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    The Public Utilities Commission has received responses from the state Consumer Advocate to questions posed by Life
    of the Land regarding the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel to HELCO that would be refined above
    Pahala from feedstock grown in Ka`u. Photo by Julia Neal
    A GROUP OF OPPONENTS to the Thirty Meter Telescope has filed an appeal regarding last month’s approval of a land use permit by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. University of Hawai`i – Hilo “has admitted that the TMT will have adverse, significant and substantial impact on the natural and cultural resources,” Kealoha Pisciotta told Colin M. Stewart, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. “The rules are clear in that regard. A project may not have that impact. They should have been denied the permit. That’s why we need to seek justice in the court.”
          Pisciotta is spokesperson for appellants including Kahea: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, the Flores-Case Ohana, Deborah J. Ward, and Paul K. Neves.
          According to the story, Sandra Dawson, TMT Manager of Hawai`i Community Affairs, said that she didn’t see any grounds for an appeal “that opponents might use to slow or halt the project.”
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by Life of the Land to the state Consumer Advocate regarding the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
          “The land slated to be used for biofuel production is former sugar cane land that is currently not being used for food or ranching,” said the Consumer Advocate in response to Life of the Land’s questions: “How many existing leases exist for land owned by the Edmund Olson Trust that is slated for biofuel production. How many of these leases are currently in (a) food production? (b) ranching? (c) other diversified agricultural production?”
          Life of the Land also asked how many of the lessees the Consumer Advocate talked with and to document the date and contact person for each discussion. The Consumer Advocate replied that he did not have any discussions with lessees.
    Hawai`i state Consumer Advocate
    Jeffrey Ono
          Life of the Land asked the Consumer Advocate about Hawaiian Electric Co. and HELCO saying that “both AKP-1 and AKP-2 are reasonable and in the public interest even though there is a $100M differential in the pricing. ‘Does the Consumer Advocate believe that two widely different ratepayer impact proposals could both be reasonable and in the public interest?’” 
          “The Consumer Advocate contends that the different proposals could be found reasonable,” was the response.
          “Does the Consumer Advocate believe that HECO/HELCO conducted adequate due diligence?” Life of the Land asked.
          The Consumer Advocate replied, “Given the nature of the contract terms and conditions, such as where HECO/HELCO would not be burdened with purchasing fuel that did not meet specifications or was not produced, the level of due diligence appears adequate.”
          Life of the Land asked, “Does the Consumer Advocate believe that AKP management and owners have strong biofuel experience? Please document your response.”
          “The Consumer Advocate believes that AKP management and owners are relying upon resources that should allow the project, if approved, to achieve success. AKP is relying upon the expertise of AECOM. AECOM reported to the Consumer Advocate that its pilot project has been successful. AKP intends to build a mobile unit that will be able to demonstrate that this technology is viable.”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    REINSTATING COUNTY COUNCIL’S discretionary funds is part of the proposed $4.3 million budget for the Council during the upcoming fiscal year. The budget proposes to provide $100,000 to each of the nine Council members that could be used for unbudgeted projects in their districts. Such funds were eliminated from the Council budget four years ago.

    PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASES are the subject of a public meeting today at 5 p.m. The meeting takes place at Hilo Council chambers, with videoconferencing available at Ocean View Community Center. Mayor Billy Kenoi proposes raising property taxes by 10 percent.
    Ka`u residents can offer testimony at tonight's meeting on proposed
    property tax increases and at tomorrow's County Council meeting
    from Ocean View Community Center.
          The mayor’s revised $394.3 million budget is a 7.9 percent increase over this year’s budget. The budget allows for the ending of county worker furloughs that led to backlogs in processing permits for the public and put many county projects on hold. 
          Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford has expressed opposition to the tax increase. “There are some tax increases I could support,” Ford said. “A property tax increase is not one of them,’” according to an article by Nancy Cook Lauer. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.
          The Council is scheduled to vote on the budget at a special meeting on May 30.

    KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO PARTICIPATE in tomorrow’s County Council meeting from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site, which Hawai`i County Council is considering closing down due to lack of use. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo.
          Agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    DR. JADELYN MONIZ-NAKAMURA DISCUSSES fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert at this evening’s After Dark in the Park program. Research suggests the story behind the footprints may be more complex than originally thought. The footprints found in ash layers were believed to have been created in 1790 by the army of the Hawaiian Chief Keoua on their way back from battle. While in the area, Kilauea erupted, sending suffocating ash down on one group. Others made it out alive, leaving their footprints in the then-wet ash. The ash dried, forever memorializing this event – or did it?
          The program begins at 7 p.m. 
at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs.

    HAWA`I ISLAND NETWORK OF ARTISTS holds a wrap-up meeting tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. This is a final opportunity to learn about VAC’s HINA Project and be included in this research study. The project aims to encourage and support a greater awareness of Hawai`i Island artists and the economic impact of this creative workforce. See more at www.HINArtists.org.

    Members of Hula Halau Ke `Olu Makani O Mauna Loa
    AN EVENING OF HULA AND MUSIC with Hula Halau Ke `Olu Makani O Mauna Loa takes place tomorrow from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The halau has participated in many competitions, festivals and other events throughout the state of Hawai`i, the U.S. mainland as well as Japan. Its goal is to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, protocol and history through song and dance, and instill confidence, respect and responsibility in the dancers. Free; park entrance fees apply.

    THE NEXT KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Field Office. The organization is restoring agricultural water from the old plantation system. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT will hold a community meeting in Ka`u a week from today on Tuesday, May 21 from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
          The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u.
          The Ka`u event continues the district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, it is requested that participation be limited to persons who live or work in the Ka`u District.
          Those interested in participating but unable to attend may call Captain Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    The National Park Service has decided on methods to eradicate mouflon sheep and other non-native ungulates from
    Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Photo from NPS
    HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK has decided how it will control non-native ungulates in its plan to protect and restore native ecosystems. To achieve its population objective of zero non-native ungulates, or as low as practicable, in managed areas, the National Park Service will use the primarily lethal control techniques of direct reduction with firearms (ground shooting and aerial shooting). The NPS will use snaring primarily for the removal of feral pigs, particularly when they are at remnant levels, when densities are low; in rugged terrain or remote sites; or to remove pigs that have become accustomed to other removal techniques and learned to avoid them.
          The Record of Decision released yesterday by the park announced that it will allow volunteers to assist with the plan. “Based on past volunteer involvement, the majority of volunteer interest continues to be in participation with ground shooting efforts,” the document states. “Qualified volunteers will be used to assist with ground shooting operations and could be used for certain other non-native ungulate management activities (e.g., fence building, monitoring, baiting).” 
          According to the document, the NPS will retain a volunteer program for the following reasons:
    • “It assists in removal of non-native ungulates in support of the plan. 
    • “It furthers the purposes of the Volunteers in Parks Act and NPS Management Policies 2006 related to the use of volunteers by engaging the surrounding community and general public in stewardship of park resources as authorized agents of the NPS. 
    • “It provides an opportunity to increase awareness of non-native ungulate adverse impacts and build support for the ungulate management program.” 
          To be eligible, qualified volunteers will be required to fill out a registration form and meet specific criteria, including the following:
    • Obtaining a Hunter Education Certificate or card; 
    • Presenting registration of the firearm to be used and a Hawai`i hunting license; 
    • Providing their own transportation; and 
    • Being able to spend a minimum of eight hours hiking over rough terrain.
    Expanded fencing of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will lead to
    recovery from damage by non-native ungulates, according to the
    National Park Service. Photo from NPS
          The document states that the NPS could make adjustments to the volunteer program to improve the effectiveness of the program and that “current NPS practice dictates that the use of qualified volunteers for lethal removal of wildlife in accordance with an approved management plan is not a recreational activity, does not involve the principles of fair chase, and does not allow volunteers to keep any part of the animal, including the meat.” It also says, “The NPS will salvage and donate meat when possible, following all applicable public health and government property guidelines.” 
          It also states that non-lethal techniques of control could be considered.
          The complete Record of Decision is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/havo_ecosystem_rod.

    YESTERDAY’S PUBLIC MEETING on Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proposed property tax increases drew seven testifiers islandwide. Residents viewed the Hilo meeting from Ocean View Community Center and other remote teleconferencing sites in Kona, Pahoa and Waimea.
          While no one at Ocean View Community Center offered testimony, all of those testifying from other locations opposed the proposed increases. In Hilo, Marie Correa said property taxes should be “fair and equitable. How can you take a tax system that is broke and add 10 percent more?” Another testifier in Hilo cited “examples of disparity” in the system where exemptions on properties are more that 50 percent of their assessed values.
          A resident in Waimea suggested that the county try to collect overdue taxes as a way to increase revenue. Gretchen Lambeth, a real estate agent in Kona, said that raising taxes will hurt sales, noting that inventory of lower prices houses has been depleted.
          Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford, who opposes tax hikes, said she’s getting a lot of emails from constituents also in opposition, pointing out the west side of the island was hardest hit by the 2010 tax increases, according to Nancy Cook Lauer, of Stephens Media. “West Hawai`i also has fewer exemptions because homes tend to be newer and residents younger,” Ford said. See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.
          The County Council is scheduled to vote on the tax hike and proposed budget May 30.

    THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by Hawai`i County to the state Consumer Advocate regarding testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
          “The Division of Consumer Advocacy accepts that the higher price of biodiesel is good for consumers and asserts that spreading the additional cost over a wider customer base by including HECO is beneficial public policy,” Hawai`i County states. “Please explain the direct benefit to consumers and positive impact on their economic well-being from paying the Biofuels Surcharge—whether they are HECO or HELCO ratepayers.”
          The Consumer Advocate replied, “It is unfair for O`ahu customers to rely upon the renewable energy resources from the neighbor islands, so that the HECO companies can meet the Renewable Portfolio Standards goals, but not have to pay for some portion of it. Another direct benefit occurs when biodiesel prices are less than ultra low sulfur diesel prices, which would mean that customers would actually see a potential downward adjustment in the adjustment clause.
          “The proposal to have O`ahu shoulder the burden of incremental costs when the biodiesel is higher than diesel was offered in recognition of the larger customer base on O`ahu and the relative impact on spreading that incremental cost differential to O`ahu only and to a combined O`ahu/Hawai`i customer base…. In the absence of this contract, there is a possibility that HECO may be assessed penalties and, if such penalty is assessed, whether HECO’s ratepayers would either be directly affected by those penalties (i.e., those penalties included in the cost of service when determining rates) or indirectly affected (i.e., if not included in the cost of service, the cost of capital increased because of the financial markets perceiving a greater risk associated with the HECO companies due to the inability to recover such penalties from customers).
          “The proposed contract results from the state’s energy policy seeking to transition to a clean energy future. It has been generally recognized that the transition to alternative sources of energy would result in immediate and near-term increases in utility bills but that, over time, as petroleum prices continue to increase, ratepayer benefits would be reaped through more stable, fixed pricing associated with alternative fuel and energy sources. 
          “The Consumer Advocate acknowledges the concerns being raised and, for those very reasons, have supported the need for programs such as the on-bill financing to facilitate the creation of measures that low-income customers can use to reduce the impact of the transition to a clean energy industry.
          “Due to the energy policy seeking a transition to a clean energy economy, additional costs are being incurred, but those costs represent an investment in the future that, if properly made, should result in long-term benefits that should outweigh the immediate and near-term increases that may occur.
          “The Consumer Advocate contends that the analysis in this proceeding should consider available alternatives. While the state is considering the feasibility of natural gas, it is not currently available, and the implication that recent structural declines in natural gas should be considered as an alternative does not seem appropriate. The Consumer Advocate is not aware of any proposals that were more cost effective than AKP's proposal. Further, the Consumer Advocate contends that historically the ... forecast for petroleum underestimated the price increases.
          “County of Hawai`i appears to imply that Hawai`i should continue to rely upon petroleum as the fuel source for much of Hawai`i’s generation. This is contrary to the state’s energy policy and the statutory RPS requirements. The reduction in Hawai`i’s dependence on imported petroleum is one of the main tenets of the ... legislation.
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    KAWCD is restoring ag water from the old plantation system.
    HULA HALAU KE `OLU MAKANI O MAUNA LOA performs this evening at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The halau has participated in many competitions, festivals and other events throughout the state of Hawai`i, the U.S. mainland and Japan. Its goal is to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, protocol and history through song and dance and instill confidence, respect and responsibility in the dancers. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

    KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Field Office. The organization is restoring agricultural water from the old plantation system. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    An energy consultant hired by the state Consumer Advocate cites benefits to be derived from `Aina Koa Pono's plan
    to grow feedstock in Ka`u and use it to make biofuel at a refinery above Pahala. Photo from ainakoapono.com
    THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE has adopted an amendment by Sen. Mazie Hirono that could make it easier for Hong Kong tourists to visit Hawai`i. The amendment allows Hong Kong to be considered for the Visa Waiver Program.
          “This small change to the visa waiver system could have a big impact on Hawai`i’s economy,” said Hirono. “Right now, people in Hong Kong can visit more than 140 countries and territories without visas, but these potential Hawai`i tourists must still endure a time-consuming visa approval process in order to come to the United States. By fixing the visa waiver process for visitors from Hong Kong, we can make it easier for thousands of tourists from this region to come to Hawai`i.”


    Sen. Mazie Hirono
          This measure adopted by the committee fixes a technical problem that prevents Hong Kong from joining the Visa Waiver Program. Under current law, only “countries” are eligible for the program. Hong Kong is not a sovereign country but is a self-governing region of China, so a special provision needs to be added to the law to make Hong Kong eligible.


          Lisa Simon, of the National Tour Association, said Hirono’s legislation would increase tourism from Hong Kong, both in Hawai`i and across the country.

 “We applaud Sen. Hirono’s leadership in presenting this legislation that would open the way for increased visitors from Hong Kong to the United States. NTA supports this bill and any other endeavors that serve to increase international visitation, particularly from sizeable Asia markets. We anticipate this legislation would have an immediate and profound impact on increased travel from Hong Kong, which would have a positive impact on our economy and jobs creation.”


          According to the Hawai`i Tourism Authority, Hong Kong visitors spent on average $230 for each day they stayed in Hawai`i, almost 20 percent more than the average visitor. Visitors from Hong Kong also tend to stay in Hawai`i longer than the average visitor.
          Hawai`i’s visitor industry has a long history of benefiting from more streamlined visa laws with Asian countries, according to a statement from Hirono’s office. Last October, Taiwan was added to the Visa Waiver Program. A few months later, Hawaiian Airlines announced plans for direct flights from Taipei to Honolulu in part because of the projected increase in demand from Taiwan’s participation in the waiver program.


          The legislation has received support from U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Travel Association, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Association of Counties, National Retail Federation, International Franchise Association and National Tour Association.

    THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by Hawai`i County to the state Consumer Advocate regarding testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
          Hawai`i County asked the Consumer Advocate to explain why the proposed AKP price is not linked to fossil fuel prices, “when all justification given to this price in prior and current testimony compares the AKP price to current and forecast prices of petroleum and petroleum- derived diesel.”
          The Consumer Advocate replied that the AKP price is not tied to fossil fuels “in compliance with state policy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, including its exposure to variations in fossil fuel prices. Mr. Hornby (an energy consultant hired by the Consumer Advocate) provided comparisons to fossil fuel prices to illustrate how the AKP project would help meet this state policy. The AKP contract represents a known future price path for fuel at the Keahole plant. This price will not change with changes in oil prices.
    The Consumer Advocate hired James
    Richard Hornby as a consultant.
          “Mr. Hornby states that in exchange for higher fuel costs relative to Reference Case forecasts, the utility companies and their customers will derive certain benefits, including reduced dependence on fossil fuels, reduced exposure to higher electricity prices when petroleum prices are higher than AKP prices, reduced exposure to petroleum price volatility, reduced air emissions, contribution to Renewable Portfolio Standards requirements, and diversification of resources to meet RPS requirements.
          Hawai`i County asked, “If reduced exposure to higher electricity prices when petroleum exceeds AKP prices is a consumer benefit as stated, then — by the same logic — is it not also the case that utility companies and their customers will suffer a penalty when petroleum prices are lower than AKP prices?”
          “Yes,” the Consumer Advocate replied. “Among its other benefits the AKP contract provides a hedge against diesel price risk. Like any hedge, in any given year the price of AKP biodiesel may be higher than the spot price of diesel or lower than the spot price of diesel. As a hedge, the AKP supply contributes to price stability and mitigates the financial risk associated with low probability, high price fluctuations in oil markets.”
          Hawai`i County asked, “If high, fixed long-term costs benefit consumers by avoiding price volatility, then why shouldn’t we extend this logic to all commodities considered vital to consumers and uniformly eliminate price volatility by fixing their prices at the highest possible levels conceivable under forecast conditions?”
          The Consumer Advocate responded, “First, the market for electricity is not competitive, whereas the market for food is competitive. Second, it should be noted that the proposed policy is not to set “high, fixed” prices.
          AKP was selected through a competitive bidding process to procure a source of biofuel for the Keahole units at a fixed price. Third, the companies are entering the AKP contract to comply with the state’s RPS. Fourth, the AKP project provides numerous benefits. Its value as a hedge is only one of those benefits. Finally, the electricity from the AKP biofuel would represent only 19 percent of HELCO’s annual requirements.”
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    THE USDA NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE is currently conducting the 2012 Census of Agriculture. All agricultural operations should have received their census forms in the mail by now. “It is very important that all operations be counted and their voices heard,” said research statistician Cheresa Coles. “Furthermore, this is a wonderful opportunity to capture Hawai`i County’s specific farm data. This will be the only time that county-level data will be published for the next five years for the state of Hawai`i.”
          Hawai`i farm policies are implemented from data collected in the Agricultural Census. The census can be completed by telephone, mail, online or a personal interview. The deadline is May 31, 2013.
          For more information or to get a form, contact Coles at 961-9496 or cheresa.coles@nass.usda.gov.

    HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT REMINDS the public that they may participate in an anonymous Community Satisfaction Survey this month. The Internet survey is open until 4 p.m. Friday, May 31. It can be accessed at hawaiipolice.com. 
          The survey takes about five minutes to complete and is limited to one survey per computer. Participants will be able to enter detailed comments and suggestions at the end of the survey. The respondent’s IP address will not be stored in the survey results.
          The responses will be collected and compiled by an outside source. After the survey period, results will be posted on the Police Department’s website.

    KA`U’S UPLINK ALL-STARS KIDS traveled to Hilo Intermediate School last Friday for a volleyball game and won two out three sets. Trini Marques was the coach, assisted by Tianna Moses. The captain was Chadwick Pajimola, with assistant captains Chloe Gan and Alysha Savella. Players included Chadwick Pajimola, Chloe Gan, Alysha Savella, Lomon Silk, Bem Bunglik, Jennifer Abalos, Rollie Flores, Augustine Sanchez and Calbert Joji. The most valuable player was Lomon Silk.

    KAWCD meets at Royal Hawaiian Orchards field office this afternoon.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meets today at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Field Office. The organization is restoring agricultural water from the old plantation system. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456. 

    RESTAURANTS IN NA`ALEHU offer live entertainment this weekend. Tomorrow evening, Boni Narito performs at South Side Shaka’s. Call 929-7404.
          On Saturday, Back to the ‘50’s Trio keeps diners tapping their toes at Hana Hou. Call 929-9717.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    The Today Show producer Jen Long interviewed Ranger Kupono McDaniel for a segment to air Monday, May 20.
    Photo from National Park Service
    HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK will be featured on The Today Show Monday, May 20 along with several locations throughout the state. Crew members from the show filmed in Hawai`i and at the national park this week during the show’s first stop of a trek across the nation.

    Sen. Josh Green
    MANY OF KA`U’S GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS support the National Transportation Safety Board’s recent recommendation that allowable blood alcohol content levels be dropped from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
          Sen. Josh Green told Stephens Media reporter Chelsea Jensen that he is impressed with the NTSB’s recommendation and that he plans to introduce legislation to make the change during the next state Legislature. “This is a simple, elegant way to say, ‘We’re not going to tolerate drunken driving,’” he said. “It would be terrific (for Hawai`i) to be a leader in this area because we have dealt with a lot of drunken driving.”
          According to Jensen’s story, Police Chief Harry Kubojiri said he supports anything that would reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on Big Island roadways. He pointed out that lowering the blood alcohol content is just one of many aspects, including enforcement, education, treatment and sanctions, that need to take place. “Lowering the alcohol content in and of itself, I don’t think will prevent additional vehicle crashes,” he said, noting that crashes on Hawai`i Island often times involve drug use in addition to alcohol. “But it definitely plays a role.”
    Mitch Roth
          Hawai`i County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth told Jensen that he thinks lowering the legal limit is a good idea and noted that more research needs to be done. “We can definitely save lives,” he said.
          Hawai`i Police Department’s latest report states that, so far this year, there have been 486 DUI arrests in Hawai`i County, with nine of those in Ka`u. Of the 13 traffic fatalities on the island to date this year, one was related to alcohol only, and two were related to a combination of alcohol and drugs.
          See hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE for April declined to 4.9 percent from 5.1 percent in March, reported the state Department Of Labor & Industrial Relations. The last time the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent was in October 2008.
          Statewide, there were 614,000 employed and 31,850 unemployed in April, for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 645,850.
          Nationally, theunemployment rate was 7.5 percent in April, compared to 7.6 percent in March.
          In another measure of employment, total seasonally adjusted nonagricultural jobs rose by 3,000 in April over March.
          There were over-the-month job gains in Leisure & Hospitality (+700), Trade, Transportation, & Utilities (+400), Financial Activities (+300), Other Services (+300), and Construction (+200).  
          Employment in Manufacturing remained unchanged. 
          Government employment went up by 2,600 jobs, with shifting seasonal staffing patterns at the Department of Education responsible for the vast majority of the increase.
          Among major industry sectors, there has been notable over-the-year job expansion in Construction (+3,300), Leisure & Hospitality (+1,500) and Other Services (+1,500).

    A GROUP OF 272 BIG ISLAND RESIDENTS has sent a letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Environmental Protection Agency asking them to place a moratorium on further geothermal development until authorities take a closer look at Hawai`i’s geothermal practices, regulations and enforcement. 
          “For two decades, the community at large has been depending on the Department of Health, Civil Defense and other authorities to ensure the health and safety of the residents and schools around Puna Geothermal Venture’s geothermal plant,” the letter states. “During those years, many of us had hoped the plant would be a benefit that would reduce electricity costs and eliminate dependence on foreign oil. While we have yet to see those benefits materialize, recent events have revealed many startling problems with geothermal practices here in Hawai`i. We are seeing that a ‘hands off’ approach to regulation has done much to erode the public trust in the government’s ability to safeguard Hawai`i’s citizens and environment.
          The letter cites issues of no clear response plan in case of emergency at geothermal plants, including no system of warning residents, lack of monitoring of emissions by the state Department of Health, and inadequate regulation and oversight. It also questions claims that geothermal is clean, safe and sustainable.
          “This is not a question of being pro- or anti-geothermal energy,” the letter states. “This is about doing it right and making it safe. This is about not poisoning people and the environment based on an unsubstantiated promise of sustainability and energy security. In two decades, geothermal has only increased our electricity bills and subjected us to extremely hazardous conditions. Before we further embrace this volatile energy resource, we must learn more about its unique application in Hawai`i and how it affects human life and other precious resources.
          “To earn back the public trust, the governor’s office, the EPA, Hawai`i County Civil Defense and DOH must take immediate action to investigate these issues and overhaul the monitoring plan, enforcement structures and the emergency response plan. We ask you to resurrect the sense of civic duty required to remedy this overt failure of oversight. Until the EPA and Hawai`i government authorities can fulfill their obligation to safeguard life and land with a single geothermal plant, we citizens of Hawai`i insist that you institute an immediate moratorium on all future geothermal development and exploratory drilling.”
          The complete letter is available at geothermalhawaii.org./citizens-letter.

    THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by Hawai`i County to the state Consumer Advocate regarding testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
          Hawai`i County asked the Consumer Advocate to explain the rationale and evidence for the assertion that air emissions will be reduced. “Given that no biofuel using intended Hawai`i feedstock has apparently been produced other than for small lab-scale proof of concept …, what is the basis for this statement? Published literature on microwave depolymerization also indicates the bio-oils can contain widely varying levels of sulfur and nitrogen (hence potential SOx and NOx emissions) depending on the type of feedstock and specific process. In light of this, please justify this rather definitive statement and discuss whether it might be premature.”
          “The Biodiesel Specifications provided by HELCO … to the proposed contract specify levels of Sulfur and Fuel Bound Nitrogen,” the Consumer Advocate said. “If the fuel does not meet these specifications, HELCO has no obligation to purchase.”
         Hawai`i County asked, “Although the AKP project would arguably represent a further diversified contribution to Hawai`i’s RPS requirements, please comment on how much of a premium relative to other sources of renewable energy to meet these requirements is good public policy – given that these relatively higher costs are passed on to ratepayers.” 
          “First, it is not clear that the AKP price represents a premium relative to other sources of renewable energy that bid in response to the companies’ RFP,” the Consumer Advocate replied. “Second, it is not clear that the cost of electricity generated from AKP biodiesel will be more expensive than new renewable projects that would come online in the 2020 to 2030 timeframe. As higher levels of renewable resources become part of the HELCO grid, firm resources such as biofuels may become more valuable. Mr. Hornby did not attempt to quantify this value. The UHERO study, Sustainable Development and the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, presents a number of assertions and questions, including some that have already been raised. However, the Legislature and administration have already established the state energy policy, and the renewable portfolio standard has been adopted in state law.”
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    Halau Kahula O Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu
    OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION holds its monthly pancake breakfast tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Ocean View Community Center. For more information, call 939-7033.

    HALAU KAHULA O NAWAHINE Noho Pu`ukapu under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine Kahoopii performs at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. A hands-on cultural demonstration takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at VAC Gallery porch. Free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8222 or julie@volcanoartcenter.org.
    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reminds sightseers to beware of volcanic hazards when visiting Kilauea's
    ocean entry points. Photo from USGS/HVO
    IN ITS LATEST VOLCANO WATCH, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory warns the public about risky actions at Kilauea’s ocean entry. The article says that Hawai`i residents and visitors – as individuals and in groups – put themselves at risk by approaching the current ocean entry too closely, both by land and by sea. The article cites a recent example of kayakers who paddled just feet from lava streaming into the ocean. Then, further risking their lives, they went ashore, walking across new land built by the ocean entry and scooping molten lava with their paddles. “Their actions were unsafe and cause for grave concern – not to mention, culturally insensitive,” the article states.
    People who journey onto lava deltas put themselves at
    great risk, warns HVO. Photo from USGS/HVO
          The article describes volcanic hazards: “Lava entering the sea builds a platform of new land known as a lava delta. This new land appears deceptively stable, but the veneer of lava on its surface hides a foundation of loose rubble. Consequently, lava deltas are extremely unstable, and they can – and do – collapse without warning. Kilauea’s largest delta collapse sent 44 acres of new land plummeting into the ocean. But a collapse of only one square yard can be deadly. 
          “When lava deltas collapse, the mix of lava and seawater generates steam-driven explosions that blast fragments of molten lava and blocks of hot rock hundreds of yards – both inland and seaward. Rocks the size of a small file cabinet have been hurled 330 yards, with fist-sized rocks thrown as far as one-quarter mile.”
          Based on decades of experience observing ocean entries and the consequences of lava delta collapses, HVO advises people to stay one-quarter mile away from where lava enters the sea. “With due diligence, you can safely witness lava entering the sea. Know the hazards. Keep a safe distance from the ocean entry. And, above all, do not be misguided by the risky actions of others,” the article states.
          See more at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch.

    THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by the state Consumer Advocate to Hawai`i County regarding testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
          The Consumer Advocate questioned Hawai`i County about its energy coordinator William Rolston’s statement that “committing to a twenty-year supply contract that represents the largest contract for biodiesel on this Island … effectively crowds out alternative, potentially more cost-effective and more proven biofuels technologies; ultimately undermining the future for the Island.”
          The Consumer Advocate asked the county to identify the other more cost-effective and more proven biofuel technology alternatives that Rolston is referring to in the above statement. 
          In its response, the county gives examples of what it says are “companies that have developed or are developing technologies in these areas that are more advanced in their development cycle (hence, ‘more proven’) and that promise to deliver or have already delivered economics that are validated with technical demonstration at larger scale….
          “It is projects such as these that have a high potential to be more cost-effective than the proposed AKP project, which – given its relatively much earlier stage of demonstration –is still a project with relatively higher technical and economic risks. These are the types of projects that will be crowded out under the proposed twenty-year contract to meet essentially all of the anticipated biodiesel demand for the Keahole power plant.”
          The county gives a summary of current technology development status and project economics for these companies:
    Pacific Biodiesel is one company that Hawai`i County cites as more cost-
    effective and more proven biofuel technology. Photo by William Neal
    • Pacific BioDiesel: “5.5 million gallon per year biodiesel plant is operating and selling biodiesel; prices are competitive in Hawai`i’s transportation markets;” 
    • Hu Honua: “24 MW biomass project could be operational as early as mid-2013 and selling electricity to HELCO;” 
    • Cellana: “algae company is poised for expansion to pre-commercial to commercial operations, having run a six-acre demonstration facility at Kona since 2008; with a corporate commitment to sell products at no more than prevailing market prices;” 
    • Envergent (UOP/Ensyn): “demonstration plant is being built in Honolulu (subject to reconfiguration due to closure of Tesoro refinery) based on pyrolysis technology that has over 25 years’ industrial use; with original plans to expand up to 50 million gallons per year of biomass-derived transportation fuel; pyrolysis oil production costs estimated at oil equivalent of $45 per barrel, although subsequent hydrotreating/upgrading will add additional cost;” 
    • LS9: “demonstrated production of biodiesel by microbial fermentation in its 135,000 liter (36,000 gallon) demonstration facility; fuel production costs estimated at $1.50 per gallon;” Solazyme: “demonstrated production of algal oils and biodiesel in its demonstration/commercial-scale Peoria plant (two-million liter capacity) and in ADM’s single 500,000 liter fermenter, with delivery of -86,000 gallons of biodiesel to the military; production costs estimated at $3.44 per gallon;” 
    • KiOR: “commercial scale operations and sales began in late 2012 from its 13-million-gallon per year 500 dry ton/day facility to make gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil blendstocks; production cost estimates vary from $1.80 to $2.62 per gallon at scale;” 
    • Virent: “two demonstration plants provide capacity of 15,000 gallons per year; biomass-derived jet fuel delivered to U.S. Air Force for evaluation; diesel production costs estimated at $3 per gallon at high process efficiencies;” Sapphire: two demonstration algae farms in New Mexico: test facility has over 180,000 hours of year-round pilot data, and new 300-acre demonstration facility will produce one million gallons per year; claims production costs can match $85 per barrel oil;” 
    • Algenol: “has produced 9,000 gallons per acre of ethanol and is scaling up its 36-acre pilot to produce 100,000 gallons per year; is incorporating diesel and jet fuel production in addition to ethanol; claims ethanol production costs of approximately $1 per gallon.” 
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Kupono McDaniel gets ready
    for his interview for The Today Show airing Monday. Photo from NPS
    THE TODAY SHOW BEGINS its Great American Adventure next week in Hawai`i, when all five anchors – Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Natalie Morales, Al Roker and Willie Geist – travel together for the first time. The team will visit five U.S. destinations in a single week. 
          A segment filmed at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park last week will be featured along with others from locations throughout the state.
          Live taping takes place at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on Waikiki Beach Monday from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. Viewers will also see Hawai`i personalities and enjoy musical performances by local artists during the special broadcast.
          The show airs locally at 7 a.m. Monday on NBC.

    HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUB OF KA`U is offering financial help with college tuition for Ka`u graduates. The deadline for Civic Club scholarship applications is June 15, and preference is given to native Hawaiians. Civic Club volunteers are ready to help anyone fill out the Club’s simple scholarship application. 
          “Ka`u’s Civic Club recognizes the tough economy everybody is struggling with. Whether someone is a high school senior heading off to a university/college, vocational, or technical school, or someone older who’s working toward a degree, the Civic Club is here to kokua. Higher education can be a great new start in life,” said Civic Club member Wendy Baier. Call 929-9891 for more information and to receive an application.

    KILAUEA DRAMA & ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK holds auditions for its annual summer musical Monday and Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This summer the community theater group presents Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. 
          KDEN is looking for people of all ages to participate. Auditioners should be prepared to sing, dance and possibly read scenes from the script. Show dates are July 12-28. Lead characters include Prince/Beast, Belle ( the Beauty), Gaston (the antagonist), Lumiere (the valet), Mrs. Potts (the cook), Babette (the maid), Madame de la Grande Bouche (an opera singer), Cogsworth (the butler), Maurice (Belle’s father), Chip (Mrs. Potts’ son), Monsieur d’Arque (insane asylum proprietor) and Lefou (Gaston’s sidekick).
          There is also an ensemble of Silly Girls, Enchanted Objects, and Townspeople. The show, based on the 1991 Disney film of the same name, features the music of Alan Menken with lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and book by Linda Woolverton.
          For more information, call 982-7344, email kden73@aol.com or check KDEN’s Facebook page.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    County of Hawai`i, responding to a question posed by the state Consumer Advocate regarding the `Aina Koa Pono
    biofuels project, said, "There is no longer a need to rush any renewable fuels project that comes along."
    Photo from ainakoapono.com
    FORMER STATE REP. DAVID TARNAS is the new chair of the Democratic Party of Hawai`i County. Tarnas was elected during the organization’s annual convention yesterday at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. 
          “My main goal is to facilitate communication among party members, party officials and elected officials,” Tarnas said, according to a Stephens Media story by Nancy Cook Lauer. “My goal is to grow the party and to increase public participation in the political process.”
           Tarnas replaces Steve Pavao, who stepped down after serving as chair for four years.
          Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa were among those attending.
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    “THERE IS NO LONGER A NEED TO RUSH any renewable fuels project that comes along,” according to a response from the County of Hawai`i to a question posed by the state Consumer Advocate regarding the county’s testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. The Consumer Advocate asked the county “what (price) premium might be reasonable to consider for approval in order to further the state’s migration away from imported petroleum.” 
          “At a 40 percent and higher level of renewable energy generation, the Big Island has met and exceeded its stated obligations for renewable energy,” the county responded. “This provides an opportunity to provide great service to the rest of the state as well as to the nation by shifting focus to concentrate on good biofuels projects that deliver economic advantages to Hawai`i’s people.
          “The Big Island can move sanely forward to demonstrate a high level of sophistication in the renewable energy field by being selective and insisting that all future projects demonstrate improved economics for the ratepayers through lower electricity costs.
          “In fact, the Big Island is ready to be the proving ground for both renewable and cost-effective transportation and power generation – if given enough time and proper breathing-room. Only through strict adherence to this requirement will economically sustainable projects be developed. Demonstrating that costs can be reduced in the current, high-priced utility markets of Hawai`i is but the first step in demonstrating that such projects will also be economically sustainable in much bigger, lower cost markets – whether on the mainland or elsewhere. Projects that perpetuate or increase costs in the current Hawai`i environment will not be competitive elsewhere – and hence will fail. They will fail as businesses and as enterprises that seek to meaningfully address global energy concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. A project that increases costs for Hawai`i ratepayers therefore serves no one: it neither lowers rates for Hawai`i’s long-suffering ratepayers, nor does it demonstrate economically useful technology for other markets and for global improvement. 
          “As a result, the appropriate (price) premium for this, or any other project, is negative. The respectful request is made that the state consider, as a matter of policy, that new projects benefit Hawaiian ratepayers by meeting the following criteria:
    1. They provide real discounts in electricity prices; 
    2. They are priced according to underlying economic fundamentals (rather than avoided petroleum costs); and 
    3. They seek to continually reduce underlying marginal production costs – and hence consumer prices – through ‘experience curve’ effects and other continuing efficiencies to production. 
          According to Hawai`i County, “the Consumer Advocate’s question does raise an important strategic policy issue for the state – one that continues to be widely accepted as a matter of faith based on understandable concerns and well-intentioned policy. State law, the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, the Hawai`i Bioenergy Master Plan, federal agency determinations and other stated policies declare that energy ‘security’ and ‘self-sufficiency’ are the highest priority objectives for state policy, and that these concerns justify consumer price premiums.
          “These are understandable and legitimate concerns for an island that is as far removed from large continents as any population center on the planet, especially when people are subject to risks of natural disasters (hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes) and political shocks (war, volatility in petroleum prices). Development of biofuels and renewable energy has made great strides on the islands and globally, and many talented and intelligent people have devoted significant brainpower and investment to energy policies as they pertain to the Islands. Given the tremendous progress that has been made, it is a good time to re-evaluate implications of these policy objectives based on what has been learned. Should it choose to do so, the Commission is in an excellent position to consider such a re-examination as it evaluates this docket. 
          “The first question is: what are the implications of self-sufficiency and energy independence as primary policy objectives, and do they make sense at the state level, considering their vast economic ramifications. Security issues are indeed of concern.
          In the event of a natural disaster, what goods and services are most important to the people and what will be most at risk? One might consider that food, water and medical supplies are probably the highest priority. Fuel and energy are also important, yet which of these will be of foremost importance in an emergency? If a natural disaster wipes out major fuel importation ports, what is the likelihood that on-island feedstocks, biofuel generation plants, and/or electricity generation stations will also be wiped out? Does on-island fuel self-sufficiency really produce greater security? In the event of such an on-islands catastrophe, will it be faster to restore a damaged port or the multiple facilities that are each critical links for an on-island fuel supply chain? Must each island be self-sufficient in energy in the event that ports are damaged? If the repair of disrupted ports is the gating factor to restoring fuels supplies, then does it matter whether the fuels that are subsequently brought in come from another island or the mainland? What is at greater risk in the event of a catastrophe: on-island crops and fuel/power generation facilities, or shipping lanes bringing fuel that can be sourced throughout the world? These questions deserve greater re-examination. The answer could be that ‘self-sufficiency’ is not necessarily and inextricably hard-wired to ‘security,’ and that a mixed supply approach (some on-island, some off) could be the optimal mix to minimize citizen risks from a major catastrophe.”
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    Ka`u High's Marley Strand Nicolaisen has been chosen for
    a $1,500 Roy Fujimoto Athletic Scholarship.
    Photo by Tim Wright
    KA`U HIGH’S MARLEY STRAND-NICOLAISEN is one of four recipients of the 11th annual Roy Fujimoto Athletic Scholarships. Senior student-athletes are chosen for the scholarships based on their athletic and academic achievement and community service. 
          Strand-Nicolaisen participated in volleyball, track and field and soccer at Ka`u High. This year, she led the Trojan girls volleyball team to the BIIF title and to the state tournament. She also was selected for the All-BIIF first team three times and twice received Division II Player of the Year honors. 
          She was also selected for All-BIIF first team three times in track. This year, she took first place in high jump, long jump and triple jump. At the state meet on O`ahu, she took second place three times. 
          Strand-Nicolaisen plans to attend University of Hawai`i – Hilo, where she will major in biology and play volleyball for the Vulcans.

    Hilo-style lei adorn hula dancers' wrists
    and necks. Photo from NPS
    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT holds a community meeting Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u. 
         To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, it is requested that participation be limited to persons who live or work in the Ka`u District.
          Those interested in participating but unable to attend may call Captain Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

    MALIA MACABIO AND AMY KAAWALOA demonstrate how to make the Hilo style of lei Wednesday from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Hilo-style is made by twisting two strands of ti leaves together. Hula dancers use lei la`i (ti leaf lei) to adorn their wrists and necks. Part of Hawai`i Volcanoes’ ongoing `Ike Hana No`eau: Experience the Skillful Work workshops. 

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    The glow from Halema`uma`u Crater was featured on The Today Show this morning. Images from today.com
    THE TODAY SHOW featured Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and other sites throughout the state during the first stop on its weeklong Great American Adventure. The segment showed Mauna Loa, volcanic emissions and glow from Kilauea’s Halema`uma`u Crater, streams of flowing lava and newly formed land.
    New land formed by lava flows was part of The Today Show's coverage of
    Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park this morning. 
          Park Ranger Kupono McDaniel was spokesman for the segment. “Seeing the power down there reminds us that everything in life is as it should be,” McDaniel said. “People think of volcanoes as a destructive force and destroying the forest. None of this would be here without this incredible power.” 
          See this and other segments of the Hawai`i adventure at today.com.

    EXTENDED LEARNING TIME, a program that the state Department of Education planned to expand after its first year and institute in Ka`u as well as Kea`au and Pahoa, is being scaled back, according to an Associated Press story. Jennifer Sinco Kelleher reported that the program “was heralded as a stride toward progress on school reforms that won Hawai`i a $75 million federal Race to the Top grant.” She said that, when U.S. Department of Education reviewers visited Hawai`i last year to evaluate progress on Race to the Top reforms, “state education officials showed off the approved agreement for extended learning time as a major accomplishment.”
    Ronn Nozoe
          The program would have extended school days by about one hour per day from Monday through Thursday.
          Deputy superintendent Ronn Nozoe told Kelleher the first year was about learning what worked, including students taking online courses to recover credit for failed classes, math and reading computer-based tutorials adapted to individual student’s skill levels and hands-on learning projects such as aquaponics. “We learned from the first year of implementation,” he said. “We’re going to be more targeted and more focused this time. It’s a more strategic and focused approach.”

    “COUNTY (OF HAWAI`I) QUESTIONS THE WISDOM of proceeding with renewable energy projects that are more costly than current alternatives, including fuel production processes based on conventional technologies,” according to the county’s response to a question posed by the state Consumer Advocate regarding the county’s testimony on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. The Consumer Advocate asked the county, “What premiums might be reasonable when evaluating a renewable energy project that is more costly than a conventional alternative (e.g., fossil fueled fired generation).”
          “Imposing continually higher costs on ratepayers is not in the interests of Hawai`i’s citizens, especially when the presumed benefits from renewable energy are now being seriously questioned regarding their desirability, efficacy, and unintended consequences,” the county continued, citing the March 2013UHERO Report: Sustainable Development and the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative.
          “In his question, the Consumer Advocate seems to make an underlying assumption that there is indeed a ‘reasonable premium’ for evaluating a renewable energy project that is acceptable to impose on Hawai`i’s ratepayers.
          Hawai`i County points to “the physical impracticality and likely impossibility of meeting stated self-sufficiency goals with even the highest productivity … given the amount of Hawai`i’s available agricultural land.
          “This poses a choice for the Islands, the Consumer Advocate and the Commission: 1) Either proceed anyway to enforce premiums to justify renewable energy projects with the goal of making as much renewable energy as possible (potentially turning all the Islands into a giant fuel production factory) – even if complete self-sufficiency is unattainable with current technologies, or 2) Since on-islands fuel production is unlikely to meet goals of self-sufficiency given current technologies, use this recognition as the basis to seek an optimal mix of projects that are cost-competitive, deliver cost reductions to ratepayers, and that provide greater overall security through a necessarily diversified mix of on-island and off-island production. Given the still nascent state of technology development and demonstration in the renewable energy/fuels industry, there are further reasons to adopting a more selective, ‘wait, see, and evaluate’ approach.
          “Given the early stage of this technology development, County encourages smaller projects with short-term contracts (five years or less), with convincing pilot and pre-commercial scale demonstration to prove these technologies, before we make long-term choices and commitments for biofuels.
    Hawai`i County encourages smaller energy projects than `Aina Koa Pono
    with shorter-term contracts.
          “Regarding this question, the county also asserts the following: If the stated goal of energy self-sufficiency proves to be unattainable and/or unacceptable regarding its implications, then using that goal as justification for imposing higher costs on ratepayers no longer makes sense and becomes bad policy. This is not to say that County is against renewable energy projects. County asserts quite the contrary. County asserts that renewable energy projects should be pursued aggressively so long as they are good projects that make sense for Hawai`i, its people, communities, environment, and economic strengths.
          “By this, County asserts that such projects should be priced on their intrinsic economics and deliver cost savings to consumers. They should also seek to minimize negative externalities (pollution, traffic, deleterious impacts on the community and other economic activities), while maximizing positive externalities (desirable jobs, economically sustainable systems that do not unfairly crowd out alternatives, environmentally sustainable improvements in overall greenhouse gas emissions, etc.).
          “The guiding factor in this evaluation is the most objective: price. County respectfully requests the Commission to maintain a positive and encouraging approach to renewable energy projects, but reject those that increase costs to consumers and further require such projects make substantial reductions to Hawai`i’s high electricity rates (which remain approximately four times average mainland rates).
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT holds a community meeting tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u.
         To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, it is requested that participation be limited to persons who live or work in the Ka`u District.
          Those interested in participating but unable to attend may call Captain Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

    Sammi Fo teaches hula `auana
    every Tuesday.
    SAMMI FO TEACHES HULA `AUANA tomorrow and every Tuesday at the corner of Tiki and Princess Ka`iulani in Ocean View. Students with more than one-year experience meet at 4:15 p.m.; beginning to first-year students meet at 4:15 p.m. Call 990-3292 for more information. 

    MAYOR BILLY KENOI AND MEMBERS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION hold a talk story in Hilo Council chambers Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The mayor will discuss his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. For more information, call 961-8272.

    AS PART OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK’S ongoing `Ike Hana No`eau: Experience the Skillful Work workshops, Malia Macabio and Amy Kaawaloa demonstrate how to make the Hilo style of lei Wednesday from 10 a.m. 2 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Moa`ula coffee growers are anxiously waiting to see who the new owner of the land will be when it and other
    properties are auctioned at noon today.
    MOA`ULA COFFEE LANDS are scheduled to be auctioned off at noon today on the lanai of the First Circuit Court Building in Honolulu. The coffee farms, which have been the economic hope of more than 30 farmers since the shutdown of the sugar plantation in 1996, are tied up in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy disaster of 2008. Lehman Brothers has foreclosed on 5,800 acres of farm, coastal and residential land in Ka`u that was purchased from C. Brewer subsidiaries by Windwalker, Hawai`i and WWK Hawai`i Holdings, a group led by developer Alan Worden. 
          The coffee growers farm fewer than 400 acres in a Project Unit Development area of some 2,000 acres that has been approved for subdivision into estates. The growers, who said all their leases are over or running out, are anxiously waiting to learn who will be the new owner and possibly new manager for the lands. If Lehman Bros. keeps the property by not accepting any bids, it could later sell off parcels perhaps at higher prices than the 5,800 acres that are bundled for the all-or-nothing sale at auction. The 2,000 acres have permission to be subdivided into estates.
          Other properties included in the bundled sale include large acreage around Waikapuna, lands on the hillside of Honu`apo and lots with and without homes.

    Gov. Abercrombie signed a law requiring all occupants of a vehicle to
    buckle up. Photo from Office of the Governor
    GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE HAS SIGNED INTO LAW two traffic safety bills aimed at saving lives and reducing serious injuries from motor vehicle crashes in Hawai`i.

 “Hawai`i is putting safety first on our roadways with the enactment of our state’s universal seat belt law. This measure closes the gap in protecting all passengers riding in a motor vehicle,” Abercrombie said. “In addition, the enactment of Hawai`i’s distracted driving law establishes consistency across the state for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving, simplifying enforcement and likewise making our highways and roadways safer.”

 
          Senate Bill 4, enacted as Act 73, is effective immediately. It requires all front- and back-seat occupants to buckle up. Adults and children must use their seat belts and child restraints at all times. Unrestrained back-seat passengers were more than three times as likely to have injuries that were fatal or required hospitalization compared to restrained back seat passengers, based on a state Department of Health analysis of Emergency Medical Services records. Additionally, among back seat passengers who were treated for injuries by EMS, average medical charges were nearly tripled among those who did not use seat belts, compared to restrained passengers. 

“The Department of Health is pleased to see rates of passenger-related injuries going down based on high levels of seat belt use among front-seat passengers,” said director Loretta Fuddy. “We anticipate that we’ll see further reductions in injuries and death with the passage of this law for back seat passengers.”


          House Bill 980, enacted as Act 74, is effective July 1. While all counties have some form of a distracted driving ordinance in place, this measure establishes a state law that creates consistent requirements across all counties for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving and will simplify enforcement. Crash data from the Department of Transportation shows that during 2007, 32 percent were attributed to inattention to driving. 

“People are injured or dying each year simply because they were not paying attention to the road. The possibility of causing a crash that could ruin lives is just too great,” said DOT director Glenn Okimoto. “We are focusing on changing the behaviors of drivers through legislation, enforcement, public awareness and education – the same activities that have helped curb impaired driving and increased seat belt use. Our goal is to help drivers understand that texting, cell phone use, and other distractions behind the wheel can have dangerous consequences.”
          The bill signings were held in conjunction with DOT’s launch of the annual Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign, a partnership between the state and counties with federal funding.

    REGARDING HAWAI`I COUNTY’S TESTIMONY on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co., the state Consumer Advocate asked the county to provide all analyses upon which it relied as the basis for its position “that HELCO termination of the proposed AKP agreement has the potential to delay meeting its renewable energy objectives.” 
          “The AKP project is estimated to contribute approximately two percent toward Hawai`i’s Renewable Portfolio Standards,” Hawai`i county responded. “On the Big Island, AKP diesel will supply (redacted as confidential) of the target facility’s diesel consumption, and over (redacted as confidential) of total power-generation diesel demand on the Big Island. AKP is relying on early-stage technology (and, based on lack of evidence to indicate otherwise, extremely early-stage technology) that has yet to be demonstrated at meaningful larger scale. In an industry where there are substantial, and often project-killing, scale-up risks between laboratory/small-scale demonstrations and commercial operations, any potential customer of products made from such processes is wise to exercise caution.
    Hawai`i County calls AKP's MicroDee process "extremely early-stage
    technology." Photo from TekGar
          “Analysis in the original 2011-0005 docket indicates that AKP biodiesel is an important, but not the sole contributor to meeting RPS biofuel expectations: ‘The analyses show that there is no single answer for the companies to meet the challenges of the RPS requirements, but the HELCO biodiesel is one strategy that would help the near-term and long-term RPS requirements.’ 
          “With such a large commitment of its demand based on such early-stage technology — that inherently carries large risks of scale-up — it is not inconceivable that the HELCO-AKP contract is terminated. For example, AKP may simply be unable to make fuel. The fuel may not meet specifications. AKP may not be able to deliver fuel within economic constraints of the fixed price, and may choose to shut down.
          “In any of these events, the end result would be that – after however many years it has taken to get to this point – a substantial component of the utility’s and the state’s renewable power expectations would disappear, and the utility and state will be that much behind in meeting their RPS goals.
          “Since it is true that the Big Island already exceeds RPS targets, this may not be of such importance for the Island of Hawai`i – although there will be disruptions as new diesel supply sources must be established. This setback to the RPS may be of greater importance at the state level, however, and it is at the Commission’s discretion to determine whether basing such large contributions to the RPS on such early-stage technology is good policy.
          More testimony will be covered in future Ka`u News Briefs. All testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

    VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 2013 iFILM CAMP is accepting financial aid applications through this Friday. The camp, which focuses on video production arts, is for ages 10 to 14. It will be held at VAC’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village weekdays from June 3 to June 14, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
          The first week focuses on storyboarding, shot lists, camera basics, performance arts and equipment use and care. The goal for week one is to complete a public service announcement on a community need in Volcano.
          The second week’s project progresses into creating a five- to 15-minute biographical project on a local Volcano “celebrity.” All projects focus on the importance of teamwork.
          Fees are $400, or $360 for VAC members. Space is limited to eight students. Call 967-8222 to register.

