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Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Kaʻū News Briefs, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023

Nā'alehu Elementary School 3rd and 4th graders take a field trip to Subaru Telescope and 'Imiloa. See more below.
Photo from Subaru Telescope

NĀ'ĀLEHU SOLAR GOES BEFORE THE PUBLIC on Thursday, Jan. 26 at a meeting to be held at Nā'alehu Community Center from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The solar will take up a small portion, 20 acres of the 176-acre parcel makai of Hwy 11 near Nā'alehu and Waiohinu. The plan by project owners Nexamp is for the solar to start feeding the Hawaiian Electric grid by June of 2025.
     The proposal is for agricultural land, where solar is an allowed activity. According to Nexamp, the solar farm would serve about 500 households who would sign up for the program and save an average of about 15 percent on Hawaiian Electric Bills. 
    A minimum of 60 percent of those receiving electricity through the Nexamp program must be low to moderate income households as rated by U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development. The rest of the subscribers would be non-profits, including government agencies.    Nexamp representatives said the site was chosen to minimize cultural and environmental impacts and visibility. Nāʻālehu Solar is planned to be a 3.5 MG plus battery facility. 
Location of the planned Nāʻālehu Solar farm, which
would take up a 20-acre portion of a 176 acre site.
Image from Nexamp

     Nexamp's website notes that "Hawai'i is
moving away from fossil fuels and into a renewable future. Nāʻālehu Solar is designed to support the island’s goal of being 100% renewable by 2045. The project, located south of Mamalahoa Highway, will generate clean power, build grid reliance, and lower electricity costs..... Nexamp will finance, construct, own and operate the project. We plan to use local labor at prevailing wages for construction and ongoing maintenance and have already established relationships with local contractors."
    Nexamp calls its program the "Utility of the Future" and says, "We’re working with communities, businesses, and municipalities to democratize clean energy and support U.S. energy independence." See more at nexamp.com/naalehu-solar.
      Nexamp's Nāʻālehu Solar is one of seven projects recently chosen by Hawaiian Electric for a shared solar program, to offer savings through solar energy for those unable to install solar panels. 
    Nexamp also operates in Illinois, New York, Minnesota, Maine and other locations. 

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SUBARU TELESCOPE WELCOMED SOME 100 NĀ'ALEHU ELEMENTARY third and fourth graders recently to its Hilo base facility. The Subaru Stars program brings astronomy and STEM education to 
Nā'alehu Elementary School 3rd and 4th graders visit telescope
simulator at Subaru Telescope's base facility. Photo form Subaru
students across Hawai'i Island. The field trip, in partnership with 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, allowed students to enjoy a fun-filled day exploring both facilities, where they learned about exoplanets, astronomy, super computers, telescope operations, and more.
    "Most of us were inspired by experiences in our childhood that led to our future occupations," said Subaru Telescope director Satoshi Miyazaki. "I hope the visiting students were excited about what they learned about Subaru Telescope."
    "Whether it was soaring through the solar system looking at stars through 3D glasses, learning about a 100-eye monster PANOPTES citizen science project, checking out the Subaru Telescope simulator, or lassoing the moon, every second of the excursion was maximized with intriguing scientific discovery," said the statement from Subaru.
    Nine-year-old Makamae Tayamen said a favorite part of the field trip was learning about PANOPTES (Panoptic Astronomical Networked 
Observatories for a Public Transiting Exoplanets Survey), a citizen science project based at the Subaru Telescope office that aims to build low-cost robotic telescopes that can be used to detect transiting exoplanets. "We learned that the PANOPTES robot wakes up at night and looks at the stars and finds planets, then it sleeps in the day. When it finds planets and stars, [the astronomers] put all that information into a computer and learn about the planets."
    At 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, senior planetarium technician and educator Emily Peavy discussed what is going on in the solar system and which planets could be seen with the naked eye in the skies above the Big Island that very evening. She also talked about past lava flows on the moon. Students learned about what makes the sun a star, the different types of planets in our solar system (rocky and gaseous) and the difference between a planet and a dwarf planet.
    "My favorite part of 'Imiloa was when I went to the planetarium because we sat down and pretended to lasso the moon," said nine-year old Evelyn Cardwell. "It really looked like the moon was coming closer!"
    'Imiloa Astronomy Center school group education program facilitator Chrissy Ghiasi said, "Having the opportunity to interact with scientists who live and work in Hilo and who can share about the science happening right here on our island can inspire students in a very unique way by making the information that much more relevant.
Nā'alehu Elementary School 3rd and 4th graders cruise through space
with Subaru Telescope's Dr. Kumiko Usuda-Sato as their guide.
Photo from Subaru Telescope
   Providing students with opportunities to interact with exhibits or having the experience of learning in the planetarium can ignite their curiosity and create connections about what they are learning that will become deeply ingrained as they continue on their journey as students."
    Subaru Telescope and 'Imiloa Astronomy Center plan additional student trips in 2023 as part of the Subaru Stars program to bring this type of educational experience to students in underserved communities. Subaru Stars program was established in 2022 as a way to bring astronomy and STEM education to students and communities across Hawai'i Island, whether it be traveling to school campus settings or bringing students directly to our Hilo base facility. The traveling program focuses on hands-on, engaging activities to ignite an interest (and perhaps a future career) in astronomy, science, technology, engineering and mathematics-related fields. 
    The base facility program encourages students to get excited about learning about astronomy. They see a super computer in action, learn about daily telescope operations, use virtual reality to explore the cosmos, and experience all the amazing work being done by Subaru Telescope in the field of astronomy right here on Hawai'i Island.
    The Subaru Telescope is an 8.2 meter optical-infrared telescope at the summit of Maunakea. It is operated by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences . One of Subaru Telescope's main missions, in addition to telescope operations and astronomical discoveries, is to foster education in the next generation of researchers.The observatory of Subaru Telescope was officially established in April 1997.

