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.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ka`u News Briefs Thursday, June 18, 2015

Volunteer divers gather debris from the ocean at Ka Lae during Hawai`i Wildlife Fund and friends' first-ever diving cleanup on Hawai`i Island. Photos from Cynthia Hankins Photography
VOLUNTEERS REMOVED 157 POUNDS of debris from the ocean at Ka Lae during Hawai`i Wildlife Fund and friends’ first-ever dive cleanup last Sunday. Most of the debris was derelict fishing gear, with the number one item being monofilament line.
Divers and other volunteers show off their catches.
      The cleanup was a success with a total of 12 scuba divers, three free divers and eight shoreline support volunteers, including Simon Chan, who kept a lookout with binoculars from the cliffs the whole time, and Japanese-English interpreter Hanako Yokota. Organizer Megan Lamson said the group was “blessed by a visit from a pod of dolphins and friendly fishermen sharing the same rocky shoreline.”
      HWF volunteer and marine biologist Lindsey Kramer noted the presence of additional invasive limu and invertebrate species on the sugi line that was removed. “This gives us all the more reason to continue this type of work for the health of our native marine wildlife,” Lamson said.
      Along with the individual divers, others who made the day a success included NOAA Marine Debris Program, Sea Beautification Society’s team of eight divers from Japan, Line-X Hilo, Big Island Divers, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources, S. Tokunaga and Cynthia Hankins Photography.
      “We are all so thankful that this first-ever HWF Dive Cleanup event on Hawai`i Island was a success and are most appreciative of all the collaboration needed to make this happen!” Lamson said.
      HWF hopes to be able to plan another dive event next year.
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FOLLOWING LAST YEAR’S 4.5 PERCENT raises for public school educational officers including principals and vice principals, the state Board of Education recently gave superintendents four percent increases. Salaries will range from $125,000 to $180,000 for 15 complex-area and six assistant superintendents and one deputy superintendent. 
      Principals’ salaries range from $110,812 to $148,380.
      While the BOE sets salaries for most public schools, state-licensed and funded charter schools have more flexibility. For example, in its three-year budget submitted to the State Public Charter School Commission, the new Ka`u Learning Academy lists salaries for executive director as $96,000 and for managing director as $72,000 annually for the first two years. Their salaries increase the third year, as enrollment and staffing increases, to $112,000 and 92,000, respectively.
      KLA founders Kathryn Tydlacka and Joe Iacuzzo recently asked and received approval from the commission to reduce its enrollment expectation from 111 to 85 students. The school at Discovery Harbour Clubhouse will initially offer instruction in grades three through six.
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STATE TAX REFUND CHECKS ARE LATE. According to an Associated Press story in Honolulu Star-Advertiser, a delay of up to four months is due to fighting tax fraud, which increases the time it takes to issue legitimate refund checks.
      A tax fraud unit has caught nearly 8,600 suspicious tax returns and prevented phony refunds of almost $22 million from being issued this year, state tax director Maria Zielinski said.
      Last month, the state sent out refunds of $275 million, about $160 million less than the amount returned at the same time last year.
      More refunds of about $100 million are expected to be sent after the end of this month.
      See staradvertiser.com.
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BILL COLLETT, WHO WAS INSTRUMENTAL in Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative’s acquisition of Kaua`i Electric, is advising Hawai`i Island Energy Cooperative, according to a story in Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. HIEC is a nonprofit co-op formed by community and business leaders to explore potential merits of a community-based, cooperative ownership structure for electric utility service on this island. 
      Collet is founder and president of Kansas City-based financial advisory firm Collet & Associates that provides investment banking services to energy and infrastructure clients.
      The firm concentrates on strategic acquisitions of generation, transmission and distribution assets by cooperatives, development and financing of utility-scale renewable energy generation facilities, financing alternatives for energy efficiency and conservation programs, and innovative alternatives for financing growing industry capital requirements.
      Collett is recognized for developing a template for successful acquisition of utility properties on behalf of electric cooperatives.
      David Bissell, president and CEO of KIUC, told reporter Chris D`Angelo that Collet “played a key role” in KIUC’s formation and advised the co-op on valuation to support its successful purchase offer. “Bill also provided financial analysis, projections and testimony to the Hawai`i PUC in support of the KIUC transaction,” Bissell said.
      Bissell said Collet has advised on the majority of cooperative acquisition deals that have taken place during the last decade.
      HIEC is also an intervenor in the Public Utilities Commission’s docket regarding the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra Energy. It role, according the the website, is “to bring to the proceedings its specific focus on the energy needs of Hawai`i Island and its unique perspective on potential cooperative ownership structures.”

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD VOTED against allowing the Obama Administration’s Trade Promotion Authority, also known as fast-track. Gabbard criticized Republican leadership’s attachment of the measure to an unrelated bill that serves public safety workers. H.R. 2146 allows firefighters and other public service safety employees, who have forced retirement requirements, to take early withdrawals from a government pension without being penalized. Gabbard also voted against the fast-track legislation last week. 
      “It is an affront to the American people that leaders in Congress have attached fast-track authority legislation to a wholly unrelated bill that serves our firefighters and public safety workers,” Gabbard said. “I strongly support the original version of H.R. 2146. However, I voted against the measure today because this fast-track legislation takes away the opportunity for the American people’s voice to be heard in determining our future. Instead, fast-track places our future in the hands of multinational corporations and foreign governments. The American people are deeply concerned about how any potential trade deal will impact their jobs, livelihood and our economy, and they deserve to have their voices heard through Congress in the trade negotiating process.”
      According to Gabbard, TPA allows the Administration to negotiate trade deals behind closed doors and then send the finished deal to Congress for an up or down vote, without allowing lawmakers to amend.
      The House of Representatives passed fast-track authority by a vote of 218-208 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
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SHIZUNO NASU PRESENTS Dancing on Earth: Creative Flow and Dance Meditation tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village.
      Register at volcanoartcenter.org or 967-8222.

Hikes explore inside Pu`u o Lokuana.
Photo from NPS
HIKERS SATURDAY LEARN ABOUT FORMATION and various uses of the grassy cinder cone Pu`u o Lokuana and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u. The moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Kahuku unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 

VOLCANO ART CENTER GALLERY in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park features hula performances Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., featuring Na Mea Hula with Kumu Ab Valencia and Halau Hula Kalehuaki`eki`eika`iu. From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Kumu hula Iwalani Kalima and Hula Halau O Kou Lima Nani `E perform on the hula platform.
      For more information, call 967-8222.

MEMBERS OF KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER Cooperative District are invited to a conflict resolution workshop Saturday, June 27 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The workshop, sponsored by The Kohala Center, presents skills current and future board members need in conflict prevention, management and resolution in order for co-ops to be effective.
      Scott Enright, Chair of Hawai`i Department of Agriculture, will present an update on water access through state agencies.