    Hawai`i County Police Chief
    Harry Kubojiri
    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT holds a community meeting today from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u. 

    AUDITIONS FOR BEAUTY AND THE BEAST continue this evening at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Military Camp Theater in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea Drama & Entertainment Network presents the musical July 12 – 28.
          For more information, call 982-7344, email kden73@aol.com or check KDEN’s Facebook page.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Volcano Art Center's new Sunset Hula programs feature Halau Kahula O Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu.
    Photo by Dino Morrow
    LEHMAN BROTHERS HOLDINGS USED ITS CREDIT to become top bidder on more than 5,800 acres of Ka`u coffee, cattle and coastal conservation lands yesterday during a foreclosure auction at a Honolulu courthouse. The only outside bidder was Edmund C. Olson, who said he wanted to protect the Ka`u Coffee lands which make up less than 400 acres of the total. Each time Olson bid, a Lehman representative bid more until Olson dropped out at $12 million.
          Observing the bidding from Ka`u were Chris Manfredi, who has managed the land and helped promote Ka`u Coffee to international fame, and Malian Lahey, who said she hopes to help the farmers keep the acreage where they grow Ka`u Coffee. Also observing were representatives of The Nature Conservancy, who said they have an interest in preserving the coastal parcels.
          Lehman’s bidding more than Olson does not mean the company had to put up money. It means that Lehman was willing to use credit towards the money it is owed to secure ownership of the property. Lehman bid $12,246,000.
    Lehman Bros. became owners of more than 5,800 acres of Ka`u coffee,
    cattle and coastal conservation lands at yesterday's auction.
          The auction was part of the Lehman foreclosure on the Windwalker entities that borrowed $45 million from Lehman to develop the property, with the first subdivision to have been the lands where more than 30 farmers are growing their famous Ka`u Coffee and becoming successful entrepreneurs after many of them lost their jobs at the sugar company in Ka`u in 1996. 
          Windwalker and its representative Chris Manfredi were successful in convincing the county to allow Windwalker to subdivide the 2,000 acres on which the coffee growers farm some 380 acres into estate-type parcels, most of them under the 20 acres for which the land is agriculturally zoned. However, final approval would require millions of dollars in road and other infrastructure improvements. That opportunity could go to Lehman, while the coffee farmers say they hope the land where they farm will be set aside in long-term leases or as an ag park without subdivision of their orchards. Farmers said they need land security for their growing Ka`u Coffee business. Most of their long-term leases, left over from the old sugar company that used to own the land, have expired.
          The lands went to auction as a bundle, but Lehman could choose to sell the parcels separately to varying interested parties once a judge reviews the auction, considers any last-minute bids in the courtroom and confirms the results.
          Olson said yesterday that he is interested in the coffee not only for the farmers themselves but also for the coffee mill he built on Wood Valley Road. “We can buy all the coffee they can provide us,” he said. The foreclosure will be finalized before a judge who will allow additional bidding on the property.

    Solar Hub Utilities plans to construct photovoltaic panels on ag lots
    in Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos. Image from sehsolar.com
    PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS TO BE CONSTRUCTED on eighteen three-acre lots with agriculture zoning in Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos should cover one acre per lot, according to a story by Erin Miller for Stephens Media. Pat Shudak, CEO of Solar Hub Utilities, told Miller he expects work on the 250-kilowatt-hour project to begin within two or three months. The company is contracting to sell energy to Hawaiian Electric Light Co. for 23.6 cents per kilowatt-hour through its feed-in tariff program. 
          Some residents have expressed concern about the project, Miller reported. Ward Lambert, who said some of the lots have vegetation and mature `ohi`a trees, asked, “Are they going to bulldoze them?” He had previously said to The Ka`u Calendar, “Ag is green; tearing out trees is not green.”
          Another concern mentioned is the probability that the lots will have chain-link fencing to protect the panels. Shudak told Miller he would use shrubbery and other foliage to mask the fences.
          Regarding lack of communication about the project with the community, Shudak told Miller that he did try to contact a community association in the area, “but couldn’t get through to anyone.”
          See hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    Deputy Police Chief Paul Ferreira and other officers
    met with Ka`u residents yesterday.
    KA`U RESIDENTS EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR THE POLICE DEPARTMENT at a community meeting in Na`alehu yesterday. Lani and Bill Petrie, of Kapapala Ranch, noted that, with help they received from the police, they were able to reach a mediated agreement with trespassers. 
          The Petries voiced their concerns about night hunting, which is dangerous because hunters cannot be sure what they’re shooting at in the dark. Deputy Chief Paul Ferreira said the department is joining the Department of Land and Natural Resources in another hunter education program. Lani Petrie said it really helped the last time the program was used.
          Another resident thanked the police for help in a dispute over land ownership. The resident said he had been issued a trespass warning when on land he thinks is his. An officer told him, “There’s nothing keeping you from filing suit against the other person if you think he is on your land” and that land disputes are settled in civil courts.
          Discovery Harbour resident Harry McIntosh asked the officers what their main concerns are in Ka`u. Ferreira said agricultural thefts are of concern at present, although they have “slowed down.”
          Ferreira brought up Chief Harry Kubojiri’s request that the County Council include five more officers for Ka`u in the upcoming budget, noting that Ka`u is one of the fastest growing districts in Hawai`i County. He said that would allow one additional officer per shift. Recruits would come from a class graduating in June. Kubojiri is also hoping to fill a vacant sergeant position in Ka`u.
    Ferreira asked that people call with concerns and not wait until their next community meeting. He said they are always available to attend Neighborhood Watch and other meetings.
          Community Policing Officer Blaine Morishita thanked residents for their cooperation, saying, “Ka`u is an awesome place to work.”

    STORYTIME WITH AUNTIE JUDI is a new program at Na`alehu Public Library tomorrow and every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Along with reading of stories and nursery rhymes, toddlers and preschoolers can participate in a simple craft. Call 939-2443 for more information.

    Ka`u rancher Michelle Galimba joins PBS's
    Insight panel tomorrow.
    FOOD SECURITY WILL BE THE SUBJECT of the PBS television program Insights tomorrow at 8 p.m. with Ka`u rancher Michelle Galimba, of Kuahiwi Ranch, on the panel. 
          Dan Boylan moderates and said that studies estimate that as much as 90 percent of Hawai`i’s food is imported, placing the islands at the mercy of shipping interruptions and natural disasters. Guests will explore what can be done to reduce Hawai`i’s dependence on imports and encourage local food production.
          Also scheduled to appear are Shin Ho, farmer at Ho Farms; Lynette Larson, general manager of Kokua Market; and Fred Lau, aquaponics farmer at Mari’s Gardens.
          Viewers can join the live discussion at pbshawaii.org or through Twitter using the #PBSinsights hash tag.

    SUNSET HULA, THE LATEST ADDITION To Volcano Art Center’s expanding Hula Arts at Kilauea program, takes place Friday at 6 p.m. at the hula platform near VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
          One evening per month through August, VAC enhances the lava glow experience by introducing special hula performances just before sunset. The dates and times were chosen specifically for their closeness to the full moon cycle and actual times of sunset. “We are thrilled to have the dancers of Halau Kahula O Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu performing under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine Kahoopii,” said VAC’s Hula Program coordinator Julie Callahan. “Their movement is pure poetry come to life.”
          Free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply. For more information, call 967-8222 or email julie@volcanoartcenter.org.

    KA `OHANA O HONU`APO IS LOOKING for contestants to enter its special Pork in the Park event on Father’s Day. The barbecue pork contest will take place during a free family event at Honu`apo Park Sunday, June 16 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Along with first-, second- and third-place prizes, the public will be able to sample entries and vote for the Fan Favorite. The event will also feature local musicians, shave ice for sale and a big tent to relax under. 
          “If you think you have the ‘chops’ to win this contest, or you know someone who can, please contact me,” said organizer Lehua Lopez-Mau. “We’re also looking for volunteers to help us set up and clean up.” Contact Lopez-Mau at 929-9891 or ka_ohana@gmail.com to register or for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    The Ka`u District Gym & Shelter under construction will be hardened to withstand a category three hurricane,
    which has winds between 111 and 130 miles per hour.
    HURRICANE SEASON IN THE CENTRAL PACIFIC BASIN will be below normal this year, announced National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The outlook calls for a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a five percent chance of an above-normal season. 
          Forecasters expect one to three tropical cyclones to affect the central Pacific this season. An average season has four to five tropical cyclones, which include tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes.
          The outlook for a below-normal season is based on the continuation of neutral El Nino-Southern Oscillation conditions. The Central Pacific Basin also remains on the low activity side of a multi-decadal cycle. Historical records show that this combination of conditions tends to produce a less active hurricane season for the central Pacific, according to NOAA.
    Two hurricanes passed south of Ka`u last July.
          This outlook is a general guide to the overall seasonal hurricane activity in the central Pacific and does not predict whether, where, when, or how many of these systems will affect Hawai`i.
          NOAA urges Hawai`i residents to be fully prepared before the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs until Nov. 30.
          “I encourage the public to become weather-ready by signing up for weather alerts, developing a family emergency plan and building an emergency kit before hurricane season begins,” said Ray Tanabe, director of NOAA’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center. “Just because the season is predicted to be ‘below normal’ does not mean that a single storm cannot have significant impacts.”
          The Central Pacific Hurricane Center continuously monitors weather conditions, employing a network of satellites, land- and ocean-based sensors and aircraft reconnaissance missions operated by NOAA and its partners. This array of data supplies the information for complex computer modeling and human expertise that serves as the basis for the hurricane center’s track and intensity forecasts that extend out five days.
          The seasonal hurricane outlook is produced in collaboration with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center – a division of the National Weather Service.

 NOAA’s National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA’s National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy. Working with partners, NOAA’s National Weather Service is building a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather.
          NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources.
          Find out more at weather.gov.

    No tsunami threat has been produced by an earthquake south of Fiji.
    A 7.4 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE SOUTH OF THE FIJI ISLANDS this morning produced no tsunami threat to Hawai`i, reported Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. 
          U.S. Geological Survey explains earthquake magnitudes and their relationships to tsunami:
          Earthquakes of magnitudes below 6.5
 are very unlikely to trigger a tsunami.
          Magnitudes between 6.5 and 7.5
 do not usually produce destructive tsunamis. However, small sea level changes may be observed in the vicinity of the epicenter. Tsunamis capable of producing damage or casualties are rare in this magnitude range but have occurred due to secondary effects such as landslides or submarine slumps.
          Magnitudes between 7.6 and 7.8
 may produce destructive tsunamis especially near the epicenter; at greater distances, small sea level changes may be observed. Tsunamis capable of producing damage at great distances are rare in the magnitude range.
          For magnitude 7.9 and greater
, destructive local tsunamis are possible near the epicenter, and significant sea level changes and damage may occur in a broader region.
          With a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the probability of an aftershock with a magnitude exceeding 7.5 is not negligible. To date, the largest aftershock recorded has been magnitude 7.1 that did not produce a damaging tsunami.
          See more at earthquake.usgs.gov.

    Hawai`i Department of Agriculture has issued a quarantine order
    relating to Bovine Trichomoniasis. Photo from HDOA
    THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE’S Animal Industry Division has issued a quarantine order that requires testing of all beef and dairy bulls for Bovine Trichomoniasis prior to entry into the state and before movement between herds within the state. 
          Bovine Trichomoniasis is a serious contagious reproductive disease of cattle that can cause significant production losses and economic harm to affected herds. It is a disease of cattle only that is spread during breeding and does not affect humans or the safety of beef.
          The quarantine order requires that all herd owners in Hawai`i have their bulls tested with a negative result for Trichomoniasis prior to being sold, acquired or moved. The order also requires that bulls 12 months of age or older enter Hawai`i with a negative test result for Trichomoniasis that was conducted within 30 days of arrival in Hawai`i. In addition, bulls for entry shall not have contact with female cattle after testing and prior to arrival in Hawai`i.
          Trichomoniasis was detected in bulls in Ka`u in 2011, triggering area testing of exposed herds, slaughter surveillance testing and testing by private veterinarians in 2011 and 2012.
          Ten infected herds have been detected – nine on Hawai`i Island (Ka`u, North Hilo and Kohala districts) and one on O`ahu (Makakilo). All of the infected herds have association or had contact with the Ka`u or Kohala infected herds.
          Infected herds were issued individual quarantine orders by the state veterinarian, and herd clean-up plans were instituted. There has been no spread from infected herds since the individual quarantine orders were placed. One herd has been released from quarantine and remains negative for the disease. Four herds achieved one negative test round on all bulls, have been retested and are being evaluated for quarantine release. The four remaining herds continue to test positive and are continuing testing programs, with removal of positive bulls along with other control measures aimed at eliminating infection.
          According to the Department of Agriculture, its and cattle producers’ experiences with the protracted nature of this disease and the cost to clean up infections in herds warrants this statewide effort by all cattle owners to prevent Trichomoniasis from spreading.
          Trichomoniasis is found in many areas of the United States and is an economically important venereal disease of cattle because it can reduce a calf production due to a large number of cows that can abort or reabsorb their pregnancy when they get infected.
          Thirty to 70 percent of cows or heifers bred to infected bulls can lose their pregnancy several months after conception.
          It has not been determined how the disease got to Hawai`i; however, the disease is found in many states on the mainland where Hawai`i cattle producers purchase cattle.
          To read the full quarantine order, see http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/QO-132-2013.0521-BOVINE-TRICHOMONIASIS.pdf.

    Bobby Gomes, seen here at Ka`u District Shelter &
    Gym groundbreaking, was keynote speaker at Ka`u
    High School graduation. Photo by Julia Neal
    POLICE COMMISSIONER BOBBY GOMES was keynote speaker at Ka`u High School’s graduation ceremonies last Friday. Gomes told members of the Class of 2013 to appreciate `ohana. “Be proud of your name and your parents,” he said. Gomes emphasized love of the country and apologized for turning it over to the next generation “in such a bad shape.” Gomes also advised the graduating class to get involved in politics and to run for office and find jobs they enjoy so that they “can love what you do.” He thanked teachers for their hard work and dedication. He said he could tell that the graduates were very close to one another. As Principal Sharon Beck gave out diplomas, “she was given hugs to show that `ohana love – the closeness,” Gomes said. 

    HALAU KAHULA O NAWAHINE NOHO PU`UKAPU, under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine Kahoopii, perform Sunset Hula tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This is the first of four sunset performances to be held once each month through August, with dates and times chosen specifically for their closeness to the full moon cycle and actual times of sunset.
          For more information, call 967-8222 or email julie@volcanoartcenter.org.

