About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

Kaena Point in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is one of 60 locations statewide where volunteers participate in the Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales on the last Saturdays of this and next month. Photo by Adrian Boone
KA`U’S HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL MEMBER Maile David leaves for Washington, D.C. this week to attend the eight-day National Association of Counties convention. She said she feels well grounded in community, land use and cultural issues and that the trip to D.C. will help her integrate her knowledge of county government with federal government. This is her first out-of-state trip. She will meet with Hawai`i’s congressional delegation Sen. Mazie Hirono, Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Rep. Mark Takai.
Maile Medeiros David
      NACo Legislative Conference, held on an annual basis in Washington, D.C., brings over 2,000 elected and appointed county officials from across the country to focus on legislative issues facing county government. Attendees hear from key Administration officials and members of Congress and are offered a myriad of additional educational opportunities addressing current and hot topic issues. A day of lobbying on Capitol Hill the last day rounds out an information-packed conference.
      Topics covered in meetings include Legislative Update on Federal Legislative and Policy Issues Impacting Counties; NACo Technology Innovation Summit; County and Tribal Government Relations; Community Engagement and Outreach: Strategically Improving County Resilience; Federal Legislative Policies Affecting County Justice Systems; All Health is Local: Capitol Hill Briefing on Medicaid and the Role of Counties in
 Local Health Systems; and Rural-specific Strategies for Resiliency.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE STATUS OF ROOFTOP SOLAR IN HAWAI`I is the topic of a story in The Guardian, reporter Sophie Cocke announced in Civil Beat. Writer Eria Gies examined the booming industry that “nearly went bust” in 2013.
      “Because rooftop solar penetration has moved so rapidly, Hawai`i’s utilities are now grappling with both technical and economic challenges that mainland utilities have yet to fully face,” Gies said. “How Hawai`i surmounts these hurdles could help other utilities sidestep barriers as they ramp up capacity.”
      Darren Pai, senior communications consultant for Hawaii Electric Companies, told Gies, “We can’t look to any other state for solutions because we’re encountering issues before most other places.”
      According to Gies, Hawai`i’s solar boom ran into trouble “when HECO began dragging its feet on approving new rooftop solar systems for connections to the grid, citing both technical and economic limitations. A major technical hurdle, Hawaiian Electric Co. said, is the intermittency of solar power at night and during cloudy weather. Maintaining power quality and reliability is already difficult on isolated grids such as those on each of Hawai`i’s islands, and high levels of intermittent solar power add to the challenge.
Rooftop solar in Hawai`i is the topic of a story in The Guardian.
Photo by Julia Neal
      “The economic obstacles also have been formidable. After a century of receiving power from utilities, customers are now generating their own power and helping the grid to balance supply and demand via smart appliances that can curtail electricity demand when required. To manage this more complex relationship, utilities must invest in new infrastructure. Buying surplus power at retail rates via credits to homeowners with solar panels also creates a revenue drain.”
      Clean energy consultant Bentham Paulos told Gies, “Essentially, the utility is now competing with its own customers.”
      The challenge for utilities here and worldwide is to figure out how to make it work for them, Gies said. That’s why HECO has proposed eliminating net metering, in which customers sell power back to the utilities.
            Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Hilo-based solar installation company ProVision Solar, told Gies solar can keep growing without net metering because of recent plunges in costs of photovoltaic panels and continuing state and federal tax credits.
      Isaac Moriwake, Honolulu-based attorney for Earthjustice, told Gies, “This move (by HECO to stop net metering) removes any doubt that HECO’s motivation for slowing down solar for over a year was to protect their bottom line.”
      Gies also examines NextEra Energy’s purchase of HECO. It is unclear “how the buyout would affect Hawai`i’s renewable energy expansion,” she said.
      Moriwake told her, “There’s been a lot of heart and soul poured into envisioning Hawai`i’s energy future, and we need to finish that work before we can decide which company can meet those needs. Everything is in play in Hawai`i. That’s why it’s so key to get things right.”
      See civilbeat.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Russell Ruderman is chair of state
Senate Ag Committee.
HAWAI`I STATE LEGISLATURE CONSIDERS labeling of genetically modified foods this week. Senate Health and Agriculture Committees hold a hearing Thursday. Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman, chair of the Ag Committee, introduced the bill. Ka`u’s Sen. Josh Green is chair of the Health Committee.
      SB 131 would establish labeling requirements for any food or raw agricultural commodity sold in the state that contains a genetically engineered material or was produced with a genetically engineered material. It also establishes exceptions and violations and requires the director of health to adopt rules.
      According to the bill, “No food or raw agricultural commodity shall be sold in the state if it contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material, unless it bears a label that provides the following disclosure notice in bold-face print and not less than ten-point type: This product contains a genetically engineered material, or was produced with a genetically engineered material.”    
      Residents can read the entire bill and provide testimony, due tomorrow at 2:45 p.m., at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

CLOSEOUT SALE AT ISLAND MARKET began yesterday and continues through Saturday, Feb. 28. Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily except Sunday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      The store is closing after 18 years of serving the Ka`u community.

KA`U RESIDENTS ARE INVITED to participate in a vog focus group today at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Library. Host Claire Horwell, director of the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network, is studying how people cope with volcanic emissions. To sign up, see https://www.facebook.com/groups/421925067973152/ or call 808-967-8809.

BERT NAIHE PERFORMS on-stage tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Born and raised in Hilo, Naihe is a musician for Halau O Ka Ua Kanilehua with Kumu Hula Johnny Lum Ho. His first CD Bert Naihe: You’re the One was released in March 2014 and features his versions of Na Makani Eha and Noho Paipai among other mele.

Ka`u residents can learn how to control Little Fire Ants Thursday.
HAWAI`I ANT LAB STAFF MEMBERS DISCUSS how to eliminate Little Fire Ant colonies Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
      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,” the lab staff members said. “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.”
      Call 315-5656 for more information.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI’I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK host a volunteer forest restoration project on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Participants plant native seedling trees in a fenced enclosure where they will be protected from grazing animals. “We will learn about the park’s native forest restoration program at Kahuku and be able to see the start of natural recovery of the forest,” said organizer Patty Kupchak.
      To sign up, contact Kupchak at forest@fhvnp.org or 808-352-1402.

KA`U WHALE WATCHERS CAN STILL sign up for Sanctuary Whale Counts coming up Saturdays, Feb. 28 and March 28. Now in its 20th year, this project uses volunteers to count whales and record their behaviors from over 60 shore sites on O`ahu, Kaua`i and Hawai`i. The project allows the public to learn more about humpback whale population, distribution and behavioral trends while being involved in a volunteer monitoring effort. Hours are 8 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
      Interested volunteers may register online at http://sanctuaryoceancount.org.

SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.swf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf or
kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf.