Pu`u `O`O toward Puna communities – first in 2007, then in 2013 – 2014 (Kahauale`a flows) and again with today’s still-active June 27th flow.
      “Responding to natural hazards is often a multi-agency effort, and Jim strengthened existing relationships and forged new ones between HVO and other federal, state and county agencies. As Scientist-in-Charge, he worked closely with Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Emergency Management Agency, Hawai`i State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Hawai`i County Civil Defense and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to support interagency cooperation and collaboration.
      “A notable milestone of Jim’s tenure as Scientist-in-Charge was HVO’s centennial celebration in 2012. He guided plans for an HVO open house, attended by more than 1,400 Hawai`i residents and visitors, and supported HVO staff involved in organizing an international gathering of volcanologists focused on the study of Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes. Jim also co-authored The Story of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory – A Remarkable First 100 Years of Tracking Eruptions and Earthquakes to commemorate HVO’s history.
      “Jim champions HVO’s outreach and communication efforts, often leading the charge to increase public awareness of Hawaiian volcanoes and earthquakes. He participates in community outreach events, writes numerous Volcano Watch articles each year, presents countless public talks and personally answers many of the askHVO emails.”
      The article quotes Kauahikaua’s boss, Director of USGS Volcano Science Center Tom Murray: “HVO’s achievements under Jim’s leadership have been remarkable. Just responding daily to the eruption is a full-time task, but Jim has also accomplished many goals related to long-term improvements to HVO … and enhancing ties to the community. What’s best for the community, for HVO, and for the staff were his priorities. He’s been great to work with.”
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I’S ECONOMY IN 2015 WILL LOOK a lot like last year’s, according to a report by University of Hawai`i’s Economic Research Organization. It said tourism will see only marginal gains, but steady labor market improvement will continue, and there will be moderate income growth. While not all damage from the past recession has been repaired, by many measures, economic activity in the state is returning to normal. 
      According to the report, a major threat to Hawai`i’s economy is potential downsizing of military personnel in the state. “The potential cuts are large enough that they would take a measurable chunk out of the overall economy, not to mention much larger adverse impacts on local communities,” the report stated.
      The forecast is available at uhero.hawaii.edu.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sen. Mazie Hirono
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO IS HOLDING House Speaker John Boehner responsible to send a clean Department of Homeland Security bill to President Obama. Funding for DHS is set to expire today. The President has said he will veto any policy riders that undo his executive action on immigration. 
      “Despite the fact that the House has put us on the brink of shutting down the Department of Homeland Security, I’m hopeful after this morning’s vote (passed the Senate) that Congress will send the President a clean bill to fund DHS,” Hirono said. “But now, it is in Speaker Boehner’s hands. It is up to Speaker Boehner to end this manufactured crisis and pass this clean full-year funding bill through the House. Our national security is at stake. If the House fails to get a clean DHS funding bill to the President’s desk by midnight, most of the 200,000 DHS employees across the country, including nearly 2,000 based in Hawai`i, will be furloughed or forced to work without pay.
      “Furthermore, the many furloughs at DHS headquarters will mean that FEMA disaster assistance grants will not be processed for those affected by Hurricane Iselle and the lava flow on Hawai`i Island. It is reckless and irresponsible to shut down a federal agency charged with protecting all of us.
      “I urge Speaker Boehner to avoid pursuing a short-term continuing resolution that only passes the buck for a few more weeks. A short-term continuing resolution doesn’t fix this problem and only leads to continued uncertainty for our homeland security efforts. It’s time that the House join the Senate in passing a clean DHS funding bill and sending it to the President’s desk.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANY’S EFFORTS to stop customers from installing rooftop solar are illegal, according to Robert Harris, of the Alliance for Solar Choice. TASC recently called on Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission to end the utility’s efforts. According to Harris, HECO’s utilities on Hawai`i Island and Maui recently started issuing letters to customers stating they cannot interconnect to the grid with rooftop solar systems unless the Public Utilities Commission agrees to eliminate net energy metering. 
