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, May 15, 2017

Ka`u News Briefs Monday, May 15, 2017

Sen. Gil Kahele, who served Ka`u and later Hilo and Puna in the Hawai`i Legislature is honored with a monument
dedicated on Hilo Bay today, Monday. See story below. Photo from Big Island Video News
INDUSTRIAL SIZED SOLAR DEVELOPERS in Ocean View are seen as “colluding with HELCO to rip off ratepayers,” headlined a leading energy blog today. Henry Curtis, of Life of the Land, who is typically supportive of renewable energy projects, criticized developers of the Ocean View project, contending that they are bypassing competitive bidding, which is required for projects that generate more than five megawatts of power. The proposed Ocean View project would be a 6.5 megawatt solar generation facility.
    On his Ililani Media blog, Curtis wrote: “A Beijing developer could have submitted a proposed 6.5 megawatt solar generation facility to Hawai`i Electric Light Company, through either bilateral negotiations or competitive bidding. But in those cases, the developer would get about 11-12 cents per kilowatt-hour. Instead the developer allegedly decided to improperly segment the project into two dozen small projects, that would each individually fall under the Feed-In Tariff process, whereby the developer could get in excess of 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
     “The Public Utilities Commission has noted that the Big Island currently, and in the foreseeable future, has exceeded the State-mandated renewable energy penetration requirements,” explained Curtis. “Therefore, renewable energy projects proposed for the Big Island must reduce rates. However, this project will generate windfall profits to the developer at the expense of Big Island ratepayers.”
Ranchos residents fear their views and their peaceful neighborhood
will be disrupted by industrial solar that would cover entire lots,
replacing trees, and bring a windfall at the expense of ratepayers.
    Curtis quoted the state Consumer Advocate who wrote: "it is apparent that the 26 Solar Project Owners effectively 'gamed' the FIT process in order to avoid going through the more rigorous competitive bidding framework.”
    Stated Curtis, “Under the FiT scheme the owner could be paid up to ten cents per kilowatt-hour higher that under a competitively bid commercial project, thus, the owner of the segmented projects could make windfall profits.”
    Curtis also referred to two dockets before the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). The first (2015-0229) was instituted by HELCO and requested permission for an overhead line to service the project. The second docket (2016-0224) was instituted by Ranchos residents, Peter and Ann Bosted, and is entitled “Complaint against Hawai'i Electric Company (HECO) as administrator of the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) Program and its subsidiary company, Hawai`i Electric Light Company (HELCO) for not holding the developers of a 6.5 megawatt solar project in Ocean View in compliance with the FIT Program.”
    In today’s blog, Curtis highlighted some of the objections made to the PUC, including no site control, not shovel-ready, trading places in the FIT Active Queue and no geographic diversity. Curtis quoted the Bosteds as writing:
    “The FiT program, launched in 2008, had noble goals of moving Hawai’i towards being independent of fossil fuels for electric power. However, as we will explain in this letter and supporting documents, the FIT project intended for Ocean View has completely confounded and disrupted the good intentions of the program. Further, this project embodies everything that has gone wrong with the FIT program.”
    “A fundamental requirement for entering the FiT queue is to have control over the site where a proposed project is to be installed.” In this case, the developer had “neither owned nor leased land when the permits were applied for.” Instead the land was in escrow, explained Curtis.
     Curtis also wrote “FiT proposals are supposed to be shovel-ready. Although the application dates from 2011, the project is still not shovel ready.
     “The FiT Permits were traded between companies. Currently the permits are owned by 17 shell companies which are owned by another shell company named Calwaii Power Holdings, which is largely owned by SPI Solar, a company headquartered in Shanghai and registered in the Cayman Islands.
     “The Public Utilities Commission has promoted the idea of geographic diversity. The Bosted Complaint contends that this idea is not being implemented.”
    Curtis also reported that motions to intervene in the complaint docket made by Life of the Land and Hawai`i Ranchos Road Maintenance Corp. were rejected by the PUC. Life of the Land has been admitted into 41 PUC proceedings since 1971.
    The development would put the solar installations on lots between residences, clearing the ohia and other trees that are common to the area.