    PALM TRAIL HIKE TAKES PLACE SUNDAY from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This relatively easy, guided, 2.6-mile loop crosses scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has to offer. Call 985-6011 for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Palm Trail has panoramic views of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park's Kahuku Unit and beyond.
    A guided hike takes place Sunday. NPS Photo by David Boyle
    WHILE O`AHU CONTINUES TO BE FURTHER ALONG in recovery, the neighbor islands are catching up fast, according to the latest report from the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawai`i. It states that 2012 was another year of strong tourism gains for Hawai`i’s counties and a year when significant growth spread to much of the broader economy. It forecasts that economic growth will quicken this year with an impetus from construction, which is poised for a strong pickup in activity. “The broadening recovery together with modest inflation will drive growth in real incomes across the counties over the next several years,” the report says. 
          The report sees several signs of economic growth that it says will continue:
          “Visitor arrivals surged ahead last year, and all four counties matched or set records for number of visitor days. The counties will see high single-digit arrivals growth in 2013, with the largest gains on the Neighbor Islands as O`ahu fills up and international arrivals continue to grow. Hotel occupancy rates will climb to historic highs over the next few years, putting pressure on room rates and limiting further arrivals gains.
          “Construction activity moved off bottom in 2012. Private permitting grew by 35-50 percent across the counties, albeit from extremely low levels. O`ahu and the Big Island saw modest job gains, while industry payrolls on Maui jumped by more than 13 percent. Kaua`i was the lone outlier; despite increased permitting activity, industry job counts fell by five percent. Much of last year’s growth is attributable to photovoltaic installation. This year work on new residential and commercial projects will drive increased hiring. By 2015, the next construction cycle will be in full swing with industry payrolls growing by more than 10 percent per year in each county. 
          “All four counties saw positive job growth last year, but labor market recovery has a way to go, particularly on the Neighbor Islands. This year job growth will firm to more than three percent on each of the Neighbor Islands and to two percent on O`ahu. By the end of this year O`ahu will have recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession; Maui will return to pre-recession levels the year after, and Kauai and the Big Island by 2015.
          “A useful summary measure of economic activity is the real (inflation adjusted) income earned by local residents. While official county-level figures are not yet available for 2012, we estimate that real income growth ranged from 0.9 percent on Kaua`i to three percent on Maui last year. In 2013, O`ahu real income will grow by a modest 2.4 percent, while the Neighbor Islands will see growth in the 4.0 to 4.5 percent range. Moderate real income growth will continue through mid-decade as hiring picks up, business profits improve and inflation remains moderate.
    “The primary forecast risks for all counties are linked to external conditions: fiscal tightening will restrain growth, economic conditions in Europe continue to deteriorate, North Korea has begun another round of saber-rattling, and a new strain of bird flu has popped up in China. Adverse developments in these areas could undermine consumers’ confidence and their willingness to travel, weighing on local economic activity.”
    See more at uhero.hawaii.edu.

    Breadfruit is a traditional staple crop throughout the Pacific.
    Photo from Craig Elevitch
    THE NEWLY LAUNCHED BREADFRUIT HARVEST FOR HUNGER project that harvests breadfruit in Kona and distributes it to the food insecure “is based on the fact that there are many people on Hawai`i Island without enough nutritious food to eat, and at the same time there are literally tons of breadfruit that are not being harvested and eaten,” says a release from the organization. “Breadfruit (ulu) is a local, abundant and nutritious food that can be used to alleviate hunger in Hawai`i.” 
          Breadfruit is a traditional staple crop throughout the Pacific region. According to Dr. Diane Ragone, director of the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden, more than 80 percent of the world’s hungry live in tropical and subtropical regions where ecological conditions are suitable for cultivating breadfruit.
          Just like in Hawai`i, many people in the tropics have high food, fuel and fertilizer costs and need sustainable, low-input crops. Many island nations are turning to breadfruit as a solution.
          According to a survey done by Hawai`i Homegrown Food Network, people who grow breadfruit reported that 46 percent is wasted. At the same time, many of Hawai`i’s families are food insecure — lacking access to affordable and nutritious food.
          In its first month of operation, Breadfruit Harvest for Hunger harvested, distributed and processed more than 500 pounds of breadfruit.
          The project builds relationships with landowners who have excess breadfruit and forms an agreement to harvest. The breadfruit is then distributed through social service agencies such as the Kealakehe Meet and Eat, Ocean View Food Basket and Hawai`i Island Youth Corps. Excess breadfruit is processed and frozen for future use by the West Hawai`i Community College Culinary Arts Program.
          The Breadfruit Harvest for Hunger project was started with the support of the Omidyar `Ohana Fund of the Hawai`i Community Foundation. It is an initiative of Hooulu ka Ulu — a project to revitalize ulu (breadfruit) as an attractive, delicious, nutritious, abundant, affordable and culturally appropriate food which addresses Hawai`i’s food security issues.
          The Hooulu ka Ulu project is led by Hawai`i Homegrown Food Network and the Breadfruit Institute of the National Tropical Botanical Garden.
          The project is seeking additional partnerships with landowners who have excess breadfruit and agencies that serve the food insecure.
          For more information or to donate breadfruit from trees, email hooulu@hawaiihomegrown.net or call Andrea Dean at 960-3727.
          Find out more at 
breadfruit.info.

    HAWAI`I POLICE DEPARTMENT REMINDS RESIDENTS that they have one week left to participate in an anonymous Community Satisfaction Survey. The Internet survey, which opened May 1, will remain open until 4 p.m. Friday, May 31. The survey takes about five minutes to complete and is limited to one survey per computer. Participants will be able to enter detailed comments and suggestions at the end of the survey. The respondent’s IP address will not be stored in the survey results.
          Responses will be collected and compiled by an outside source. After the survey period, results will be posted on the Police Department’s website.
          The survey can be accessed at www.hawaiipolice.com.

    The first of four scheduled Sunset Hula performances by Halau Kahula O
    Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu takes place today. Photo by Dino Morrow
    SUNSET HULA TAKES PLACE TODAY at 6 p.m. at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Halau Kahula O Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu, under the direction of kumu hula Ana Nawahine Kahoopii, performed during this first of four sunset performances to be held once each month through August, with dates and times chosen specifically for their closeness to the full moon cycle and actual times of sunset. 
          For more information, call 967-8222 or email julie@volcanoartcenter.org.

    KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers a hike on the Palm Trail Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This relatively easy, guided, 2.6-mile loop crosses scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views the has to offer. Call 985-6011 for more information.

    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who recently visited troops in Afghanistan, speaks
    at Kilauea Military Camp's Memorial Day ceremony Monday.
    KA`U’S U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD WILL BE KEYNOTE SPEAKER at Kilauea Military Camp’s Memorial Day ceremony Monday on the front lawn. Guest speaker is Captain Justin L. Montgomery, commander of the 871st Engineer Co. at Hilo. The one-hour event begins at 3 p.m. The public is invited, and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will waive entry fees for those who enter the park between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and inform park attendants that they are going to the ceremony. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved to the Koa Room inside KMC’s lobby. For more information, call 967-8371. 

    KMC OFFERS A BUFFET after its Memorial Day ceremony. The buffet is available from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Crater Rim Café. Menu items include kalua pork and cabbage, chicken long rice, stuffed ono, huli huli chicken, rice, baked potato, candied sweet potatoes, salad bar, haupia, ice cream bar and beverage. Prices are $14.25 for adults and $8 for children 6 to 11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Early registration with the lowest entry fees is still available for August's Rain Forest Runs. Last year,  the event set a
    record with 590 crossing the finish line to raise money for Volcano Art Center. Photo from VAC
    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE ARE ON THE ALERT to help prevent tragedy on our roads this Memorial Day weekend. Officers are conducting DUI checkpoints and roving patrols through Monday. The effort is part of a national and statewide campaign called “Drunk Driving: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” 
          Driving under the influence of alcohol presents a potential danger to every motorist, passenger and pedestrian the driver encounters. Already this year, Big Island police have made more than 500 DUI arrests, and 13 people have died in traffic fatalities.
          The police ask the public to always remember to have a designated, sober and licensed driver before starting to drink. “If you don’t find one, don’t take a chance – take a taxi.”

    Michelle Galimba joined a panel discussion of food
    security on Insights. Image from pbshawaii.org
    KA`U RANCHER MICHELLE GALIMBA talked about food security on Thursday’s PBS Insights television show. Her family has 2,500 Kuahiwi Ranch cattle on some 10,000 acres of mostly leased land. She talked about the need to promote farming as a challenging and rewarding job and said local farmers should be paid more for the food they produce. “It has to be a value thing for us, to say this is the kind of culture and society we want and invest in farmers,” she said.
 
          Galimba said farming has been denigrated for generations, with families telling children that “it is a low thing to do, when actually it is one of the most challenging and rewarding.”
          Galimba talked about land being available here, saying, “I am in Ka`u, a kingdom that is far, far away.” She said there is a lot of interest in buying food that is grown locally. She said, however, that “we need to pay local farmers more. We need to make a choice. We need to have a healthy society” in which agriculture is valued.
             Galimba said land is a very complicated issue, and, “I think we don’t use land very intelligently in our society” though “we are getting better recently. She said that the concept of highest and best use has to do with environmental factors, food and shelter, not just who pays the most for land.
          Regarding the life of a rancher, Galimba said, “I am actually creating a world, this beautiful world. I just love every minute of it, even when you are exhausted and covered with unmentionable substances.”
          The program can be viewed at pbshawaii.org.

    PAHALA PUBLIC & SCHOOL LIBRARY has a busy summer of activities lined up. Manager Debbie Wong Yuen invites readers of all ages to participate in the 2013 Summer Reading Program, which runs from June 3 to July 5. This is an annual program of Hawai`i State Public Library System, which is celebrating its 100th year. 
          Themes are: for children (infants to 6th grade this fall), “Dig Into Reading;” teens (students entering 7th grade and including the 2013 graduating class), “Beneath The Surface;” and adults (ages 18+), “Groundbreaking Reads.”
          Participants read at least one book a week to receive a weekly reading incentive, while supplies last. There are also special drawings to enter for children (Gardening Fun Gift Basket), teens (notebook and other prizes) and adults (an e-reader). 
          Mondays at Pahala Public & School Library are activity/craft days, and Thursdays are gaming days from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. On Fridays, the library presents a movie matinee at 2:15 p.m. featuring a free family movie and a bag of popcorn.
          There are also be two special programs scheduled. On Monday, June 17 at 1 p.m., Graywolf, a Native American, presents “Cultures of the World,” a 45-minute program featuring authentic, handcrafted weapons, antiques and period costumes. This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Library of Hawai`i, Atherton Family Foundation, the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Aloha United Way and many others. It is a production of the University of Hawai`i at Manoa Statewide Cultural Extension Program.
          Then on Monday, July 1, Joe Iacuzzo presents “Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy” at 1 p.m. This program is being sponsored by Friends of the Ka`u Libraries. Iacuzzo will also have the book he published for sale at this program. For more information, visit dinosaurmummy.org.
          Pahala Public & School Library is open Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call Wong Yuen at 928-2015.

    PAHALA BAPTIST CHURCH, formerly called Pahala Baptist Bible Mission, became a constituted church on May 5.
          The church holds a youth camp at vacation Bible school Monday – Friday, June 3 – 7. The event, to be held at Hilo Baptist Church grounds, is open to preschool through grade 12. Fee is $30.
          The church is also planning a joint worship and fellowship with Ocean View Baptist Church on Sunday, June 30 at 3 p.m. at Punalu`u Black Sand Beach.
          For more information, contact Pastor Mar Ramones at 928-8240 or marjoramones@yahoo.com.

    EARLY REGISTRATION WITH THE LOWEST ENTRY FEES is still available for Volcano Art Center’s fourth annual Rain Forest Runs set for Saturday, Aug. 17. The half marathon, 10K run and 5K run/walk are held in Volcano Village. This event traverses the native rain forest in Volcano Village and the ranches near Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. All distances are open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. 
          Entry fees before June 1 are $65 for the half marathon, $40 for the 10K run and $25 for the 5K run/walk. Fees increase on June 1.
           Volcano Art Center presents art awards donated by local artists to the top three male and female winners of the half marathon, to the overall winners for the 10K and 5K and to the top two male and female winners in each ten-year age division for all race events. In addition, medals are presented to half marathon finishers and to the top male and female winners of the military division for each race.
          More information and registration forms are available at volcanoartcenter.org/rain-forest-runs.

    A RELATIVELY EASY, GUIDED, 2.6-MILE HIKE takes place tomorrow at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The Palm Trail is a loop crossing scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with panoramic views of the park and beyond. The three-hour hike begins at 9:30 a.m. Call 985-6011 for more information.

    Last year's Memorial Day ceremony at Kilauea
    Military Camp honored vets of the 442nd,
    including Iwao Yonemitsu and Toku Nakano,
    of Ka`u. Photo by Julia Neal
    KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S MEMORIAL DAY ceremony begins at 3 p.m. Monday. Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is keynote speaker, and guest speaker is Captain Justin L. Montgomery, commander of the 871st Engineer Co. at Hilo. The public is invited, and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park waives entry fees for those who enter the park between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and inform park attendants that they are going to the ceremony. The event takes place on the front lawn, and in case of inclement weather, it will be moved to the Koa Room inside KMC’s lobby. For more information, call 967-8371. 

    A BUFFET IS AVAILABLE at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café after KMC’s Memorial Day ceremony. From 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., diners can choose from kalua pork and cabbage, chicken long rice, stuffed ono, huli huli chicken, rice, baked potato, candied sweet potatoes, salad bar, haupia, ice cream bar and beverage. Prices are $14.25 for adults and $8 for children 6 to 11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Keola Beamer, Jeff Peterson and Moanalani Beamer present a benefit concert for Volcano Art Center next Sunday.
    Photo from VAC
    AMOUNTS WERE MORE THAN $28,000 HIGHER than the national average for Hawai`i borrowers who received benefits or relief as part of a mortgage abuse settlement, according to the latest report from Joseph Smith, of the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight. The average amount to Hawai`i borrowers was $110,205, compared the national average of $81,437.
    Joseph Smith
          The total relief for 1,597 borrowers in Hawai`i was almost $176 million. Short sales made up most of the relief at a total of $81 million. Forgiven second mortgages made up $57.4 million in relief. Modifications, or reductions, to first mortgage principle totaled over $28 million, and $5 million went to loan refinancing.
          Over one year ago, the Department of Justice, Department of Housing Urban Development and 49 state attorneys general reached a landmark agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. The lenders are Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and GMAC Mortgage parent Ally Financial Inc..
          “It is clear that this historic settlement is making a profound difference on lives and communities,” said Shaun Donovan, secretary of HUD. “Due to the efforts by 49 bipartisan state attorneys general and the federal government, hundreds of thousands of people are able to stay in their homes or avoid foreclosure, preventing the erosion of the social fabric of our communities.”
          The report is available at mortgageoversight.com.

    Ko`oko`olau is now listed as an endangered species.
    Photo from botany.hawaii.edu
    THIRTY-FIVE HAWAIIAN PLANTS and three tree snails are being added to the federal government’s list of endangered species. In its ruling, the Fish & Wildlife Service also reaffirms the previous listing of two Hawaiian plants as endangered. The ruling conserves these 40 species, collectively called the Maui Nui species, under the Endangered Species Act, preventing unauthorized possession, sale or transport of the species and allowing FWS to protect their habitat.
          The listings are part of a 2011 settlement agreement stemming from a lawsuit filed by the environmental group WildEarth Guardians.
          FWS determined that the Maui Nui species are currently in danger of extinction throughout all their ranges because of current and ongoing threats. Threats include destruction and modification of the species’ habitat, primarily from introduced ungulates such as feral pigs, goats, cattle, mouflon sheep, and axis deer and the spread of nonnative plants. Other threats to habitat listed in the ruling are hurricanes, landslides, rockfalls, flooding and drought.
          The ruling also cites small numbers of populations and individuals and low levels of regeneration as other threats.
           The endangered species include Newcomb’s tree snail, two species of Lana`i tree snail, sea beans, `iliahi and several types of ko`oko`olau and haha.
          All of these endangered species are on Moloka`i, Lana`i and Maui, which, according to the ruling, were connected by a broad lowland plain and unified as a single island during the last Ice Age about 21,000 years ago when sea levels were approximately 459 feet below their present level. As a result, the species are found throughout this group of islands.
          The entire ruling is available at s3.amazonaws.com.

    REGARDING HAWAI`I COUNTY’S TESTIMONY to the Public Utilities Commission on the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co., the state Consumer Advocate asked the county about its contention that, “due to uncertainties regarding the feedstock for the proposed project, there may be unanticipated quantitative increases in cost for AKP.”
          Hawai`i County responded, “The Consumer Advocate is correct that the AKP contract does not have a mechanism to transfer higher AKP biodiesel prices during the twenty-year contract period to ratepayers once its fixed, annually escalated price schedule is established.
          “That being said, please consider what would happen if unexpected feedstock and/or production prices drive the cost of AKP biodiesel to the point where it cannot be profitably sold at the designated price – and what that means for ratepayers. In this event, the following options will be available:
    1. AKP could continue to produce fuel and sell to HELCO at a loss: as an operating business with fiduciary responsibility to its investors, this is not a feasible option – no matter how well-intentioned are the parties. 
    2. AKP could go out of business, since it would be unable to achieve its primary business purpose. 
    3. AKP could continue to supply HELCO at a higher price, and HELCO could petition the PUC for a rate increase, under the argument that – with an established production facility in place – it will benefit Hawai`i’s energy independence and security objectives to adjust prices so this already built and operating facility can continue to meet the state’s specified renewable energy goals. 