      “This is a classic abuse of monopoly power,” Harris said. “Utilities can’t deny service to customers in order to force policy changes that benefit themselves.”
Benjamin Acasio
      Harris called net energy metering, which allows utility customers to offset part their power bill but not earn money, “the bedrock principle of solar power in the United States.”
      “HECO can’t compete with rooftop solar,” he said, “so they’re trying to force changes to preserve an outdated business model. This is why the PUC exists; to protect consumers from the unlawful and monopolistic tendencies of utilities.” 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE MOST RECENT EDITION of Hawai`i Island’s Most Wanted, Crime Stoppers’ television program, highlights a 38-year-old Ka`u man wanted for abuse. 
      The program asks for help in locating Benjamin Acasio, of Na`alehu, who is wanted for abuse. He is described as six-feet-two-inches tall, 180 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen driving a red Acura two-door sedan with white rims.
      Police ask that anyone with information call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential. Crime Stoppers does not tape record phone calls or subscribe to caller ID.
      Hawai`i Island’s Most Wanted is a project of Crime Stoppers Hilo, Inc., a partnership of the business community, the media and the police. It was inspired by the national TV show, America’s Most Wanted. The program airs on Na Leo O Hawai`i Community Television Channel 54 on Sundays at 5 p.m. and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It also airs intermittently on Channel 53.
      The new episode begins airing today.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Fishhooks from Wai`ahukini Photo from Bishop Museum
HO`OMAKA HOU RESEARCH initiative, a collections-based research program by Dr. Mara Mulronney, archaeologist with The Bishop Museum, offers a free presentation today at 6 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
      Fishhooks from the Pu`u Ali`i and Wai`ahukini Rockshelter sites, which were excavated by Bishop Museum archaeologists from 1953 to 1959, will be on display.

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park presents hula kahiko tomorrow. Na Mea Hula with Kumu Hula Ab Valencia and members of Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu perform at 9:30 a.m. Kumu hula Manaiakalani Kalua with Akaunu begin at 10:30 a.m. The hula platform is a short walk from the gallery.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.pdf.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015

Ka`u residents can learn how to use fungi to restore degraded landscapes when Zach Mermel presents Mushrooms in the Landscape today at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center's Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Photo from VAC
HAWAI`I COUNTY PROPERTY VALUES rose for the second year in a row. Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that values are three percent over last year and that they rose seven percent in 2014.
Mayor Billy Kenoi
Photo by Julia Neal
      According to Cook Lauer, the increases are allowing the county to put together a no-frills budget without having to increase property tax rates. County revenue from property tax bills will increase as values go up.
      “We are thankful that we have some increase,” Mayor Billy Kenoi told Cook Lauer. “A lot of that will go toward absorbing fixed costs.”
      Kenoi’s administration is finishing its draft budget to be submitted to County Council Friday, which has until June 30 to pass it or have it automatically go into effect July 1.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FOLLOWING THREE CONSECUTIVE record-breaking years, Hawai`i Tourism Authority anticipated that visitor arrivals and expenditures would begin flattening in 2015. In comparison to last January, arrivals dipped less than 4,000 visitors (-0.6 percent), and total expenditures dropped to $1.4 billion (-2.5 percent). These slight declines resulted from a reduction in international air seats (-0.9 percent) and the continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies in January.
      Despite softening travel from international markets, additional airlift from core U.S. markets (+9.2 percent) helped to maintain arrivals from the U.S. West (+3.9 percent) and U.S. East (+0.8 percent) markets in January. This included increased air capacity to the neighbor islands, which contributed to continual growth in arrivals and expenditures.
      HTA continues to engage its airline partners in co-op opportunities and discussions on maintaining and stimulating travel demand and distribution to all Hawaiian Islands, especially with current lower fuel costs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Apple Pay is coming to Bank
of Hawai`i debit card holders.
SOON KA`U BANK OF HAWAI`I CUSTOMERS will be able to use their bank-issued debit cards with Apple Pay.
