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.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Friday, April 29, 2016

Hike to the top of Pu`u o Lokuana tomorrow. See more below. NPS Photo by Jessica Ferracane
HAWAI`I COUNTY’S LAND CLASSIFICATION system is what allowed development of a 6.75-megawatt solar project in Ocean View Ranchos and other subdivisions, former Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission Chair Mina Morita explained on her blog at minamoritaenergydynamics.com
      “The problem starts with the number of substandard subdivisions that were created over 40 years ago on Hawai`i Island,” Morita said. “Not wanting to have to bear the responsibility and costs of providing county services to these remote subdivisions, these non-conforming residential subdivisions with substandard infrastructure were identified as Agriculture rather than Rural in the state land use classification system.
Map shows residences in relation
to solar project lots.
      “While the Office of Planning is advocating to tackle the issue with a broad stroke, the situation needs to be addressed with finesse, as it has nothing to do with the use of agricultural lands. 
      “This classification was done for the county’s convenience of not wanting to provide county services rather than the use and preservation of agricultural lands for agricultural purposes. Therefore, these early subdivisions should be recognized for what they are, non-conforming residential subdivisions, not agricultural lots.
      Morita argued in support of House Bill 2636, which is moving forward at Hawai`i’s Legislature. The bill would require special permit approval in order to place solar energy facilities with a capacity of more than twenty-five kilowatts in certain lots within the agricultural district.
      “Siting of solar projects on agricultural classified lands is not the sole issue here,” Morina said. “This bill is necessary as the result of multiple and systemic failures regarding our land use classification system, permitting processes and the misapplication of the feed-in-tariff program by an opportunistic developer taking full advantage of failures and loopholes within various state and county agencies with disparate missions and functions and uncoordinated actions.
      “These solar projects confound the purpose of FIT program and in the aggregate, obviated the competitive bidding process for utility scale projects. The FIT program which was approved in 2010 by the PUC was a way to incentivize renewable energy installations with a standardized tariff for projects that were ‘shovel-ready,’ that could come online quickly. The developer went on a buying acquisition in Ocean View, and while the lots sat in escrow, the developer went on to dominate the FIT program, placing these supposedly ‘shovel-ready’ projects in the queue back in 2011.
      “Almost six years later, these projects still would require PUC approval for a new substation and transmission line (the applications are currently pending before the PUC) before they can be built. So much for being ‘shovel-ready’ and with the huge drops in panel pricing, the changing energy landscape, the FIT tariff would be a huge windfall for the opportunistic developer.”
      “Hawai`i’s 100 percent renewable goal should not be done at any cost, and this type of project is no longer needed, no longer timely and, therefore, not in the public interest. Just because this is in a remote area, this gross calamity should not be overlooked. This is just another eye-opener as to the failure of our land-use policies and a disconnection with our energy policies.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Aedes aegypti carries dengue fever and other mosquito-borne
diseases. Photo from Hawai`i Department of Health
DENGUE FEVER IS A SEASONAL DISEASE, Na`alehu resident Edward Rau has determined through his research. Rau recently retired as Environmental Health Director in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, where he was on active duty for 30 years. He also has over 40 years of professional experience in environmental health practice and is a Licensed Environmental Health Specialist. 
      “After studying outbreak patterns from previous outbreaks in Hawai`i, it was apparent to me that dengue is typically a seasonal disease significantly regulated by the temperature exposure of mosquitos, not rainfall or wind levels,” Rau said. “Based on this, in late November near the height of the outbreak, I predicted that the outbreak would end soon, first in the eastern side of Hawai`i Island where Aedes aegypti, the most efficient mosquito vector of dengue, is largely absent. Then the outbreak would end islandwide by mid-winter, or continue with a low level of sporadic cases. I compiled data to support these predictions and recommended that it be used in planning response activities. This information was sent to multiple civil defense and elected officials but no response was received.
      “The course of the outbreak followed exactly the pattern that I predicted. A State of Emergency was declared, and response efforts were ramped up after the outbreak was essentially over.
      “While I am glad to see that the outbreak has abated, I question the timing of both the Emergency Declaration and now the pending official announcement that it is over. While the outbreak may not meet DOH’s technical criteria for being over, in my opinion, it effectively ended two months ago.
      “I don’t mean to diminish the risks posed by dengue, zika, chikungunya and other emerging mosquito-borne diseases in Hawai`i. There is a dire need to rebuild control programs, make concerted efforts to reduce or eradicate populations of mosquitos, rats and other disease vectors and greatly improve preparedness for future outbreaks. However, we will waste resources and confuse the public if declarations and response efforts are ill-timed, ignoring the seasonal patterns of diseases. Yes, we need to continue to ‘Fight the Bite,’ but we also learn to ‘Fight the Bite Smart.’”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

George D. Szigeti
“KNOWING THE DENGUE FEVER outbreak has been halted is welcome news for Hawai`i’s tourism industry, especially for the travel partners, employees and residents who rely on its continued success,” said George D. Szigeti, president and CEO of Hawai`i Tourism Authority, who participated in Hawai`i officials’ announcement yesterday that 30 days have passed since the last confirmed case of dengue fever. “Travelers considering a visit to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming months can make their plans with confidence and without the hesitation that dengue may have been causing them.”
      Commenting on Hawai`i’s visitor statistics for March 2016, Szigeti said, “Hawai`i’s tourism industry is fortunate to have enjoyed a strong first quarter, one that has the state ahead of last year’s record-setting pace. However, success in tourism is never guaranteed from year-to-year and even month-to-month. We all know too well in Hawai`i how rapidly tourism’s prospects can falter due to factors beyond our control.
      While HTA plans to continue an aggressive marketing campaign, “it’s the aloha, hospitality and commitment to celebrating the Hawaiian culture by our residents and tourism industry professionals that sets these beautiful islands apart from our competing destinations,” Szigeti said. “We will continue to strive for that important balance of welcoming our visitors, protecting our environment, supporting the industry and respectfully honoring our culture. Mahalo everyone for contributing to tourism’s success and making Hawai`i such a wonderful place to live and visit.”
Paul and Jane Field lead tomorrow's Centennial Hike. Photo from NPS
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

SAVE THE SUMMIT UNDERSTORY during Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Centennial Hike tomorrow at 9 a.m. Meet near the flagpole outside Kilauea Visitor Center to lop invasive Himalayan ginger from the native Hawaiian rainforest.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park offers a free one-hour program tomorrow. Pu`u o Lokuana is a short, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone. Participants learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u. Meet near the parking area at 9:30 a.m.

TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE for Jazz in the Forest. Two shows tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village feature guitarists Reggie Griffin and Curt Warren with Volcano Art Center's Jazz Ensemble.
Volcano Art Center Gallery celebrates May Day
on Sunday. Photo from VAC
      See volcanoartcenter.org, or call 967-8222.

MAY DAY IS LEI DAY at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The celebration honors the unique way Hawai`i’s multi-cultural traditions are woven together to create a more interesting, more tolerant and more beautiful community.
      Volcano Art Center Gallery holds its festive May Day program on Sunday from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. on the gallery porch.
      With hundreds of fragrant blossoms and plant materials provided by the Volcano Art Center Gallery, participants learn tips to sewing the perfect lei, the proper protocol of giving and receiving a lei and more.
      Join the Lono Kanaka`ole Trio featuring Christy Lassiter with impromptu hula by Noe Noe Kekaualua and lei making with Desiree Moana Cruz.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.