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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Monday, April 25, 2016

Volcano Art Center exhibits Up Close, a collection of bird portraits by Marian Berger, including `I`iwi, beginning Saturday, April 30. See more below. Image from VAC
HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION seeks testimony on plans to install a substation and high-voltage overhead line across Hwy 11 to support a proposed solar farm in Hawaiian Ranchos.
      Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and the state Consumer Advocate have agreed on a schedule of dates in the PUC’s decision-making process. The schedule is published in Docket 2015-0229. The Consumer Advocate has until May 18 to file Supplemental Information Requests to HELCO and the solar developer. These requests will be partly based on objections raised by members of the public who have submitted public comments to the docket. After receiving answers from HELCO no later than June 1, the Consumer Advocate will announce its Statement of Position on or before June 29.
Ka`u residents can testify on a plan to install an overhead high-voltage
line across Hwy 11 to connect a substation to the grid.
Map from HELCO application to PUC
      The line and substation are proposed for a site next to the Kohala Blvd entrance to Ranchos, across the highway from Ocean View’s King Kamehameha Blvd. It would be in view of homes and a Thai restaurant. HELCO’s application is to serve the 6.75-megawatt project that SPI Solar, an international corporation based in Shanghai, plans to install on 25 housing lots in three Ocean View subdivisions.
      Ranchos residents encourage concerned citizens to submit public comments to the PUC prior to the Consumer Advocate sending information requests to HELCO.
      “HELCO has to justify its request for these very ugly and unnecessary structures,” Ranchos resident Ed NeSmith said. “The more objections we can file, the harder HELCO has to work to overcome them. HELCO will have to work hard to convince the Consumer Advocate that the project is needed, given that there is a surplus of daytime power on the Big Island, and every day, good green power from wind and solar is ‘curtailed’ or not used.”
      Phillis May said, “HELCO will be hard-pressed to make a case that the high rates that HELCO must pay SPI will not drive up the cost of power to all of us on the island. Currently, HELCO charges most retail customers 28.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. Although HELCO has no contract, the feed-in-tariff program mandates that HELCO must pay the developer 23.6 cents per kWh. When HELCO marks this up, our rates will go up, too. This is not a good deal for the ratepayer. I paid 11.5 cents per kWh when I lived in the Bay Area.”
SPI's proposed solar project would require a substation and high-voltage
overhead power line across Hwy 11. Image from SPI
      “HELCO will have to admit that this project is not legal in that it produces more than five megawatts of power,” retired physicist Peter Bosted said. “It should never have been allowed in the FIT program, which was intended for farmers and ranchers. If SPI Solar wants to sell power from a utility-sized installation, SPI must negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement.
      “I hope the Consumer Advocate will look long and hard at all the public comments that have been sent in. Many of them are excellent and really hit the nail on the head. Others paint a picture of residents dismayed at having their neighborhood industrialized.”
      To date, public comments have been overwhelming in opposition to HELCO’s proposal. The PUC received testimony opposing the project from the following individuals and organizations (in chronological order): Kerstin Mueller, Janice Hazen, Phillis May, Thomas Kraft, Mats Fogelvik, Lester Lowe, Kimberly Calverase, Ron Gall, Ed NeSmith, Sandra Mayville, Donald G. Hatch, Ronald Biggs, Hawaiian Ranchos Road Maintenance Corporation, Gary Kneeland, Hoda Hanfy, Jay Hibbard, Karen P. Pucci, Peter and Ann Bosted (with petition signed by 635 people), Janeen Marie, Ka‘ū’s state Representative Richard Creagan, John & Rosemarie O’Connor, Ross Metzger and Ruth Garza. Also, on Feb. 26, a list of Ranchos property owners’ responses to a mid-August letter mailed by Hawaiian Ranchos Community Association’s board was filed.
      Only two testifiers have supported the project: Jim Houston and Patrick McCormick Lee.
      To view public comments and other documents, see http://dms.puc.hawaii.gov/dms/. Type the docket number, 2015-0229, in the Docket Quick Link box and click on go. Then click the Documents tab. Documents are filed chronologically. Each document can be opened by clicking on the icon next to the date.
      Public comments can be submitted at puc.comments@hawaii.gov, with the docket number in the subject line. Public comments can also be mailed to the commission at 465 S. King Street, 1st Floor, Honolulu HI 96813, with recipients Chair Randy Iwase and Commissioners Lorraine Akiba and Michael Champley named in the letter.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Gov. David Ige
OBTAINING A HAWAI`I DRIVER’S LICENSE will be easier for certain foreign citizens after Gov. David Ige signs a bill today. 
      SB 2934 SD2 enables implementation of reciprocal driver’s licenses with foreign jurisdictions by allowing the state Director of Transportation to waive written tests for applicants with recognized licenses.
      The bill also requires all driver’s licenses to include a photograph of the licensee, in compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