 Customers using iPhone 6 can pay in stores without swiping cards and in apps without entering payment and contact information. A single touch of a finger using Touch ID completes the transaction.
 With Apple Pay, instead of using actual debit card numbers, when customers add their cards, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored. When they make a purchase, the Device Account Number alongside a transaction-specific dynamic security code is used to process payment. Actual debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.
      In addition, paying with Apple Pay is private, as cashiers never see customers’ names, card numbers or security codes.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO YESTERDAY JOINED Jose Diaz-Balart on MSNBC’s The Rundown to highlight her own immigration story and stress the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. 
Sen. Mazie Hirono discussed immigration on The Rundown yesterday.
Image from Office of Sen. Hirono
      “As an immigrant myself, my mother brought me to this country, escaping a terribly abusive marriage in Japan, and she had a vision for a better future for her children, and that is something that so many immigrants, millions of immigrants who came to this country and who are here now hope for also. So what I would like to see is comprehensive immigration reform, much like we passed in the Senate months and months ago.”
      Hirono also continued to urge the House and Senate to come together to pass a clean appropriations bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security before funding runs out at the end of this week.
      “We need to have both the House and the Senate vote on a clean bill because for the Senate to send a clean bill, and the House is just going to put back the kind of amendments that brought us to this particular situation, is not going to advance the dialogue. So, what we need to send, both the House and the Senate, is a clean bill for the President to sign. And then we need to debate and pass comprehensive immigration reform that we have been calling on the House to do for over a year. It is really the ball being in Speaker Boehner’s court right now.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD is fighting proposed air travel fees. Gabbard yesterday testified before the House Committee on the Budget to state her opposition to a component of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that would increase air travel fees.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
      “The increased fee would have a major negative impact upon the residents who work and live in Hawai`i,” Gabbard said. “With no interisland railway, highway or ferry system, our residents have no other choice but to fly between islands. Air transportation is an essential lifeline for people in finding a job, starting a small business, going to see a doctor and visiting family and friends.
      “The doubling of the security fee has already had a noticeable impact. For example, the lowest base fare for flying from Honolulu to Maui is $54.33. The taxes and increased security fees escalate the price of the ticket by 25 percent. Another increase would only heighten the burden on our residents as they carry out the everyday responsibilities of life.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE NOMINATING COMMITTEE FOR STATE COMMISSION on Water Resource Management is now accepting applications for one open position on the Commission. The Nominating Committee will review applications and send the names of not less than three qualified individuals to the governor, who will nominate one person for the vacant position. The term of the new appointee will begin upon the vacancy after the governor selects from the list of applicants.
      The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate. The term for this position will begin on July 1, 2015 and expire on June 30, 2019.
      The Commission has jurisdiction and final authority over matters relating to the State Water Code (Hawai`i Revised Statutes Chapter 174C). The governor appoints five of the seven members through the Nominating Committee. The Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources serves as the Chairperson of the Water Commission, and the Director of the Department of Health serves as an ex-officio voting member.
      State law requires that each member have “substantial experience in the area of water resource management.” Commission members serve a four-year term without pay, although certain expenses such as travel are reimbursed. Applications and resumes may be sent to Nominating Committee 
Commission on Water Resource Management, 
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 227 
Honolulu, HI 96813
      Applications should be postmarked no later than Tuesday, March 17.
      Applicants will be interviewed between March 23 and March 31.
      To apply online, visit the Hawai`i Boards and Commissions website at http://boards.hawaii.gov/apply/apply-for-a-board/. More information may be found on the Commission’s website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/aboutus/commission/.

Kumu Hula Ab Valencia
Photo by Dino Morrow
HAWAI`I ISLAND MYCOLOGIST ZACH MERMEL presents Mushrooms in the Landscape today at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Nialani Campus in Volcano Village. Mermel discusses how to use fungi to restore degraded environments. The lecture is free, and donations are appreciated.

