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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Ka‘ū News Briefs, Thursday, March 10, 2022

Halema'uma'u Lava Lake Lights the Sky 
Halema'uma'u lights up the sky from its lava lake on Wednesday at a lookout in
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. See www.facebook.com/hawaiivolcanoesnps 
NPS photo by Janice Wei

UKRAINE CONFLICT WILL LIKEY LEAD TO A TWENTY PERCENT HIKE IN ELECTRIC BILLS ON THIS ISLAND during the next few months, according to Hawaiian Electric. The company posted an explanation at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/billing-and-payment/how-the-ukraine-conflict-is-affecting-your-electric-bill. The headline is: How the Ukraine conflict is affecting your electric bill.
    The statement from Hawaiian Electric says: "Customers should be prepared to see a sharp increase in electric bills because of the instability in the world energy market caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the U.S. and other nations are isolating Russia economically and refusing to buy Russian oil.
    "We’re telling you now so you can plan your budget and take steps to reduce your energy use."
     Hawaiian Electric explains that "two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, the cost of a barrel of oil fell to $18. It’s now close to $120. These bill increases are on top of inflation driven by the post-pandemic economic recovery and higher oil prices.
    "The international community’s support for Ukraine, including the decision by the U.S. and other countries to suspend the purchases of Russian oil, and the economic sanctions placed on Russia are leading to higher prices at the gas pump and in your electric bill."
    Hawaiian Electric informs customers that "You shouldn’t worry about our fuel supply for generating electricity. Our fuel supplier is no longer buying Russian oil but there are plenty of places to buy oil on the world market, so supply isn’t an issue.      The utility notes that "Fuel costs are passed through to customers, Hawaiian Electric makes no profit on it. Under a fuel-cost risk-sharing regulatory mechanism, the company’s shareholders may be required to pay some of the cost when oil prices rise, resulting in a slightly lower rate for customers."
    Hawaiian Electric advises that it can not "say with certainty when prices will stabilize. In the best case, we may see some reduction starting this summer. But that’s difficult to predict given the uncertainty of the international situation. If the war in Ukraine continues and more countries choose not to buy Russian oil, the price could surge higher."
    Production of electricity on this island is far from total dependence on imported oil. Hawai'i Island reached a high level of independence in 2021 with a full year of using geothermal power, following its shutdown during the 2018 lava flows. Wind, hydroelectric and solar also contribute to the island's growing energy independence. Last year, Hawai'i Island recached a 60 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard - RPS, which measures independence from fossil fuels, but there remains partial dependence on oil.    Regarding prices on the other islands, Hawaiian Electric announced a likely increase of 20 percent for Maui, Lana'i and Moloka'i, which have an RPS of 38 percent. A price increase of 10 percent is expected on O'ahu where RPS is 32.8 percent. Kaua'i's electricity is provided by the community run Kaua'i Island Utility Cooperative, which has not yet forecast an increase.

    Joe Viola, senior vice president of customer, legal and regulatory affairs for Hawaiian Electric said, “The increases we’re anticipating are more abrupt than we’ve seen before and, on top of the inflation we’ve all experienced in recent months, I know they will impact the budgets of many households. We hope that by letting customers know what’s coming this helps households and businesses plan budgets and reduce energy use.” Hawaiian Electric encouraged customers to consider options available to help manage energy bills. Links to resources are available at hawaiianelectric.com. Hawaii Energy is another resource that offers rebates and practical energy-saving tips at hawaiienergy.com.
    A statement from Hawaiian Electric recommended the following actions now:
    Reduce the use of anything that generates heat – water heater, oven, clothes dryer, stove. Consider a heat pump water heater, now available with a $500 rebate from Hawaii Energy – it could cut your the energy bill by up to 40%.
    Turn off air conditioning or set it at 78 degrees. Even turning it off for an hour helps.
    Use smart plugs or unplug electronics when not in use, including computers, printers, cable boxes, game devices, chargers.
    Consider rooftop solar. Shared solar will soon be available for customers who can’t put panels on their own roof but want to share in the savings and contribute to Hawaii’s clean energy transformation.    When gas prices are high, electric vehicles can help reduce overall energy spending, especially if with special rates that provide incentives to charge at certain times of the day with lower rates.
    Power Partnerships are a way residential and commercial customers can get financial rewards for signing up with independent companies called “grid-service aggregators” under contract with the utility. These companies recruit customers with solar, batteries, electric vehicles and other load flexibility devices to combine or “aggregate” their services to support the grid. Customers are rewarded, generally with credits that reduce their monthly bills, says the Hawaiian Electric statement.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

JOSH GREEN HAS WON THE ENDORSEMENT OF HGEA, THE LARGEST OF THE HAWAI'I PUBLIC WORKERS UNIONS. Hawai'i Government Employees Union made the announcement today. Green said, "Throughout the pandemic, HGEA members showed up every day to keep our state running, and I am so thankful to have their support!"
    The union said Green, a physician and the Lieutenant Governor, is the HGEA choice for a governor to lead the state out of the pandemic. HGEA pointed to his experience as Lt. Governor. He also served in the state Senate and state House of Representatives. 

Hawai'i Government Employees Association, the public workers union,
endorsed Lt. Gov. Josh Green for governor on Thursday. HGEA photo

    He started his medical career in Kaʻū after finishing his residency to become a doctor. Regarding Covid 19, HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira said, “Josh Green was out there volunteering his time, making sure that we were taking precautions as necessary and doing what was necessary to keep us as a community safe. The other thing that I can say about Josh is that at the time when we were facing the worst of the crisis — the fear, the anxiety — Josh Green was often the voice of reason publicly.”

