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, June 16, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Nature Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service manage Palmyra Atoll, which TNC calls "a treasure chest of biological riches and a natural marine laboratory." Photo from TNC
KA`U RURAL HEALTH COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC. is one of the organizations likely to lose funding to help Ka`u residents sign up for health care as Hawai`i Health Connector starts to shut down. KRHCAI has promoted and helped people sign up for government sponsored health insurance at many community gatherings and at its offices next to Pahala Library.
      The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services last month informed the Connector that federal funds were no longer available to support its long-term operations. The Connector, a private nonprofit entity, has been unable to generate sufficient revenues to sustain operations. 
      Based on ongoing discussions with the state and the Connector, CMS agreed to provide limited funds for the transition so that Hawai`i can maintain a Supported State-based Marketplace. “We are anticipating being able to continue to some degree, but we haven’t got word back from the federal government how much of that expense they’re willing to fund,” Jeffrey Kissel, executive director of the Connector, told Colin M. Stewart, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. “As a result, because the grants are effectively expiring June 30, and we’re not able to renew them, until we get approval from the federal government, several of the market assister organizations are having to give notices to their employees.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Conservation and scientific research are The Nature
Conservancy's roles on Palmyra Atoll.
Map from TNC
THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, with its Big Island headquarters in Ka`u, has reached out to Palmyra Atoll, almost 1,000 miles south-southwest of here, to install wind and solar energy to power the island, which TNC manages with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 
      “Installing solar and wind energy at Palmyra will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by 95 percent,” said Mark Fox, acting executive director of the Conservancy’s Hawai`i and Palmyra programs. “It will eliminate an annual 21,000-gallon shipment of diesel fuel previously used to run the atoll’s generators.”
      “We have basically locked in 20 years of low-cost energy and made the station economically and environmentally sustainable,” added David Sellers, the Conservancy’s acting Palmyra director. “Our carbon footprint has been reduced dramatically, and we have mitigated the environmental risk of having to transport and store all that fuel.”
      Buying and shipping diesel fuel needed to run the research station took up more than half of the Conservancy’s operating budget for Palmyra and produced 349 metric tons of CO2 annually. Including shipping, fuel costs were between $11 and $13 a gallon. “That’s about 93 cents per kilowatt hour for our energy needs. The average cost on the U.S. mainland is 12 cents,” Sellers said.
      In 2012, the Conservancy substituted biodiesel for regular diesel to power the atoll. While it proved to be a clean and effective alternative, it wasn’t any cheaper to purchase and ship than regular diesel. That’s when the Conservancy decided to take Palmyra renewable.
       The six-week project saw Conservancy staff and a crew of 30 volunteers install 385 solar panels, a solar hot water system, a deep-cycle battery system to store sunlight for use at night and a prototype bird-friendly wind turbine — all of it creating a custom 100-kilowatt solar micro-grid.
      “The wind turbine gives us a diversity of power sources, which is really important in a remote location,” Sellers said. “We cannot rely on just one system.”
      For extra backup, the Conservancy maintains a three-year supply of biodiesel made from 100 percent recycled vegetable oil to run existing generators.
      “The commitment to making the station sustainable reflects the long-term dedication that the USFWS and the Conservancy share in protecting the rich natural resources and biodiversity found at Palmyra,” said Stefan Kropidlowski, Palmyra Atoll Refuge Manager for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
      “With the renewable energy system in place, we can now focus on what we do best – conservation and scientific research to inform that conservation,” said Fox. “Going forward, we will work with the USFWS to ensure that the renewable energy systems have little to no negative impact on the atoll’s wildlife and habitat.”
      See nature.org.
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Diagram of cesspool from Hawai`i Department of Health
A TEMPORARY INCOME TAX CREDIT for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system or connecting to a sewer system is provided following Gov. David Ige signing HB1140.
      Ka`u’s Rep. Richard Onishi voted against the bill because he wanted the program to have a sliding scale based on income, according to a story in West Hawai`i Today. “I think it’s a great idea in terms of getting people to connect,” Onishi told reporter Nancy Cook Lauer, “(but) I felt that there are people who have the ability to pay for it.”
      Onishi said he also opposed mandatory rules originally proposed by the Health Department. One proposed rule would have not only prohibited use of new cesspools but also required an upgrade to a septic system or connection to a sewer system within 180 days of the sale of any property with a cesspool.
      “I think, in general, the concern over cesspools was warranted, but the question is how to go about it,” Onishi told Cook Lauer.
      The credits apply to tax years 2016 through 2020. Priority is given to owners whose cesspools affect public drinking water wells and are within 200 feet of the shoreline, streams or wetlands.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE Program applications are available in Ka`u this month. LIHEAP helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs. The program provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, weatherization and energy-related minor home repairs. Households may apply for help with either their shut-off or regular bill, from either the electric or gas company. 
      Applicants must have a utility bill from their utility company dated not more than 30 days prior to the date of the application. They must report all members of the household, have a utility cost for the residence they are applying for, be income-qualified and have an active utility account to receive credit.
      Ka`u residents can apply Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center and the Hawai`i County Economic Opportunity Council office behind Na`alehu Community Center. A staff member is also in Pahala at the Olson Trust II office building on the corner of Maile and Pikake Streets on Tuesdays, including today, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
      For more information, call 961-2681, ext. 415.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Lito Arkangel Photo from NPS
LITO ARKANGEL SHARES HIS ORIGINAL compositions and other Hawaiian favorites tomorrow from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

FAMED, AWARD-WINNING GUITARIST John Keawe returns to Ka`u with a performance Thursday at 3 p.m. at Na`alehu Public Library. Keawe is a regular instructor at annual music workshops in Pahala, where he teaches slack key guitar to visitors and local students who receive scholarships.
      Keawe offers A Tribute to Slack Key during his visit to Ka`u. He performed at Pahala Public Library in 2012 and also offers annual Christmas programs at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

Shizuno Nasu
RENOWNED AND CLASSICALLY TRAINED dance artist Shizuno Nasu presents her latest workshop rooted in deep listening and improvisation Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. Students walk through Niaulani’s native rainforest to gather inspiration for movement passages, explore Fu-Sui-Ka movements based on the elements of water, wind and fire and enjoy seated movement meditation inspired by the female goddess Miroku. 
      Nasu began her classical ballet training at age three. She was chosen as an exchange student with the Bolshoi Ballet at age seven and made her debut as a professional dancer at age 19. Shizuno’s quest for her own stylistic voice led her to study old Japanese mythological dances. She undertook a multi-year pilgrimage, deepening within her the skill and spirit of mai, the dance. Beyond the influence of both the West and the East, Shizuno continues to refine her unique mai, a dance attuned to the rhythms of Mother Nature. She currently resides in Volcano, where she generates new Spiral Visions, teaches dance and aspires to bring cultures together through international cultural exchange.
      Shizuno says of her work, “I am dancing with Life itself, expressing the magnificent drama, fleeting and precious!” She emphasizes that in her workshop, all hearts are welcome.
      Joining Shizuno during her workshop are crystal bowl musician Izumi Hashimoto and workshop dance assistants Rieko Inoue from Kyoto and Jenn Eng, from Hilo.
      Fee is $50 for VAC members and $55 for non-members. For more information or to register call VAC at 967-8222 or register at volcanoartcenter.org. No dance experience is necessary.

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See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and
kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_June2015.pdf.