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Sen. Kai Kahele at the dedication of a monument to his late father
Sen. Gil Kahele, who served Ka`u and Miloli`i.
Photo by David Corrigan, Big Island Video News.
KAHELE POINT is the name of the place on Hilo Bay where a monument to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele, who represented Ka`u, and later Hilo, was dedicated today. The state Department of Land & Natural Resources gave permission to establish a monument area on the shore facing Moku`ola, Coconut Island, through a resolution at the Hawai`i Legislature. The monument is located on the dock of the Grand Naniloa Hotel on Banyan Drive.
    Kahele lobbied for the new Ka`u High School Gym and emceed former Gov. Neil Abercrombie's inauguration ceremonies, when he took them on the road, meeting the public at the Hawaiian Homes Clubhouse in Kamuela and Pahala Plantation House in Ka`u.
    When the geographic lines for the legislative districts changed and Kahele could no longer represent Ka`u, nor Miloli`i where his family lived as fishermen for generations, he promised to never forget Ka`u. He became a state Senator for Hilo but continued to lobby for Ka`u initiatives.
    The monument on Hilo Bay reads that it is "dedicated in memory of State Senator Gilbert Kahele, his generous aloha spirit, his love for the ocean and this special place....From a grass shack in Miloli`i, on the South Kona coast, Gil went on to dedicate 56 years of his life to public service, first in the United States Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, community development ... and finally the Hawai`i State Senate. He especially focused on assisting children, the underprivileged, the elderly and those without a voice. We are all in this together. Ha`oli Kas Mana`o."
     Upon his death, Gil Kahele's son Kaiali`i Kahele took his post as Senator and won the election last fall. See the dedication ceremony for the monument at Big Island Video News.

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AUDITIONS FOR FINIAN'S RAINBOW, produced by Kilauea Drama & Entertainment Network, as its annual summer musical will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17, at Kilauea Military Camp's Kilauea Theater starting at 6:30 pm. Directing the show will be Suzi Bond, with musical direction by Walter Greenwood.

HAUNANI'S ALOHA EXPRESSIONS entertain Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Enjoy an evening of music and hula of Haunani’s Aloha Expressions. With their handmade colorful costumes and lei, these energetic kūpuna have competed at, and won, various hula festivals. They bring to life the magic of old Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo Manu Heavenly Voices presentations. Free.

Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, May 14, 2017

USGS geologist Don Swanson (in red) and his colleague, Jim Moore, view a car filled with ash deposits
from the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Swanson has longed worked at
Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. See story below. Photo from USGS
HERITAGE MANAGEMENT IS A NEW MASTERS DEGREE at University of Hawai`i-Hilo, with the first graduates on Saturday at the Spring commencement ceremonies. In heritage style, this year's graduates donned Hawaiian cloaks, draped over one shoulder - the red kihei, as requested by U.H. Hilo's student government.
     An environmental and cultural conservationist, Tommy Esang Remengesau, Jr., the President of Palau, gave the commencement address. An internationally known campaigner for sustainability, the Palau President is winner of the Pacific Champion Award for nature conservation and environmental sustainability. He was also presented the Champion of the Earth award from the United Nations. Two of his children and his brother and sister graduated from UH-Hilo.      
U.H-Hilo students wore the Hawaiian cloak during
graduation ceremonies on Saturday.
Photo from Big Island Video News
    During his speech to graduating students and their families, Remengesau compared the good life in Palau with the good life in Hawai`i. "The island is green and clean. The ocean is blue and clear. There is freshness in the air. The culture is alive and strong. The `ohana spirit is felt and seen. People know each other in the community. There's respect and caring in the community and the extended family ties is still strong," said the President of Palau. 
   "One only has to turn on the TV to see or read the newspapers about the sophistication of inner city life of big countries with big population, and the overwhelming problems faced by bigger populations and large societies. My point is there's a lot of civil unrest, terroristic attacks, city smoke, traffic jams, overwhelming pollution, to name a few. But here on the islands we see the beauty of simplicity and this should remind us that we should always be counting our blessings. We should never take these blessings for granted," advised the President of Palau.
    He suggested that "Hawai`i is the perfect example of: The environment is the economy and the economy is the environment. And that's the challenge, right there for all of us. How do we protect and sustain the mother goose that lays the golden eggs? How do we promote growth while protecting our environmental assets? And never forget the environment is not just the green island and the blue ocean. It's the people, the culture, the values, the unique experiences, the `ohana spirit that nurtures and sustains this mother goose. We are learning a lot of good things from the experiences of Hawai`i, what to do, and yes, what not to do."
Palau President Tommy Esang Remengesau gave a talk on 
sustainability and similarities between Palau and Hawai`i at
U.H-Hilo's commencement on Saturday.
     He said that lessons learned in the Pacific are applicable to the broader world. The Palau President lauded the establishement of large marine protected sanctuaries as important to food and economic security in the future. He noted the second largest marine sanctuary in the world is around Hawai`i and the sixth largest preserve in the world is around Palau. It's the size of Texas.
    The Palau President said, "Together we are doing what science is telling us - that we can not continue this rate of harvesting and exploitation of the the ocean's resources without balancing our actions with marine protection areas to ensure repopulation, rehabilitation and sustainability of our resources. 
     "After all, conservation is in the `Ohana spirit to think of others, our children and the next generations to come. And so we must view  the ocean and the land environment not as something that we inherited from our ancestors but something that we are borrowing from our future children. This is the deep bond shared by Hawai`i and Palau. Our cultures respect nature and that is why we have survived for generations," the Palau President told the graduating students.
     Among the students petitioning to graduate at U.H. Hilo were 28 in Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management, 40 from Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language, 52 in Business and Economics and 153 in Pharmacy. There were 25 other undergraduate and graduate degrees.  See the entire commencement on Big Island Video News.

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Aerial view of the May 18, 1980, eruption of Mount St. Helens as
 seen from the southwest. This column of ash and volcanic gas reached 
a height of about 18.2 km (60,000 ft). USGS photo
MOUNT SAINT HELENS' ERUPTION 37 years ago is the subject of this week's Volcano Watch,  the weekly column from Hawaiian Volcano Observator. It is written by USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Don Swanson, who worked on Mount St. Helens before and after the 1980 eruption:
     The morning of May 18, 1980, was warm and sunny in southwestern Washington. At 8:32 a.m., I was in the room with seismographs that had been established in the Forest Service building in Vancouver, 70 km (45 mi) southwest of the volcano. Suddenly, needles on the seismographs wiggled furiously.
     A startled colleague and I watched in amazement as the shaking continued. We realized that something catastrophic was happening at Mount St. Helens. I ran upstairs to radio David Johnston, a friend and colleague who was at an observation post (Coldwater 2) 10 km (6 mi) north of the volcano. Receiving no answer, I raced back downstairs. Though the shaking continued, no one could see the volcano from the building.
     The Forest Service ordered a fire-spotter plane to investigate. About 30 minutes later, when it left Vancouver, I was aboard. A gray columnar cloud towered above a Mount St. Helens that had lost its top, no longer rising gracefully to a peak like Mount Fuji.
     The plane reached the south side of the volcano but, because of ash in the air, couldn’t go farther north. Flying east and west for the next three hours, we observed, photographed, and wondered.
     We had glimpses into the deep crater, around which the upper slope of the volcano was now only a shell. Radio messages told us of mudflows down the Toutle River valley that were threatening the I-5 bridge, but we could see nothing in the valley.
Don Swanson working within Hawai`i Volcanoes National
Park. USGS Photo
     Nearly half a mile wide, the column of ash and volcanic gas rose from the crater to a height of more than 24 km (80,000 ft). The margin of the column was made of bulbous cells that convected internally while rising with the column. Within the column, lightning flashed.
     Eerily, above the droning of the plane’s two engines, we heard nothing from the eruption—like watching a silent movie. Every so often, we saw small flows of ash overtop the crater rim and start down the south flank before stopping.
     Around noon, the ash column, which had been gray, assumed a darker color. Its intensity increased and was almost frightening to us in the plane. Looking over the west crater rim, we saw pyroclastic flows moving northward onto what became known as the Pumice Plain.
      Low on fuel, we returned to Vancouver around 12:45 p.m. I was replaced by another observer and returned to the Forest Service building, certain that David Johnston had perished.
     Sometime in mid-afternoon, I debriefed Harry Glicken, a young geologist who had manned Coldwater 2, where Dave spent his final night. Harry had managed to get a seat on a search-and-rescue helicopter that wended its way up the North Fork Toutle valley. He noticed that the valley was floored by a hummocky debris avalanche deposit. (Harry eventually wrote his Ph.D. dissertation about the avalanche, showing that it formed when the upper north flank of the volcano slid away, opening the crater.)
Don Swanson has studied volano details around the world,
including this tree mold. USGS photo
      The changed topography and murky viewing conditions kept Harry from finding Coldwater 2, where he had spent many days before Dave replaced him the night before. We huddled on an outside balcony for the private debriefing. Tears come to my eyes now, remembering how distraught Harry had been, thinking that if he could only have found Coldwater 2, he might have saved Dave. Days later, he finally accepted that Dave died within a minute after the eruption started.
    Later, I was able to call my wife in Cupertino, California. When she answered, I breathlessly blurted, “Barbara, I’m okay.” There was a long pause before a tentative, puzzled voice replied, “That’s nice.” Surprised by her lack of concern, I explained what had happened. She hadn’t had a radio or TV on all day, knew nothing of the eruption, and had been spared hours of concern.
     Thirty-seven years ago. Fifty-seven dead. Thousands of lives altered. The volcano where I picnicked as a boy, and which I climbed as an adult, had turned nasty. The science of volcanology was changed forever, and today the risks from future eruptions anywhere in the world are lessened because of what happened on that fateful day.
      Additional photos of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens are posted on the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory website: https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/st_helens/st_helens_gallery_23.html