          “Since Option #1 is not feasible, either #2 or #3 is most likely. If AKP ceases operations, then HELCO will be forced to seek other sources of diesel or biodiesel and ramp up supply options … for the Keahole Power Plant as quickly as possible, which is likely to be complicated since other competing projects will have been frozen out due to the twenty-plus year commitment of the proposed contract.
          “If AKP seeks to increase fuel prices and HELCO petitions to pass these costs on to ratepayers – and if the PUC approves such rate increases – then Hawai`i citizens may be forced to pay yet more in the name of energy security and self-sufficiency.
          “Ironically, the twenty-year plus commitment of the proposed contract will have prevented other projects from coming forward or from even having been considered by the utilities, with the result that ratepayers will be forced into continued subsidies of a project that may not be the most cost-effective or environmentally beneficial among other biofuel options.
          This is the risk that ratepayers face if AKP cannot produce fuel profitably, even at the high fixed prices of this contract. County believes that other projects currently being developed, scaled up, and/or built at commercial scale are seeking to appropriately match feasible feedstock input and fuel output of their systems, and that substantial breakthroughs can reasonably be expected in the next three to seven years that will demonstrate feasible and cost-effective biofuels production.”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.


    THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO Kilauea Military Camp’s Memorial Day ceremony tomorrow. Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is keynote speaker, and guest speaker is Captain Justin L. Montgomery, commander of the 871st Engineer Co. at Hilo. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park waives entry fees for those who enter the park between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and inform park attendants that they are going to the ceremony. The event takes place at 3 p.m. on the front lawn, and in case of inclement weather, moves to the Koa Room inside KMC’s lobby.

    KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S CRATER RIM CAFÉ hosts a Memorial Day buffet from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow. Prices are $14.25 for adults and $8 for children 6 to 11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

    HAWAIIAN MUSICIANS KEOLA BEAMER and Jeff Peterson team up with dancer Moanalani Beamer for a special concert event to benefit Volcano Art Center. The trio offers a performance of Hawaiian slack key guitar music accompanied by hula, chant and traditional instrumentation next Sunday, June 2 at 2 p.m. at VAC’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village.
          Tickets are available in limited quantity for $25 each and can be purchased online at volcanoartcenter.org or by phone at 967-8222. Discounted tickets are not available for this special engagement.
          “We are exceptionally grateful to Keola, Jeff and Moanalani for choosing us for this benefit concert,” states VAC’s CEO Tanya Aynessazian. “They have generously offered up their time and talents for us, believing in us and supporting us, and it means the world to all of us.”

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    The U.S. Navy plans to name an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after Sen. Daniel Inouye.
    SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ AND REP. TULSI GABBARD have issued statements regarding Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ announcement that the U.S. Navy will name an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after Sen. Daniel Inouye.
          “The naming of this destroyer appropriately honors Sen. Inouye’s life and dedication to service during Pearl Harbor, World War II, and throughout his 58 years in elected office serving the state of Hawai`i,” Schatz said. “Sen. Inouye represents what it means to be a public servant, and Hawai`i should be proud of this great honor provided by the Navy.” 
          Gabbard said, “Sen. Inouye inspired us all by his lifelong dedication to the service of the people of Hawai`i and our country. It is only fitting that we honor and memorialize his legacy. For decades to come, the USS Daniel Inouye will bear the name of one of our most distinguished soldiers from our greatest generation and will serve as a constant reminder of Hawai`i’s own iconic American hero. I thank the U.S. Navy for their recognition of Sen. Inouye’s great commitment to our Armed Forces and our country.”

    Sen. Brian Schatz
    SENATOR BRIAN SCHATZ HAS INTRODUCED LEGISLATION to facilitate the construction of a Native American Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The bill would provide the National Museum of the American Indian with the much needed flexibility to raise funds and move forward on construction of a memorial to honor the men and women of Native American heritage, including Native Hawaiians, who have served our nation. 
          “This memorial, originally championed by Sens. Inouye and McCain and signed into law in 1994, has languished far too long,” said Schatz. Sen. Mazie Hirono is one of the original co-sponsors.
    Kevin Gover
         “Every Memorial Day we honor the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces, and this legislation would allow for construction of a memorial on the National Mall so that people from across the country can honor the extraordinary contributions and sacrifices of our Native American veterans,” said Schatz. “Per capita, Native Americans, including American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, serve at a higher rate in the Armed Forces than any other group of Americans and have served in all of the nation’s wars since the Revolutionary War.
          “Our Native veterans have sacrificed their lives for this country, and it is important that we recognize their bravery and patriotism with a fitting memorial. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Indian Affairs Committee and in the United States Senate to get this bill passed and finally have a National Native American Veterans Memorial in our nation’s capital.”
          Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, said, “We are grateful to Sen. Schatz for his interest, and Sens. Inouye and Akaka for their contribution. And we look forward to working with Sen. Schatz as we move forward, empowering the National Museum of the American Indian to be directly involved in the process of erecting this memorial.”
    Allen Hoe
          Native Hawaiian veteran and advocate Allen Hoe said, “I am grateful to Sen. Schatz for revitalizing this effort which Sens. Inouye and Akaka initially advocated. As a veteran and a Native Hawaiian, I can say that it would mean a lot to our community to have a memorial on the National Mall commemorating our service to our country. I thank Sen. Schatz for his leadership and look forward to visiting Washington, D.C. when this monument is complete.”
    Robin Puanani Danner
          Robin Puanani Danner, president of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, a national network of more than 150 Native Hawaiian organizations, said, “We mahalo Sen. Schatz for advancing the work of Sen. Inouye and Sen. Akaka on behalf of all Native peoples, including Native Hawaiians. We must honor and always remember the contributions made by our veterans. The memorial will tell a powerful story, especially for the next generation. Similar to Japanese Americans during war time, Native peoples share a difficult history with our federal government, and we also share an extraordinary commitment to the principles of freedom and democracy.”
    Jefferson Keel
          Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians and a decorated veteran, said, “It is essential that we fulfill Sen. Inouye and Indian Country’s vision for a memorial to honor the service and sacrifice of our Native American service members. NCAI supports the amendments to the Native American Veterans’ Memorial Establishment Act of 1994, which will make the memorial a reality and allow for it to be built on the property of the National Museum of the American Indian. Most importantly, this bill allows for more flexibility for tribal nations and the United States to work together to honor the contributions and sacrifices of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian military service members and veterans. As a Native veteran myself, I look forward to the day my fellow veterans are recognized for their contributions to protecting the sovereignty of tribal nations and the United States.”

    Ka`u residents can participate in Thursday's county budget meeting via
    teleconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.
    HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL CONSIDERS the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year at a special meeting on Thursday at 8 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo. One item on the agenda is Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford’s amendment requesting funding to continue teleconferencing of county government meetings at Ocean View Community Center. Ford encourages Ka`u residents to make use of the facility, which is threatened with closure due to lack of participation. 
          Meeting agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has posted more testimony in opposition to the proposal for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
          “I strongly object to the proposed biofuel contract under consideration,” wrote William Loesche. “We on O`ahu are solely paying for our improvements. We are being charged more for our services almost quarterly. Perhaps the island which benefits should increase their GET and solve their many needs. Even if the people of Hawai`i island were ready to pay 100 percent of the biofuel contract, the contract is not reasonable and should not be accepted. 
          Stephanie Kawaauhau, of Pahala, wrote, “I am opposed to putting a microwave polymerization refinery in our town. I am not only opposed because of the effect it will have on our community, our roads, our land and our people. I am also opposed to it for the state of Hawai`i. To place our state in a contract for the next 20 years with a process that has not been commercially used, expending our resources on this process with a company having no history of success, ignoring the other energy sources on this island ... is unwise in the very least.
          “To grow sterile grasses to create fuel to feed an old (power plant) refinery rather than the people is not the best use of our land. One only needs to explore the results of such behavior in other parts of the world.
          “I am opposed to this for my town, my state ... and for the world. We need to lower energy costs. Lower energy costs will create more jobs for this island and this state than any one company can promise. It is realized that the people involved in this proposal are putting themselves in position to make money. It may be good for those few people in the short term, but not for the future of all the people.”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

    U.S. Rep. and veteran Tulsi Gabbard is keynote speaker
    at KMC's Memorial Day ceremony.
    THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO Kilauea Military Camp’s Memorial Day ceremony today to hear keynote speaker, Ka`u’s U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and guest speaker, Captain Justin L. Montgomery, commander of the 871st Engineer Co. at Hilo. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park waives entry fees for those who enter the park between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. and inform park attendants that they are going to the ceremony. The event takes place at 3 p.m. on the front lawn, and in case of inclement weather, moves to the Koa Room inside KMC’s lobby. 

    A MEMORIAL DAY BUFFET TAKES PLACE at Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Prices are $14.25 for adults and $8 for children 6 to 11 years old. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

    A CONCERT BENEFITING VOLCANO ART CENTER takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. at VAC’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Hawaiian musicians Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson and dancer Moanalani Beamer offer Hawaiian slack key guitar music accompanied by hula, chant and traditional instrumentation.
          Tickets are available in limited quantities for $25 each and can be purchased online at volcanoartcenter.org or by phone at 967-8222.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, seen here with Kilauea Military Camp director Randy Hart and Captain and Mrs. Justin
    Montgomery, gave the keynote address at KMC's Memorial Day ceremony yesterday.
    Photo by David Howard Donald
    “WHAT MAKES OUR COUNTRY GREAT is our men and women who serve,” said U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard during her keynote address at Kilauea Military Camp’s Memorial Day ceremony yesterday. “I will never forget the first memorial service I attended in Iraq” with the playing of Kamalani on `ukulele for Army Sgt. Deyson Cariaga, the first Hawai`i citizen-soldier to die in combat since the Vietnam War.
    Gabbard met with constituents attending KMC's Memorial
    Day ceremony yesterday. Photo from Office of
    Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
          Gabbard also spoke of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington, D.C. as “such a meaningful moment” that brought “an understanding of the fragility of life.” To hear the rifles fired and the playing of Taps “keeps everything in perspective,” she said. 
          She said her introduction of legislation to improve and expedite airport security screening for wounded and severely disabled service members and veterans came after hearing stories of “people who were disrespected and shamed at airports. Coming home is not a time for continues hardships,” she said. The Helping Heroes Fly Act (H.R. 1344) passed the House of Representatives unanimously last Tuesday. “It gives me hope,” Gabbard said.
          Gabbard spoke of military officers as “charged with taking care of” troops. “You maximize their potential and commitment to serve. As a citizen-soldier, I take that with me as an avenue to continue my service.”
          “I look forward to doing my best to make you proud,” she said.
          Captain Justin L. Montgomery, Commander of the 871st Engineer Co.-Hilo, also spoke. “For all of you, you have a reason to be thankful” and we would not have these reasons “if not for the veterans who fought and died for us. We are lucky that we have not paid the ultimate sacrifice.” He suggested that we pause daily to be thankful for what we have in life. 
          Father Mwanshibula Martin, of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Pahala, offered the Invocation and Benediction at the service. “We thank those who have dedicated their lives to serving this nation in defense of freedom, peace and justice,” he said. “We pray for those who have gone before us. We pray for those who are still serving in distant places and their families. We pray for those who have been injured and for their recovery and courage. We pray for ourselves, that we may continue on this mission of imparting freedom and peace.”

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke at a Memorial Day ceremony at a Veterans
    Cemetery in Hilo. Seated next to her is Mayor Billy Kenoi.
    Photo from Office of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
    BEFORE HER KMC ADDRESS, GABBARD SPOKE AT A VETERANS CEMETERY in Hilo. She released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day. 
          “We honor those who gave their lives in service of our country. For generations, our brave men and women in uniform have sacrificed greatly and without expectation of glory. They are the everyday heroes who raise their hands to protect their fellow Americans and defend the freedoms we all hold dear. Their bravery and commitment to service is an inspiring example.
          “We must remember the tens of thousands of American service members who remain in harm’s way today. I will keep working to bring our troops home and ensure that each veteran has the support to ease the transition back to civilian life and is empowered to continue their service in our communities.
          “Today and every day, my thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones in war, and those who continue to serve.”

    Hawai`i Wildlife Fund sponsored its fourth annual Manuka Natural Area Reserve cleanup Saturday.
    Photo collage from HWF
    PARTICIPANTS CLEARED ABOUT A MILE of rocky shoreline during Hawai`i Wildlife Fund’s fourth annual Manuka Natural Area Reserve cleanup on Saturday. Twenty-nine volunteers removed 15 bags worth of miscellaneous marine debris weighting 215 pounds and another 25 pounds of derelict fishing nets. Interesting marine debris finds, according to coordinator Megan Lamson, included a glass float (roller shaped), a plastic manhole-like boat part, and other land-based camping rubbish including a diaper, hundreds of old aluminum/tin cans and batteries. 
          Ka`u volunteers will malama South Kohala, help with research, promotion and restoration of Ka`u Coast and anchaline ponds, and promote the cause this summer at HWF events:
    • Tuesday, June 4 - Wednesday, June 5: Anchialine pool/plant workdays; 
    • Saturday, June 15: South Kohala shoreline cleanup event for National Trails Day® (Kanekanaka Pt - Hapuna Pt) – HWF and Keep Puako Beautiful collaboration; 
    • Tuesday, June 25: Megan Lamson presents HWF’s Wai`ohinu restoration work at After Dark in the Park in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park at 7 p.m.; 
    • Saturday, June 29: HWF sponsors a marine debris float in the Na`alehu Fourth of July Parade at 11 a.m.; 
    • Saturday, July 13: Ka'ū coastal cleanup event (location to be announced); 
    • Monday, July 29 - Tuesday, July 30: Anchialine pool/plant workdays; 
    • Monday, Aug. 26 - Tuesday, Aug. 27: Anchialine pool workdays. 
    HWF colleague Cat Spina is looking for volunteers to help her with day trips to Kamilo Point for her research on marine debris accumulation throughout the year. “If you are fit, hard-working and willing to help during one or more weekdays,” said Spina, contact her at cat.spina@gmail.com for more details and dates.
          Lamson noted that HWF is a very small non-profit and would be unable to continue restoration projects without continued volunteering, donations, advice and four-wheel drive vehicles to reach remote locations.
          Email her at kahakai.cleanups@gmail.com for more information.

    Ka`u UPLINK All-Stars Ululani Kahakua-Brown, Lomon Silk, Rowlie Flores, Ruth Aini, Jobi Heskey, Trevor Taylor
    and Travis Taylor perform a medley led by music instructor Keoki Kahumoku. Photo by Thu-Tam Doan





    AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS RECENTLY CELEBRATED their first year here on the Big Island during a Public Launch Event with student performances at Kea`au Middle School on Tuesday, May 7. The three schools represented were Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary, Kea`au Middle and Pahoa Intermediate.
          At Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School, After-School All-Stars have merged with UPLINK, the existing after-school program for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who have already been operating at KHPES for the past four years. This merged program is known as the UPLINK All-Stars After-School Program.
          For more information on the UPLINK All-Stars After-School program, contact UPLINK program coordinator Liza Saplan at 928-2006 or After-School All-Stars site coordinator Thu-Tam Doan at 557-7414.

    Brenda Ford
    A SPECIAL MEETING OF HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL to consider the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year takes place Thursday at 8 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo. An item on the agenda is Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford’s amendment requesting funding to continue teleconferencing of county government meetings at Ocean View Community Center. Ford encourages Ka`u residents to make use of the facility, which is threatened with closure due to lack of participation. 
          Another request from Ford is $5,000 for a children’s playground at Na`alehu Park.
          Council committee meetings are scheduled tomorrow at Council chambers in Hilo. At 9 a.m., the Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee considers and amendment to Hawai`i County Code that would prohibit the propagation, cultivation, raising, growing, sale or distribution of transgenic organisms, or GMOs.
          Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability Committee meets at 10:30 a.m., and Finance Committee meets at 1:45 p.m.
          Ka`u residents can participate in the meetings via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.
          Agendas are available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    A CONCERT BENEFITING VOLCANO ART CENTER takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. at VAC’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Hawaiian musicians Keola Beamer and Jeff Peterson and dancer Moanalani Beamer offer Hawaiian slack key guitar music accompanied by hula, chant and traditional instrumentation.
          Tickets are $25 each and can be purchased online at volcanoartcenter.org or by phone at 967-8222.