    Affordable housing and shelter for the homeless are two of his causes. Already in the race are former Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, former Hawaii First Lady Vicky Cayetano, Aloha Freedom Coalition Organizer Gary Cordero and City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

HALA PEPE IS THE PLANT OF THE  MONTH for the March Lāʻau Letters: Native Plants of Kaʻū, the column by Jodie Rosam and artist Joan Yoshioka that explains their moʻolelo (stories), uses, preferred habitats, and opportunities to adopt them for stewardship. This column seeks to encourage making new plant friends and to reunite with others. Hala pepe is Dracaena konaensis.
    Description: There are six endemic species in the Agavaceae family, each either island- or region-specific. Only one species, Dracaena konaensis, is endemic to Hawaiʻi Island, and it is listed as endangered. Easily mistaken for the "Money Tree" (a cousin to hala pepe) to the untrained eye, hala pepe have an interesting appearance, with simple and slender leaves clustered near the top of a branch. The
abundant and showy yellow flowers appear dangling on a long inflorescence, giving way to reddish berries once pollinated. Hala pepe are dioecious, meaning their flowers contain both male and female parts. In ideal conditions, hala pepe can reach 10 meters tall (~33 feet) and have multiple trunks. However, due to fire and grazing pressures by both feral and pastured ungulates, many remaining wild plants show signs of damage, and natural recruitment is little to non-existent (rodents love to eat the ripe fruits).
    Uses: Medicinally, hala pepe bark and leaves are combined with several other lāʻau (including ʻuhaloa root bark, pōpolo, and a section of kō kea) to treat fever and chills, and combined with others to treat asthma and breathing troubles. Hala pepe trunks were traditionally used to make kiʻi, and branches were used to decorate altars, including those for Laka. Hala pepe is a significant hula lāʻau, representing Kapo (a Goddess of Hula), and its flowers are strung in lei.
    Habitat: Kaʻū is one of the of only three moku on Hawaiʻi Island in which D. konaensis remain, in addition to the Hōlei Pali in Puna, and Puʻu Waʻa Waʻa and Kaʻūpūlehu in North Kona. Hala pepe prefer dry forests on old ʻaʻā flows in full sun and open canopies, at elevations between 300-860 meters (~985-2,800 feet). This habitat preference suggests parts of Ocean View and Ranchos are ideal conditions for hala pepe (where it was undoubtedly more abundant historically). Although one of Kaʻū's beloved hala pepe (located just makai of the highway in Kahuku) died several years ago, there are still several remaining - keep your eyes peeled!
Hala Pepe growing at Sustainable
Bioresources in Discovery Harbour.
Photo from Ed Rau
    Growing and Purchasing: Because Hawaiʻi Island's hala pepe is endangered, collection of hala pepe seeds and materials requires special permits through the State, and it is best to seek adoption opportunities from registered nurseries like Future Forests. Although hala pepe are not common in the home landscape, they should be! Requiring virtually no maintenance other than a location with full sun and well-draining soil, preferably on ʻaʻā, these plants are extremely drought and wind tolerant, and do not require much (if any) fertilization treatments. Consider making hala pepe a landscape accent on your property if you have the proper elevation, rainfall, and drainage conditions for it to thrive.

HALA PEPE BLOOMS IN DISCOVERY HARBOUR. Ed Rau, founder of Sustainable Bioresources, reports growing two of the rare plants from seedlings obtained several years ago from the Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden. One has reached maturity and is now in full bloom. If it is pollinated, "seeds should form and be ready for planting and starting new seedlings in the fall," said Rau. See www.sustainablebioresources.com.

See To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.

HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES is live at KMC's Kilauea Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through March 20. Tickets are $15 at the door. For reservations and more, call 808-982-7344. The comedy by Alan Ayckbourn is presented by Kilauea Drama & Entertainment Network, which explains:
    Set in the autumn of 1969, the show centers around three couples. Fiona Foster and Bob Phillips are having an affair unbeknownst to their spouses Frank Foster and Teresa Phillips. To cover it up they invent cover stories that involve a third couple, William and Mary Detweiler. which leads to farcical misunderstandings, conflicts and revelations.
    How the Other Half Loves has a single set, which represents two separate but over-lapping living rooms which allows the action to take place in both rooms simultaneously.
   Six veteran Hilo actors take the stage to portray the three couples. Mark Rawlings and Celaney Carpenter are Frank and Fiona Foster, Ray Ryan and Joanne Pocsidio are Bob and Teresa Phillips, and Murphy Bierman and Joy Bierman are William and Mary Detweiler. They are under the direction of Suzi Bond. Don Lawrence is set designer, Helie Rock is costuming and John Kea is light and sound designer. 

The cast of How the Other Half Loves, now playing at
KMC's Kilauea Theatre. Photo from KDEN.org
    The director said, “This is one of the first shows I worked on 50 years ago. I was the prop master and this show has a lot of props. It has been a blast to revisit the show and see how well it holds up. From the first rehearsal there has been lots of laughter. We spent the first three rehearsals just reading through the play so that everyone had a clear understanding of how the flow of the show works. Once we started blocking it was kinda slow going making sure that we were able to keep the action flowing. We have such a small stage it has been a challenge. I think people will be amazed at how much is on the stage and how everyone moves freely in the space."
    How the Other Half Loves is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. (www.concordtheatricals.com). Also see KDEN.org.

See To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see www.facebook.com/kaucalendar/. See latest print edition at www.kaucalendar.com. See upcoming events at https://kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com/2022/03/upcoming-events-for-kau-and-volcano.html.
                     SEE UPCOMING EVENTS IN KAʻŪ & VOLCANO

See March edition of The Kaʻū Calendar newspaper at