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THE FIFTH ANNUAL KEIKI WATER CONSERVATION POSTER CONTEST IS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS through Friday, March 10. The county Department of Water Supply invites Hawai‘i Island students attending kindergarten through the sixth grade to enter the contest themed Our Water, Our Future, Conserve It.
A previous winner in the Keiki Water Conservation poster contest,
open for submissions through March 10. See www.hawaiidws.org.
A previous winner in the Keiki Water Conservation poster contest,
open for submissions through March 10. See www.hawaiidws.org.
    To encourage more keiki to learn about conserving water, Dept. of Water Supply is including sixth-grade students for the first time. Prizes will be awarded first and second place entrants from each grade level K-6, as chosen by a panel of judges, for a maximum total of 14 winners island-wide. The Department will announce winning entries at a future meeting of the Water Board of the County of Hawai‘i.
    Friday, March 10 is the deadline to submit an original artwork illustrating Our Water, Our Future, Conserve It on a flat, 11- by 17-inch paper. Any medium may be used, except for three-dimensional renderings, chalk, charcoal and oil-based crayon. No computer graphics or photographs will be accepted. Make sure each poster lists the artist’s name in legible print.
Each poster submission should be accompanied by a completed entry form available below, at www.hawaiidws.org, via email by contacting dws@hawaiidws.org or by calling DWS on regular working
Submissions are open to keiki from K through Sixth
grade with deadline March 10. See www.hawaiidws.org

days at (808) 961-8050. There is no charge to enter. Contest entries should be mailed to DWS in Hilo or dropped off in designated bins at DWS’ offices in Hilo, Kona or Waimea by Friday, March 10. Address locations and additional contest rules are listed on the attached entry form and at www.hawaiidws.org.
The free contest aims to highlight the importance of reducing water waste and protecting drinking water supplies. "It challenges keiki to utilize artistic ways of conserving our most precious resource – safe drinking water," says the statement from Dept. Of Water Supply. Conservation ideas, including the video Save Water to Help the Earth, are posted under the “Conservation” link at www.hawaiidws.org.
Founded in 1949, Department of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous agency of County of Hawai‘i. The Department’s mission is to provide customers with an adequate and continuous supply of safe drinking water through the operation of its 23 separate water systems that combined deliver about 25 million gallons of water each day to Hawai‘i Island communities.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest print edition at kaucalendar.com, in the mail and on stands.
St. Jude's Hot Meals are free to those in need on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until food runs out, no later than noon. Volunteers from the community are welcome to help and can contact Karen at pooch53@gmail.com. Location is 96-8606 Paradise Circle Drive in Ocean View. Those in need can also take hot showers from 9 a.m. to noon and use the computer lab from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Free Meals Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are served from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Nā'ālehu Hongwanji. Volunteers prepare the food provided by 'O Ka'ū Kākou with fresh produce from its gardens on the farm of Eva Liu, who supports the project. Other community members also make donations and approximately 150 meals are served each day, according to OKK President Wayne Kawachi.

Volcano Evening Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village, Thursdays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with live music, artisan crafts, ono grinds, and fresh produce. See facebook.com.

Volcano Swap Meet, fourth Saturday of the month from 8 a.m. to noon. Large variety of vendors with numerous products. Tools, clothes, books, toys, local made healing extract and creams, antiques, jewelry, gemstones, crystals, food, music, plants, fruits, and vegetables. Also offered are cakes, coffee, and shave ice. Live music.

Volcano Farmers Market, Cooper Center, Volcano Village on Sundays, 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., with local produce, baked goods, food to go, island beef and Ka'ū Coffee. EBT is used for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly Food Stamps. Call 808-967-7800.

'O Ka'ū Kākou Market, Nā'ālehu, Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Nadine Ebert at 808-938-5124 or June Domondon 808-938-4875. See facebook.com/OKauKakouMarket.

Ocean View Community Market, Saturdays and Wednesdays, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of Kona Drive and Highway 11, where Thai Grindz is located. Masks mandatory. 100-person limit, social distancing required. Gate unlocked for vendors at 5:30 a.m., $15 dollars, no reservations needed. Parking in the upper lot only. Vendors must provide their own sanitizer. Food vendor permits required. Carpooling is encouraged.

Ocean View Swap Meet at Ocean View makai shopping center, near Mālama Market. Hours for patrons are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Vendor set-up time is 5 a.m. Masks required.

The Book Shack is open every Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Kauaha'ao Congregational Church grounds at 95-1642 Pinao St. in Wai'ōhinu.