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park presents hula kahiko Saturday. Na Mea Hula with Kumu Hula Ab Valencia and members of Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu perform at 9:30 a.m., and Kumu hula Manaiakalani Kalua with Akaunu begin at 10:30 a.m.
      Typically held on the third or fourth Saturday of each month, hula halau from across Hawai`i have been invited to perform in a one-of-a-kind outdoor setting at the kahua hula (platform) near the gallery. This special site was realized through the vision of the late Edith Kanaka`ole, kumu hula of Halau o Kekuhi.
      The kahua hula is located a short walking distance from the gallery in an area known as Ka`auea. This sacred spot affords the kumu (master) and haumana (student) a pristine view into Halema`uma`u, the home of volcanic deity Pelehonuamea.
      See volcanoartcenter.org.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

A large breakout from the flank of Pu`u O`o continues to pour lava onto the Puna landscape. More breakouts are also active downslope. Photo from USGS/HVO
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY IS MOVING FORWARD, with the charter school planning to begin classes for 65 third- through sixth-grade students on July 29 at Discovery Harbour Clubhouse, according to Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today. Another 35 home-schooled students will get support from the school.
Kathryn Tydlacka
      To raise funds for the school, KLA organizers have been operating Gilligan’s Café at clubhouse. KLA plans to build a more permanent structure at Discovery Harbour within two years. It also has plans to offer kindergarten through eighth-grade classes as well as have another school in Ocean View.
      KLA will have a “highly academic focus,” Tydacka told Cook Lauer, because Ka`u students typically are among the lowest-performing in the state.
      “They’re still failing a whole lot of kids,” Tydlacka said, referring to Hawai`i Department of Education. “We already know that most of them are going to be behind.”
      KLA seeks Windward Planning Commission approval to operate at the clubhouse, which is in the state land use agricultural district. The meeting takes place Thursday, March 5 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. Public testimony is welcome.
      For more information about the school, see kaulearningacademy.com.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A RECENT LARGE LAVA BREAKOUT from the flank of Pu`u O`o that continues to be active is part of the June 27 flow and not a separate event, according to USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Janet Babb, who handles public information and education outreach for HVO. Video of the breakout filmed by Mick Kalber is available at bigislandvideonews.com
      David Corrigan, of Big Island Video News, reported that Babb described the breakout as a “pulse” of lava and said that if a change were to be caused by a breakout, “we would normally expect to see it within two days.”
      Babb explained to Corrigan that when lava first breaks out of an inflated flow, it can do so with some impressive vigor, but “the impressive vigor is often short-lived – until the next breakout.”
      According to HVO, breakouts continue in both downslope and upslope flow areas. One along the north margin of the stalled flow tip approximately one mile from Hwy 130 is sluggish and has not advanced since Monday.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira
INTERNET, PHONE AND CELLULAR SERVICE will be more reliable once a 22-mile gap in the island’s ring of fiber optic cable from Pahala to Volcano is closed. At a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, Civil Defense chief Darryl Oliveira said Hawaiian Telcom, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and the county are working closely together to find a way to close the gap, reported Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today
      The gap from Volcano to Pahala causes blackouts when there is a break in the cable elsewhere on the island, which has happened twice recently.
      The estimated $6 million project would require running cable through the national park.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY has selected Ormat to provide an additional 25 megawatts of geothermal energy for Hawai`i Island. The decision follows a review of bids submitted as part of a competitive bid process. The next step is to begin contract negotiations with Ormat, with an agreement to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for approval.
Ormat supplies HELCO with up to 25 MW of energy at Puna Geothermal Venture.
Photo from Ormat
      “We have continued to pursue ways to increase our use of renewable energy and lower costs to our customers, while also ensuring reliable service,” said Hawai`i Electric Light Company President Jay Ignacio. “Ormat was selected based on numerous criteria, including attractive pricing, technical design and capability, financial soundness, as well as commitment to resolving all environmental issues and to working with our Hawai`i Island communities.”