    Ka`u High School, along with Ocean View Community Center, hosts
    Tropic Care 2013 for nine days beginning next Tuesday.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    TROPIC CARE 2013 BEGINS A WEEK FROM TODAY. Two clinics, at Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School and Ocean View Community Center, bring 75 military reservists to Ka`u Tuesday, June 4 to Wednesday, June 12 to provide free medical care in clinics open to the public. Clinics are held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., closing early at 12 p.m. on the final day, June 12. 
          Health care services provided free of charge include physical exams, dentistry, optometry (exams and glasses), medication review and provision of some medication, and nutrition education. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and advised that there may be long wait times.
          Tropic Care 2013 is an exercise of the Department of Defense’s Innovative Readiness Training program, which challenges reservists to plan and implement rapid mobilizations to distant and unfamiliar areas.
         “This innovative program will benefit everyone involved and will further our goal of keeping our community safe and healthy,” said Karen Teshima, executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi.
          For more information or to request special assistance or an auxiliary aid, call (808) 974-6035 or email Martha Yamada of the Public Health Nursing Section at martha.yamada@doh.hawaii.gov.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Ka`u All-Stars Kyle Calumpit, Ruth Aini, Ululani Kahakua-Brown, Josiah Barrios, Patrick Pasion, Donald Mello,
    Travis Taylor, Kenson Ken, Jobi Heskey and Autumn Wright participated in Special Olympics at UH-Manoa
     last weekend. Photos by Thu-Tam Doan and Malana Panaro
    NATIVE HAWAIIAN ACTIVISTS PLAN TO ASK the next state Legislature to repeal a law, signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie last week, allowing phased review of the impact of development projects on historic preservation, according to a story in today’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser
          Derrick DePledge reports that they also plan to urge the public to make the law a political issue in Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s re-election campaign.
          The law allows phased reviews of projects along corridors or large land areas, where access to property is restricted and where circumstances dictate that construction be done in phases.
          Abercrombie said in a statement that he signed the law “because every admonition about historic preservation and respect has been taken into account. Act 85 brings state law into line with federal law, which is complete and takes into account environmental and historical requirements in regular order.
          “The state of Hawai`i obeys the law. We understand environmental laws and historic preservation laws. We respect both the spirit and the letter of the law.”
    Gov. Neil Abercrombie
          At a news conference outside the governor’s office, Walter Ritte said he and other activists will do whatever it takes “to protect our historic sites, protect our cultural heritage and to protect our iwi kupuna and the dignity that they deserve,” DePledge reports. 

    “
OUR ECONOMY IS STRONG AND APPEARS to be getting stronger,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie in a response to the state Council on Revenues revised forecast reaffirming its previous General Fund tax revenue projection for the current fiscal year and increasing its projections for the next three fiscal years.
          For the upcoming biennium, tax revenue is projected to grow eight percent in 2014 and then seven percent in 2015. Those compounded increases would mean $86 million more revenue over the next two years.


          “Hawai`i continues to lead the U.S. amongst states with significant revenue growth possibilities,” Abercrombie said. “We must remember that the Council predictions relate to tax revenue growth. We expect to see continued improvement in the construction industry, real estate market, agriculture and small business activity as well as the hospitality industry. All of our local industries will benefit from our improving economy.
          “I am very optimistic about the prospects for our local economy. My administration has fostered increased activity in our economy, and that translates into increased tax revenue due to that activity. I think the Council forecast supports the proposition that economic activity is strong and improving. These are good signs to support optimism for our residents and businesses.”

    Ka`u residents can contact Ka`u CDP Steering Committee members
    regarding progress of the plan. Photo from kaucdp.info
    HAWAI`I COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT encourages Ka`u residents to provide feedback, suggested additions, updates and corrections on draft Ka`u Community Development Plan appendices that were released in April. The deadline is Monday, June 24. 
          The documents and feedback forms are available at the Ka`u CDP website; at libraries and community centers in Pahala, Na`alehu, Discovery Harbour and Ocean View; and at Hilo and Kona Planning Department offices. “The draft materials are works-in-progress, said long-range planner Ron Whitmore. “It is expected that they will be revised as conditions change and new information becomes available.”
          Whitmore suggests reading Appendix V4A: Natural and Cultural Resource Management Analysis. “Appendix V4A does not include the policies and plans of action that will make-up the heart of the CDP and is not designed to be read from start to finish,” Whitmore said. “Consider reading through page 14 and then using the tables of contents, figures, and tables to find material of greatest interest.”
          The next Ka`u CDP Steering Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 13, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. “Prior to that meeting, we hope to make additional draft CDP appendices available for public review, including an analysis of Community Building strategies.”
          Feedback forms and comments may be emailed to planning@co.hawaii.hi.us or mailed to Ka`u CDP, Hawai`i County Planning Department, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, HI 96720.
          For more information, see www.kaucdp.info or contact Whitmore at 961-8137, Community Planning assistant Nalani Parlin at 217-6893 or Steering Committee members, whose contact information is on the website.

    KA`U RESIDENTS CAN PARTICIPATE in a special meeting of Hawai`i County Council via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center tomorrow. The Council considers the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year takes at 8 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo. An item on the agenda is Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford’s amendment requesting funding to continue teleconferencing of county government meetings at the center. Ford encourages Ka`u residents to make use of the facility, which is threatened with closure due to lack of participation.
          Another request from Ford is $5,000 for a children’s playground at Na`alehu Park.
          Agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

    Donald Mello leads Ka`u All-Stars after their
    victory over O`ahu's Jarrett All-Stars.
    THE KA`U ALL-STARS HAVE RETURNED from UH-Manoa where they participated in Special Olympics this past weekend. 
          “Our students from remote Ka`u were especially touched by this experience,” said program coordinator Thu-Tam Doan. “Our delegation had to travel farthest to attend these State Championships, but this is precisely what made it so rewarding for our students to be able to participate. Eighth-grader Kenson Ken, who was born and has been raised on the Big Island, has never left before this opportunity. This was the first time he ever rode an airplane; the first time he had ever seen an escalator; the first time he had ever eaten at a buffet. Everything seemed to be magical to him. At one point, he told me, ‘Miss, I feel like I am dreaming, but when we go home on Sunday, that dream will be over.’ Others were so inspired by the experience that they now aspire to attend college.”
          For more information about the All-Stars program, call Doan at 557-7414.

    STORYTIME WITH AUNTIE JUDI, a new program at Na`alehu Public Library, takes place tomorrow and every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. Along with reading of stories and nursery rhymes, toddlers and preschoolers can participate in a craft. Call 939-2443 for more information.

    Pahala pool holds Keiki Summer Fun Learn to Swim classes
    in June and July. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
    KEIKI SUMMER FUN LEARN TO SWIM classes are scheduled at Pahala swimming pool in June and July. Each class is two weeks long, Monday – Friday, except for holidays, and each is $10. 
          Registration takes place tomorrow and Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Payment is by cash or check.
          Call 928-8177 for more information.

    TWO ART CLASSES TAKE PLACE SATURDAY at Volcano Art Center Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Kathy Long shares techniques to bring depth and life to art in a drawing class from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a pastel class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Fee of $60 or $54 for VAC members per class includes supplies and a print from the artist. Register at 967-8222.

    PUNA CHICKS – ANOTHER NIGHT OF COMEDY! is set for Saturday at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. “Puna Princess” Sherri Carden, “Puna Tita” Angie Libadisos and Tanya Anne present a rousing night of comedy for $10 per person. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 967-8222 or see volcanoartcenter.org.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    A monk seal pup recently born on the Ka`u Coast, shown nursing when he was less than one week old,
    has since been weaned. Photo by Justin Viezbicke 
    A HAWAIIAN MONK SEAL PUP BORN on the Ka`u Coast was recently weaned from his mother, a nine-year-old seal from Moloka`i. This is her second pup, according to Justin Viezbicke, of NOAA. One of less than 1,100 seals alive today, he is currently being monitored by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Service staff and volunteers. 
          “We want to alert the public of his presence in order to relay important information about the natural behavior of newly weaned seal pups,” Viezbicke said. “In the few months after his mother leaves the area, this seal may seek out human attention and attempt to interact with humans. Encouraging this behavior and these interactions may cause him to lose his wild tendencies and severely lessen his chances of surviving in the wild.
    The monk seal pup is expanding his range as he and his
    confidence level grow. Photo by Julie Steelman
          “We have had to move two pups off Hawai`i island due to human interaction problems, including the first pup born in the area over 10 years ago.” 
          Viezbicke expects the pup to expand his range as his confidence grows. “Most of the seals born on Hawai`i Island remain on the island, but as they get older, they expand their range to all of Hawai`i island and possibly other islands,” he said.
          Viezbicke offered guidelines to help this and other monk seals to stay “alive and wild:”
    • Maintain a distance of at least 150 feet from the seal; 
    • If the seal approaches, ignore it and quickly move away or exit the water; 
    • Do not make eye contact with the seal or try to get its attention with loud noises; 
    • Do not feed the seal. 
          Viezbicke commended Hawai`i Wildlife Fund’s volunteer efforts in cleaning up the Ka`u Coast and keeping it as clean as possible “so that it can be used not only by the people of Hawai`i but also the animals that live here as well.”      
           Please report all seal sightings to NOAA’s Monk Seal Sighting Line at 808-987-0765. “The survival of every seal is important for the survival of the entire species,” Viezbicke said. “Thank you for helping save one of Hawai`i’s endangered species!”

    The large yellow object that was found on the Ka`u Coast in October
    has been removed.
    THE LARGE, YELLOW, METAL OBJECT, some 20 feet in diameter and 12 feet high, that washed up on the Ka`u Coast about four miles south of Na`alehu, has been removed, according to a report at bigislandnow.com. Deborah Ward, of the state Department of Land & Natural Resources, told Dave Smith that Ka`u Andrade Contracting cut it up and hauled it away. 
          Exactly what the object was, or whether or not it was debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, is still unknown. Hawai`i state officials think it may be have been a buoy to tie up vessels at sea.
          DNLR originally said removal could cost as much as $100,000. Smith reports that Ka`u Andrade Contracting submitted the winning bid of $28,500.
          The story says another object of the same description washed ashore on an island in British Columbia.
          See more at bigislandnow.com.

    KA`U HOSPITAL IS EXPECTED TO SEE a deficit of $69,000 by the end of fiscal year 2014, according to a story in today’s Hawai`i Tribune-Herald about Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation’s overall $7.2 million shortfall. The safety net hospital system, which receives subsidies from the state, is dealing with increasing health-care costs, lower reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid and upcoming changes in reimbursements as a result of ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 
          “Let me tell you, there’s a financial crisis with HHSC. Unquestionably. Our board, and the other HHSC region boards, are very, very, very concerned about how we’re going to be able to operate going forward,” Howard Ainsley, CEO of HHSC’s East Hawai`i Region, told reporter Colin M. Stewart. “Some hospitals are going to have difficulties making payroll unless emergency appropriations are made to these regions.”
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    A PROPOSAL BY KA`U’S COUNCIL MEMBER Brenda Ford that would have changed foreclosure procedures was postponed by the county Finance Committee yesterday. Ford proposed to reduce the number of years required for the county to wait before foreclosing on delinquency real property taxes from three to two years.
          “It isn’t that I want to foreclose on people,” Ford said. “I want them to pay their taxes.”
          In a West Hawai`i Today story, Nancy Cook Lauer reports that Council members opposing the measure said people probably don’t pay their taxes on time because they don’t have the money and that they’re also paying 12 percent interest on the balance as well as penalties.
          Kohala Council member Margaret Wille called for a task force to study the issue.
          See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

    HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC AND HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANIES have scheduled a two-hour meeting next Wednesday, June 5 at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center to seek public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans. The Action Plans are part of the Integrated Resource Planning process, which looks at how the utilities will meet future energy needs. The Hawaiian Electric Companies intend to file an Action Plan for each company with the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission by June 28. 
          Information about IRP, including the four energy scenarios that guided the planning analysis, is available at www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.
          Ongoing technical analysis of the scenarios is also available on the site. The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans will be available for public review on the site after presentation to the citizens’ Advisory Group today.
          The PUC initiated the latest round of integrated resource planning in March 2012 and named Carl Freedman of Maui-based Haiku Design & Analysis as the Commission’s independent entity to oversee the process. The PUC also named a 68-member IRP Advisory Group, composed of representatives from diverse locations and organizations in Hawai`i, to provide public input to the Hawaiian Electric utilities in the planning process.
          According to the PUC, “The goal of integrated resource planning is to develop an Action Plan that governs how the utility will meet energy objectives and customer needs consistent with state energy policies and goals while providing safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost through development of Resource Plans and Scenarios of possible futures that provide a broader long-term perspective.”

    REGISTRATION FOR KEIKI SUMMER FUN Learn To Swim classes in June and July takes place today and tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pahala swimming pool. Each class is two weeks long, Monday – Friday (except for holidays) and each is $10. Payment is by cash or check.
          Call 928-8177 for more information.

    Pau Hula by Kathy Long. Image from  VAC
    KATHY LONG SHARES TECHNIQUES to bring depth and life to art Saturday in a drawing class from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a pastel class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Fee of $60 or $54 for VAC members per class includes supplies and a print from the artist. Register at 967-8222. 

    VOLCANO ART CENTER PRESENTS Puna Chicks – Another Night Of Comedy Saturday at 7 p.m. at its Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village with “Puna Princess” Sherri Carden, “Puna Tita” Angie Libadisos and Tanya Anne. Tickets are $10 per person. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Call 967-8222 or see volcanoartcenter.org.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Members of the marine debris team from the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center display 14 metric tons of plastic debris and derelict fishing gear collected in April at Midway Atoll.
    NOAA photo by Edmund Coccagna
    KA`U WILL HAVE MORE POLICE OFFICERS after Hawai`i County Council passed the $394.3 million budget yesterday. Police Chief Harry Kubojiri asked for the staffing increase based on the district’s population growth. Deputy Police Chief Paul Ferreira said that would allow one additional officer per shift. Recruits would come from a class graduating in June. 
          The budget passed by a vote of 7-2. Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford voted against it, saying she is opposed to raising property taxes to pay for it. The budget is 7.4 percent higher than last year’s, and the Council approved property tax increases to help balance the budget.

    TELECONFERENCING OF COUNTY GOVERNMENT MEETINGS will continue at Ocean View Community Center with funding approved and included in the budget. During budget negotiations yesterday, Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford said, “If you shoot this down, Ka‘u is not going to have anything.”

    GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE HAS RELEASED more than $21.8 million for capital improvement projects for state airports and highways. “Our state’s economy is growing stronger, and it is important that we maintain this positive momentum by continuing to invest in priority capital improvement projects – particularly those maintaining and upgrading our transportation infrastructure, which is essential to island commerce, business, the visitor industry, and our way of life,” Abercrombie said. “As I directed upon taking office, the state Department of Transportation is restructuring its procurement process and will ensure proper training and implementation of strong, centralized controls to meet standards required by law.”
          Priority projects, identified by members of the state Legislature, include $1,150,000 for statewide planning and research activities related to the development, management and operation of transportation systems and facilities in the state. Highway planning and research is a prerequisite to continued receipt of federal highway funds. An allotment of $395,000 goes to statewide bridge inspection and appraisal to determine bridge needs and the prioritization of those needs.

    Debris at Midway reflects similar findings from
    Ka`u Coast cleanups sponsored by
    Hawai`i Wildlife Fund.
    AS WITH DEBRIS COLLECTED ALONG the Ka`u Coast during Hawai`i Wildlife Fund-sponsored cleanups, most of the marine debris collected at Midway Atoll is plastic. 
          In April, members of the marine debris team of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Division of Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center collected almost 14 metric tons of plastic debris and derelict fishing gear from the remote island in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage Site.
          “The amount of plastics in the environment up here is pretty alarming,” said James Morioka, a member of the CRED marine debris team, after witnessing the amount of debris present on the shoreline of Eastern Island after only nine months of accumulation since the last marine debris mission at Midway Atoll ended in last July. “Just trying to keep up with it is kind of overwhelming.”
          Along with remove of coastal debris, the team removed derelict fishing gear from shallow reef areas to mitigate entanglement of Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles, which are listed as endangered and threatened, respectively, under the Endangered Species Act.
          See more at pifscblog.wordpress.com.

    AN OUTBREAK OF THE NATIVE KOA MOTH and the resulting defoliation of koa forests on Hawai`i Island are continuing to be observed by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which is closely monitoring the outbreak with aerial and ground surveys performed in collaboration with the University of Hawai`i and U.S. Geological Survey.
          “The department is closely monitoring the moth outbreak and the recovery of koa forests and will use the information gathered to determine whether future management actions are needed,” said William Aila, Jr., DLNR chairperson. “Although recovery of most koa forests is expected, the opening of the forest canopy could hasten the spread of introduced plants in our native forests.”
          The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife has mapped the defoliated area on East Hawai`i, which spans from Laupahoehoe to Upper Waiakea and covers over 50,000 acres.
          Moths, caterpillars and initial signs of defoliation have also been reported in Ka`u, Kilauea and Keauhou and regions, and the Pu`u Wa`a Wa`a area of West Hawai`i.
    Koa moth caterpillar scrapes trees' leaves.
    Photo by William Haines of UH/CTAHR
          Trees defoliated earlier in the outbreak have already been observed sprouting new leaves, indicating that the forest is recovering, according to DLNR. 
          Outbreaks of this native insect are a natural phenomenon, as indicated by oral accounts by Hawaiians describing similar outbreaks before the first documented outbreak in 1892. Researchers believe these disturbances likely play an important ecological role by eliminating unhealthy trees, thinning dense young koa stands, and providing an influx of nutrients into the forest ecosystem.
          However, little is known about the causes and full natural cycle of this phenomenon. Additionally, an invasive psyllid insect that was first detected in Hawai`i in 1966 – and was not present during previous outbreaks – could damage new shoots of recovering trees, DLNR claims
          There are currently no tools for slowing or stopping the infestation. Aerial spraying of insecticides would harm other forest organisms and is not feasible on a large scale. Biological control is not possible with a native species because its natural enemies are already present in Hawai`i, and there is no outside source for predators or parasites that would be specific to the moth.
          In addition to monitoring the spread of the outbreak, DLNR is seeking funds to investigate natural controls of the moths using traps or baits and to monitor recovery of forests and the response of invasive plant populations. This information will be useful for managing future outbreaks if they are determined to harm the forest.
          Further information is available on DLNR’s website at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw.