GET UP CLOSE TO HAWAI`I’S endemic birds. Volcano Art Center Gallery’s new exhibition opening Saturday, April 30 features Marian Berger’s dramatic, close-up watercolor portraits of native birds. Born in Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of a meteorologist, Berger spent her early childhood on Wake Island and in Alaska, where she acquired her father’s love of science, her mother’s artistic bent and her parents’ mutual love of the outdoors. She focused on abstract painting in her earliest endeavors until she took a class in representational drawing at Humboldt State University. After graduating with a degree in wildlife management, Berger moved to Hawai‘i Island in 1976.
Palila, one of Marian Berger's portraits.
Image from VAC
      Berger had her first one-woman show at VAC Gallery and has had several since. In 1987, she created a series of paintings of Hawai`i’s endangered birds and plants for Aston Kaua`i Resort. An edition of 2,000 prints was published, and proceeds from the sales were given to Hawai‘i Nature Conservancy. In 1988, she painted a number of watercolors presented to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and U.S. Rep. Daniel Akaka for their contributions in preserving Hawai‘i’s native wildlife. In 2009 and 2010, she won top honors for her entries in the Hawai`i Nei Art Contest celebrating native species. In 2006, she was commissioned to paint Living Endemic Birds of Hawai`i, a series of Audubon-style paintings which she completed in 2011. Following its success and the awareness and financial support the exhibition provided to Hawai`i’s Endangered Bird Recovery Programs, discussion on a follow-up project began. Berger’s stunning watercolor close-up of an `i`iwi inspired this new Up Close collection, which then took her more than three years to complete. 
      Continuing in the spirit of John James Audubon’s style, the paintings featured in this collection are presented in classic double-elephant folio size measuring 26 inches by 39.5 inches. “At this scale, the viewer has no choice but to be Up Close and intimate with these special birds, observing details that we would never get to see otherwise,” said gallery manager Emily C. Weiss. Weiss also mentioned that this exhibit begins a series of programs and events benefiting San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai`i’s Endangered Bird Recovery Program, including re-introduction of the Hawaiian ‘alalā this fall.
      The exhibit runs through June 5 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is open to the public and free of charge; park entrance fees apply.
      For more information, see volcanoartcenter.org.

Meet Pete Hoffmann this evening. Portrait by
Kira Kamamalu from Hoffmann
HAWAI`I COUNTY MAYORAL CANDIDATE Pete Hoffmann meets with Ka`u residents today at 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center.
      See more about Hoffmann’s campaign at friendsofpetehoffmann.com.

ECOLOGIST DAVID BENITEZ DISCUSSES some of the most unwanted species in the park, Hawai`i and around the world at After Dark in the Park tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.

LEARN HOW TO CREATE designs on a bamboo stamp and make nose flutes. Staff from Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association and National Park Service rangers share their knowledge and love of two of Hawai`i’s popular traditional arts Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.

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See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April_2016.pdf.