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, July 16, 2016

Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Saturday, July 16, 2016

Learn about the People & Lands of Kahuku tomorrow. See more below. NPS Photo by Julia Espaniola
LACK OF POLICE SERVICE to Ocean View was a major topic at a forum with candidates for Hawai`i County Council District VI yesterday. Incumbent Maile David, of Captain Cook, and challenger Raina Whiting, of Ocean View, spoke with about 45 constituents at Ocean View Community Center. 
      Moderator Mike DuBois asked, “How can we get police to spend more time here?”
      Whiting said the issue is “at the heartbeat of Ocean View’s problems. We need that support here.”
Moderator Mike Dubois poses a question to County Council District VI
incumbent Maile David and challenger Raina Whiting, at tables.
Photo by Ron Johnson
      David said she has spoken with the Police Department and that lack of secure communication equipment is part of the problem. She said that while the county-owned fire station has such equipment that safeguards personal information, Ocean View’s police substation is rented, and the county doesn’t want to install the equipment there. She said the county is looking for a facility to accommodate that need. “We need more money to fund these services,” she said.
      Whiting suggested that more transient accommodations tax funds from the state would help, but David pointed out that when mayors ask for more, “the state shuts them down.”
      One resident, a former police officer, said, he “couldn’t believe the absence of police” when he moved here. “The criminal mind knows that we’re in an area where they know they can get away with (crime).”
      Whiting said, “The police don’t serve us. We need to keep the Police Department accountable.”
      One resident cited police officers’ inaction regarding filing reports. He said burglary victims, for example, need reports when filing claims, but police hesitate to make reports.
      Another said the problem is larger than the Police of Prosecutor Departments. She said meth is a major contributor to crime and that it’s the same people committing multiple burglaries. “We know who they are,” she said.
      “Meth needs to be dealt with medically, not judicially,” she said. She suggested the need to bring agencies together to solve the problem. “Politicians need to learn about addiction and how to deal with it.”
      David said the council “can encourage the state but can’t make the state do anything,” as far as increasing funding for more police service.
      Whiting said, “I don’t believe in obstacles” and looks for ways to move forward. 
      See more on the forum in future Ka`u Calendar News Briefs.
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Chris Manfredi spoke on coffee quality at Ka`u Coffee College
in May. Photo by Julia Neal
CHRIS MANFREDI IS THE NEW president of Hawai`i Coffee Association. Members voted for officers Thursday during HCA’s 21st annual conference at King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. Manfredi is a Ka`u Coffee broker and organizes the annual Ka`u Coffee Festival. At the conference, he offered a presentation on Hawai`i Quality Ag.
      Manfredi and his daughter Ashley were volunteers at Hawai`i Coffee Association’s booth at April’s Specialty Coffee Association of America convention. Hawai`i was promoted as The Coffee State, and they helped to promote May’s Ka`u Coffee Festival and Ka`u Coffees.
      See results of HCA’s cupping competition in tomorrow’s Ka`u Calendar News Briefs.
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HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION yesterday rejected Hawaiian Electric Companies’ and NextEra Energy’s proposed merger.
Randy Iwase Photos from Hawai`i PUC
      Commissioners Randy Iwase and Lorraine Akiba concluded that while the applicants demonstrated that NextEra is fit, willing and able to perform the services currently offered by HECO Companies, they failed to demonstrate that the application is reasonable and in the public interest. Thomas Gorak, who took office on July 1, abstained. The commissioners concluded that benefits offered by applicants are both inadequate and uncertain. The applicants proposed a combination of rate credits, investment funds and a rate case moratorium, but the commission concluded that each of these lacked sufficient assurances that they would translate into tangible, enforceable benefits to ratepayers. The commission concluded that applicants’ calculations were based on “assumptions and/or unrealistic expectations about the future that were vigorously challenged in the proceeding. Additionally, applicants had not offered any reliable means to track these estimated benefits to determine whether or not they actually occurred, nor did they propose an enforcement or penalty mechanism, in the event that such benefits did not result.”
      The commission also concluded that applicants had not offered sufficient protection to HECO Companies and their ratepayers to offset risks presented by NextEra’s complex corporate structure. NextEra is a large corporate family, with hundreds of affiliates and subsidiaries. It expressed serious concern over risk posed by potential bankruptcy of NextEra and/or one of its many subsidiaries or affiliates.
Lorraine Akiba
      With respect to the state’s clean energy goals, the commission concluded that applicants failed to put forth near-term commitments for specific action tailored to Hawai`i’s circumstances and goals. “Applicants’ commitments were in the nature of providing ‘best efforts’ and maintaining existing practices and standards,” they said. Also, the commission noted applicants’ lack of specific commitments relating to Distributed Energy Resources, “which runs contrary to Hawai`i’s status as a national leader in integrating high levels of distributed solar photovoltaic systems.”
      The commission concluded that applicants’ proposed commitments the state’s clean energy goals were too broad and vague to be consistent with the public interest.
      While local regulatory control would not be diminished, the commission concluded that applicants had failed to adequately demonstrate how the proposed Change of Control would affect local governance. “In particular, applicants failed to provide corporate governance documents that would allow the commission to sufficiently analyze the roles, function and limitations of NextEra’s proposed local intermediary holding companies,” the PUC stated. “Consequently, applicants did not provide any details to reassure the Commission that the local interests of Hawai`i would not suffer as a result of this change in corporate structure.”
Thomas Gorak
      The commission also concluded that applicants had not adequately demonstrated that competition would be preserved if the Change of Control were approved. Given the increased complexity that would result from the HECO Companies joining a large corporate family with extensive affiliates and subsidiaries, of which many are involved in the same energy markets, the commission concluded that additional safeguards would be necessary. “In this regard, the vommission concluded that applicants had failed to meet their burden, as they did not provide for an immediate revision to the competitive rules governing solicitation of projects, nor did they sufficiently take into account the commercial appetites of many of the companies with whom the HECO Companies would now be affiliated,” commissioners said.
      The PUC emphasized that it is not precluding HECO from seeking another partner or from renewing discussions with NextEra. As part of its decision, the commission included a section that provides guidance on key elements that should serve as a foundation for any future applications seeking a change of control of the HECO Companies.
      The complete Decision and Order, as well as links to the docket record, may be found at http://puc.hawaii.gov/.
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PEOPLE AND LANDS OF KAHUKU is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The hike begins tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
Palila by Marian Berger
      Emerging native forest, pastures, lava fields and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of the park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped and restored this land.
      Enter on the mauka side of Hwy 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, rain gear, sun protection and snacks are recommended.
      See nps.gov/havo.

UP CLOSE CLOSES tomorrow. Marian Berger’s exhibit at Volcano Art Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park features ten dramatic watercolor portraits of Hawai`i’s native birds in double-elephant folio size.
      A significant percentage of sales of the limited edition giclées of both Up Close and Berger’s Living Endemic Birds of Hawai`i supports endangered bird recovery programs on Hawai`i. One hundred percent of sales of the originals of the Up Close collection supports San Diego Zoo Global’s roll in the re-introduction of the Hawaiian `Alala this fall, as well as the Volcano Art Center’s public programs.
      See volcanoartcenter.org.

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See kaucalendar.com/news/news.html.