      According to HELCO, geothermal technologies provide renewable, controlled dispatchable energy and firm capacity that allow it to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant to its islandwide grid. Firm energy sources like geothermal support the integration of intermittent renewable resources, such as wind or solar, while maintaining reliable service for Hawai`i Island customers.
      A draft geothermal request for proposals was issued in early November 2012. The PUC also selected an independent observer, Boston Pacific Company, to monitor and advise on all steps of the competitive bidding process to ensure that the process is fair and adheres to the PUC Framework for Competitive Bidding.
      Ormat currently supplies up to 38 MW of energy to HELCO through Puna Geothermal Venture, and more than 47 percent of electricity on Hawai`i Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind, distributed solar and geothermal.
      According to Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, Ignacio declined to say where the new plant would be located, citing a non-disclosure agreement. He did confirm, however, that it would be in East Hawai`i.
      Ormat was one of six bidders for the new contract that proposed projects in Puna. Ignacio told Callis that because none of the bidders offered to build plants in West Hawai`i, where power use is highest, HELCO cut the proposed expansion in half.
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Hawai`i PUC Chair Randy Iwase
RANDY IWASE IS THE NEW CHAIR of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. The state Senate voted unanimously to approve Gov. David Ige’s choice to replace Mina Morita, who resigned last month after four years as chair. 
      Iwase, a lawyer and former state legislator, told Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News, that the top three cases he would be dealing with are the purchase of Hawai`i Electric Co. by NextEra Energy, the importation of liquefied natural gas and organizing the PUC.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
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HAWAI`I SENATE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE considers bills related to agriculture tomorrow. SB375 would authorize growing industrial hemp for certain purposes under specified conditions. It appropriates funds for Department of Agriculture staff to assist in registration of industrial hemp growers and seed testing.
      “The Legislature finds that mankind has cultivated hemp as a source of food and fiber for thousands of years,” the bill reads. “Modern production methods have utilized hemp’s oilseed to make high-grade food and beauty products. The stalks produce fiber and cellulose for everything from automotive parts and fine clothing to building materials and fuel.”
      SB 376 establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawai`i farm-to school-program and two farm-to-school coordinator positions.
      The program’s goal is to “improve the health of children through the support of school gardens, health and nutrition education, agriculture and the procurement of locally grown foods for school meals and snacks. A successful farm to school program can increase students’ physical activity, school meal participation and preference for fresh fruits and vegetables and improve academic achievement and student behavior.”
      The vast majority of testimony received so far by the state Legislature is in favor of the bills. Ka`u residents can testify at capitol.hawaii.gov.
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Mycologist Zach Mermel
ISLAND MARKET IN NA`ALEHU holds an auction tomorrow at 10 a.m. Doors open at 8 a.m. Equipment in the store is being sold before the store’s official closure on Saturday. A sale of merchandise continues through Saturday.
      For more information, see http://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/for/4901673180.html.

MUSHROOMS IN THE LANDSCAPE is the title of a program tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Nialani Campus in Volcano Village. Hawai`i Island mycologist Zach Mermel discusses how to use fungi to restore degraded environments. The lecture is free, and donations are appreciated.

PATTI PEASE JOHNSON, WHOSE ART is currently on exhibit at Volcano Art Center Gallery, teaches two workshops next month. The first is Experimental Watercolor, Saturday, March 7 from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Johnson guides students in creating paintings on hot press paper using pre-broken glass to spark creativity.
      Soft Pastel Still Life workshop takes place March 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. when Johnson shares her knowledge of color, composition and correcting problems. Participants begin with a set-up still life using charcoal on newsprint to get the flow of arm movements to keep loose, and they’ll complete a 10x12 inch project.
      Another of Johnson’s workshops this month, Paint Your Own Silk Scarf, is full.
      The workshops, held at VAC’s Niaulani campus in Volcano Village, are open to both beginning and intermediate students.
      See volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222 for more information and to register.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.pdf