    Hawai`i Island hunter James Fukunaga bagged this billy at KMA
    in November. Photo from PTA
    ARMY OFFICIALS ARE OPENING the Keamuku Maneuver Area of Pohakuloa Training Area for bow hunting tomorrow and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. KMA will be open for bow hunting of pigs, sheep and goats only. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep, per day, in keeping with state bag limits. Hunting mammals with ear tags is allowed; however, hunting mammals with colored tracking collars is prohibited. 
          All hunters must check in and check out at one of the following hunter’s check-in stations: Kilohana, located on Saddle Road between mile markers 43 and 44; or Pu`u Anahulu, located on Mamalahoa Highway across from mile marker 15. Check out time is no later than 7:30 p.m. each day.
          Hunting passes will be provided at the check-in stations beginning today after 5 p.m. These passes must be signed and placed on the vehicle’s dashboard. Hunters who do not have a signed hunting pass on their dashboard will be barred from hunting for 30 days.
          Hunters must enter and exit the hunting areas through one of the following gates: gates 2, 7 or 10 on Saddle Road, or gates 11 or 14 on Mamalahoa Highway. Parking is in designated areas.
          Firearms, alcoholic beverages, all-terrain vehicles, dirt bikes and/or recreational vehicles are not allowed in the training and hunting areas.
          For more information, call the PTA Hunter’s Hotline at (808) 969-3474, visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the “Hunting” tab, or refer to instructions on the hunting pass.

    REGISTRATION FOR KEIKI SUMMER FUN Learn To Swim classes in June and July continues today from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pahala swimming pool. Each class is two weeks long, Monday – Friday (except for holidays) and each is $10. Payment is by cash or check.
          Call 928-8177 for more information.

    Tropical Reflections by Kathy Long
    KATHY LONG SHARES TECHNIQUES to bring depth and life to art Saturday in a drawing class from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and a pastel class from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Fee of $60 or $54 for VAC members per class includes supplies and a print from the artist. Register at 967-8222. 

    VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Puna Chicks Comedy event originally scheduled for tomorrow at 7 p.m. has been cancelled.

    A GUIDED, 2.5-MILE, MODERATELY DIFFICULT hike over rugged terrain focuses on the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s human history. The three-hour hike begins at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Call 985-6011 for more information.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Ka`u Hospital administrator Merilyn Harris has received recognition from the Tobacco-Free Coalition of East Hawai`i
    for the hospital's tobacco-free policy and commitment to improving community health. Photo by Julia Neal
    IN OBSERVANCE OF WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY yesterday, the Tobacco-Free Coalition of East Hawai`i presented recognition plaques to Ka`u Hospital administrator Merilyn Harris, Therese Glowania, personnel management specialist at Hale Ho`ola Hamakua and Howard Ainsley, East Hawai`i regional CEO of Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation and Hilo Medical Center for the hospitals’ tobacco-free policy and commitment to improving community health. The facilities adopted a tobacco-free policy effective May 1.
          According to World Health Organization, tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death globally and is currently responsible for killing one in 10 adults worldwide. “We are honored to be recognized for our tobacco-free policy and our commitment to improving population health,” said Ainsley. “As the largest employer in East Hawai`i, we are constantly looking for ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle. This policy is just one way we can make a difference in people’s lives and reduce the incidence of heart attack and stroke.” 
          “World No Tobacco Day is the perfect day to celebrate our state hospitals and clinics in East Hawai`i,” said Sally Ancheta, East Hawai`i coordinator of the Tobacco-Free Coalition. “We applaud the HHSC’s hospitals and their affiliated clinics in East Hawai`i for leading by example and going tobacco-free.”
          The East Hawai`i Region provides support to patients, staff and the community in their efforts to quit using tobacco products. Patients are currently offered tobacco cessation information and tobacco abatement products such as nicotine patches. Tobacco cessation classes are being organized for staff and community members.
          For more information, contact Elena Cabatu at 932-3160 or ecabatu@hhsc.org.

    Bobby Jean Leithead Todd
    MAYOR BILLY KENOI ANNOUNCED THE APPOINTMENT of former state Land Use Commission chairman Duane Kanuha as the county’s new planning director. Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, who has served as county planning director for the past four years, will assume control of the county Department of Environmental Management. 
          Kanuha served as the county’s deputy planning director from 1976 to 1984 and was planning director from 1988 to 1990 during the administration of the late Mayor Bernard Akana. He was Hawai`i Island commissioner on the state Land Use Commission from 2005 to 2011, and was chair of the commission from 2008 to 2009.
          In 2007, Kanuha was appointed executive vice president of Kohala Investment Works, LLC, a subsidiary of Surety Kohala Corporation.
          The appointment of Leithead Todd as director of Department of Environmental Management marks the second time she has led that department. Leithead Todd previously served as DEM director in 2007 and 2008.
    Margaret Masunaga
          A graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, Leithead Todd served as Hawai`i County deputy corporation counsel for nine years, from 1987-1993 and from 2003-2007. She also served as the legislative auditor for the county, and as a member of the Hawai`i County Council from 1996 to 2003. 
          Kenoi also announced the appointment of Laverne Omori as director of the Department of Research and Development and Hilo bank manager Donn Mende as deputy director.
          Omori has served as deputy director of the Department of Research and Development since 2010. Previously she worked as an economic development specialist in Research & Development, as a planner in the county Office of Aging and as program director in the Department of Parks & Recreation.
          Mende is currently Hilo branch manager of Hawai`i National Bank. A graduate of Waiakea High School, Mende previously worked in trust and investment banking in Honolulu before returning to Hilo to take a position with American Savings Bank in 2006.
    Donn Mende
          Kenoi also named Kona-based executive assistant Bobby Command as the new deputy planning director. Command will assume the position now held by attorney Margaret Masunaga, who is moving from the Planning Department to practice law in the county Office of the Corporation Counsel. 
          Command has served as executive assistant to Mayor Billy Kenoi since 2008 and worked on projects such as the Ane Keohokalole Highway and the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass. Command graduated from University of Hawai`i – Manoa with a degree in journalism and was a longtime reporter at West Hawai`i Today, specializing in land use.
          Kenoi also named former Hawai`i Community Foundation program officer Clarysse Kami Nunokawa to the position of executive assistant to the mayor.
          Nunokawa is currently a planner in the county Office of Aging and previously served as grant manager and compliance coordinator for the $2 million Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant to prevent underage drinking. She also served as a program officer for Hawai`i Community Foundation and as a planner and program specialist for the state Planning Council on Developmental Disabilities.
          “We are excited to be making these changes to better serve our community,” Kenoi said. “These appointments add new energy and expertise to our departments and staff, and I want to thank each of our appointees for their commitment to our community.”

    Ray LaHood
    TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY RAY LAHOOD has praised officials in Hawai`i for passing laws to ban texting while driving. 
          LaHood has waged a vocal campaign against distracted driving during his tenure at the Department of Transportation, and noted that more than 40 states now have prohibitions against texting behind the wheel.
          The new law makes texting while driving a primary offense. As such, drivers can be pulled over for that alone.
          “I commend Gov. Abercrombie and the Hawai`i Legislature for taking an important stand against the danger of distracted driving," LaHood said in a statement.
          See more at thehill.com.

    KEAMUKU MANEUVER AREA of Pohakuloa Training Area is open for bow hunting of pigs, sheep and goats only today and tomorrow from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hunters are allowed one pig, one goat and one sheep per day, in keeping with state bag limits.
          For more information, call the PTA Hunter’s Hotline at 808-969-3474, visit garrison.hawaii.army.mil/pta and click on the Hunting tab, or refer to instructions on the hunting pass.

    PEOPLE & LAND OF KAHUKU, a guided, 2.5-mile, moderately difficult hike over rugged terrain, focuses on the human history of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit. The three-hour hike begins at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. Call 985-6011 for more information.

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with Col. Jerry Arends, organizer of Tropic
    Care, during her visit to Lana`i. Photo from Office of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
    TROPIC CARE 2013 BEGINS TUESDAY, when 75 military reservists come to Ka`u to run two clinics providing health care services free of charge, including physical exams, dentistry, optometry (exams and glasses), nutrition education, medication review and provision of some medication. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and are advised that there may be long wait times. 
          Clinics are held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for the last day, Wednesday, June 12, when they close at noon. Locations are Pahala School Campus and Ocean View Community Center.
          In addition to medical services, residents living off the grid and using a generator for power will have access to service members specializing in mechanics, who will work on any systems that need attention.
          U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard received a briefing this week on the program from Air Force Reserves Col. Jerry Arends during her tour of Lana`i. “Access to quality health care can be a challenge for those in our rural and underserved communities,” Gabbard said. “I know everyone appreciates the extra help being offered at no cost thanks to the Army, Air Reserves, and the National Guard.”
          For more information about Tropic Care, contact Arends at 701-566-1932.

    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.

    ALSO SEE KAUCALENDAR.COM AND FACEBOOK.COM/KAUCALENDAR.

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    Allowing mulching and composting on agriculturally zoned lands could help keep green waste out of landfills and provide
    extra income for farms like this one up Wood Valley Road, with coffee and macadamia. Photo by Julia Neal
    ALLOWING COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING AND MULCHING on agriculturally zoned land is a measure coming up before the County Council this week. The bill is proposed by Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford, who said the law limiting composting to industrially zoned lands is “archaic.” According to Ford, creating compost and mulch on land near or where the inputs are gathered will reduce the spread of invasive species. Coffee farmers in Ka`u have been particularly concerned about the possibility of mulch made in Kona being shipped into Ka`u containing the coffee berry borer which has devastated the Kona Coffee industry.
         Lobbying for the measure has also come from former Ka`u council member Brittany Smart, a resident of Discovery Harbour. She said that legally processing green waste from many sources on ag land would open up opportunity for community mulching and composting centers where residents could take their green waste only a short distance from their homes and farms.
    Discovery Harbour resident and former
    County Council member Brittany Smart.
    Photo by Julia Neal
         While rarely enforced, current county law prohibits the chipping and processing of green waste coming from another property unless the processing is located on industrial zoned lands.
           Allowing the mulch and compost processing sites to be on agricultural land would also be good for soil and water conservation, as the green waste can help prevent the lands from drying out, said Smart who now works for Big Island Eko Systems. She also noted that concentrating green waste, anything organic in a landfill - on a single site - can lead to fires when the decomposition creates gas. She said that having many green processing sites on ag land could reduce the chance of fires through taking the green waste there rather than to the concentrated county landfills.
          “It makes it a whole local operation. You generate the material. You process the material and you use the end product, all in the same area.” Smart said that the local processing of green waste also provides farmers with a valuable end product to use on coffee fields and “they will know where it comes from. This is a further protection of Ka`u coffee farms from the coffee berry borer,” said Smart.
          Smart also explained that the new bill would still require compliance with state Department of Health regulations, regarding such possibilities as dust and noise. The rules are tonnage based and also depend on the source of the compost, including whether it would be limited to only plants, she said.
          Both Smart and Ford said that more composting on ag lands could can also give farmers an additional income from coffee, macadamia and other green wastes when they sell the finished mulch to other local farmers and gardeners.

    OPPOSITION TO PUBLIC BUS FARE INCREASES is expected to come from Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford as the council considers the hike from $1 to $2 as well as ending free rides for students, the elderly and disabled. Ford said she wants to keep the fare low to encourage more ridership. According to a report in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald this morning, council member Drew Kanuha said an increase in the fares could lead to more stops and routes. He also told reporter Erin Miller that $2 for a ride from Ka`u to South Kohala remains a bargain.
    See www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    Hele On Bus fares could go up to $2 per person under a proposal before
    the County Council. Photo from www.billykenoi.com
    AN INCREASE IN ANNUAL VEHICLE FEES charged by the county also comes before the council this week, this one before the Finance Committee on Tuesday. It's the first hike in a decade. Mayor Billy Kenoi’s budget would raise the weight tax rates for trucks and non-passenger commercial vehicles from 2 cents a pound to 2.5 cents a pound. Passenger cars and vans would be charged 1.25 cents a pound. The tax has been .75 cents a pound since 2004.
          Ka`u County Council member Brenda Ford said she leans toward supporting the hike.

    THE ABILITY TO TESTIFY and view County Council meetings from Ka`u at the Ocean View Community Center will remain in place. However, County Council member Brenda Ford urges area residents to attend the meetings and share their voices. The interactive capabilities faced budget cuts this year with a claim that not enough Ka`u residents were using the facility to keep the interactive system in place. Ford defended the ability to remotely view and testify for all citizens around the island. The next opportunity is Tuesday with Finance Committee meetings and Wednesday with the full County Council meeting, which will be broadcast from Kona.

    Tom Peek, of Volcano, picked up his silver Benjamin Franklin
    Book Award last week in New York. Photo by Julia Neal
    TOM PEEK, AUTHOR OF DAUGHTERS OF FIRE, picked up his silver prize in the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards last week at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square in New York. His debut novel takes up resort development politics, the Hawaiian mafia, Hawaiian gods, values and spirituality, as well as earth and sky science on the ever-looming active volcanoes. It is also a romance and murder mystery. Ka`u places in the novel include Volcano, Kapapala, Pahala and Punalu`u.
          The award for Popular Fiction comes from the Independent Book Publishers Association, the largest not-for-profit trade group in the U.S. book industry.
          Peek, a Volcano resident wearing maile and kukui lei, also represented Hawai`i last week at the largest book confab in the United States. Book Expo America takes place annually at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York where Peek signed copies and talked to book buyers, distributors and other authors.  Publisher is Koa Books. See www.daughtersoffire.com

    A Volcano area kipuka from Josel Namkung, a Retropective,
     which won Gold in the Benjamin Franklin Awards competition.
    Image from Cosgrove Editions
    THE VOLCANO AREA was included in another winning book at the Independent Book Publishers Awards in News York last week. Josel Namkung, a Retrospective includes a photo from Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park of a kipuka and bending green grasses with a tiny bit of reddish color. The Gold Winner for Art and Photography, the volume, which spans about three feet when opened, is printed with the highest quality available, said its publisher Dick Busher, of Cosgrove Editions, who joined the Hawai`i contingent during the awards ceremony. The images were taken using film and large format cameras.
          Namkung, with a six decades of career, has photographed in Hawai`i and mainly in the Pacific Northwest and Korea.
          In his approach to the art, Namkung avoids the sky “because it reveals the identity of the place. The horizon and ridge lines will give you ready answers. I like to give my viewers questions, not answers. Let them find beauty in the most mundane things, like roadside wildflowers and tumbled weeds. Observe the essence of things. That’s Zen. It doesn’t have to be some spectacular manifestation of nature,” writes Namkung in the introduction to the book. See http://johselnamkung.net to read more on the photographer and publisher and to order. To view the collection of photographs, see http://johselnamkung.net/a-retrospective/for-book-lovers/
    Edmund C. Olson donated Wanaku Center and was joined by Ka`u Coffee Mill
    staff for the first annual Hilo Brewfest yesterday. Photo by Julia Neal
    KA`U COFFEE MILL joined in the effort yesterday to raise money for more new physicians taking up practice on the island. Amery Silva and Phyllis Segawa from Ka`u Coffee Mill manned a booth at the first annual Hilo Brewfest held at Wainaku Center on the shores of Hilo Bay. The event, at $40 a ticket, sold out and raised more than $40,000 for the Hilo Medical Center Foundation. It was sponsored by Hilo Rotary Club and the Edmund C. Olson Trust donated the grounds of Wainaku Center. Many of those who attended said they had never been able to visit Wainaku Center during the time after the old C. Brewer sugar building was renovated and used as the company’s headquarters for land sales. Ed Olson said he bought the building and has been renovating it for community, family. corporate and visitor events and tours as well as weddings.

    FREE MEDICAL CLINICS for the public at Pahala School campus and Ocean View Community Center begin Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tropic Care 2013 involves 75 military reservists providing health care services free of charge, including physical exams, dentistry, optometry (exams and glasses), nutrition education, medication review and provision of some medication. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and are advised that there may be long wait times.
          Clinics are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for the last day, Wednesday, June 12, when they close at noon. Locations are Pahala School Campus and Ocean View Community Center.
          In addition to medical services, residents living off the grid and using a generator for power will have access to service members specializing in mechanics, who will work on any systems that need attention.
          For more information about Tropic Care, contact Arends at 701-566-1932.


    SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS AT PAHALAPLANTATIONCOTTAGES.COM AND KAUCOFFEEMILL.COM. KA`U COFFEE MILL IS OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.




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