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AUDITIONS FOR FINIAN'S RAINBOW, produced by Kilauea Drama & Entertainment Network, as its annual summer musical will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 16 and 17, at Kilauea Military Camp's Kilauea Theater starting at 6:30 pm. Directing the show will be Suzi Bond, with
musical direction by Walter Greenwood.
     Opening on Broadway in 1947 with music by Burton Lane and lyrics by E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (who wrote the lyrics for 1939's The Wizard of Oz), Finian's Rainbow was an unexpected smash that generated one pop classic after another: How Are Things In Glocca Morra?, Old Devil Moon, and Look To The Rainbow to name but three. 
     Finian moves to the southern United States (the fictional state of Missitucky from Ireland with his daughter Sharon, to bury a stolen pot of gold near Fort Knox, in the mistaken belief that it will grow and will change people's lives, KCF_RackCard2.jpgincluding a struggling farmer and local citizens. A leprechaun follows them, desperate to recover his treasure before the loss of it turns him permanently human. Complications arise when a bigoted and corrupt U.S. Senator gets involved, and when wishes are made inadvertently over the hidden crock.
    There are parts for all ages. There are non singing roles in this cast. Primary roles include Finian, his daughter Sharon, Og the leprechaun, Woody Mahoney, town leader and Sharon's love interest, and Susan Woody's mute sister who “talks” through her dancing. There are parts for the Senator, a gospel quartet, and townsfolk, including Henry who translates for Susan, and Maude.
     For more information contact KDEN at 982-7344 or kden73@aol.com.

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HAUNANI'S ALOHA EXPRESSIONS entertain Wednesday, May 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Kīlauea Visitor Center Auditorium. Enjoy an evening of music and hula of Haunani’s Aloha Expressions. With their handmade colorful costumes and lei, these energetic kūpuna have competed at, and won, various hula festivals. They bring to life the magic of old Hawai‘i. Part of Hawai‘i Volcanoes’ ongoing Nā Leo ManuHeavenly Voices presentations. Free.