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    Diners at The Rim, the newly named restaurant at Volcano House Hotel in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, have a
    spectacular view of the glow from Halema`uma`u Crater. Photo from hawaiivolcanohouse.com
    THE RIM IS THE NEW NAME FOR VOLCANO HOUSE RESTAURANT. The announcement was made to the public on this morning’s Hawai`i News Now show with Howard Dicus in Honolulu. Naming the restaurant The Rim came from a contest through which entrants sent in their ideas by May 15. It also involved review by the Kupuna Council for Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, said Aqua Resorts’ senior vice president for Sales & Marketing, Elizabeth Churchill. She said The Rim was suggested by several entrants and that it is still to be determined whose suggestion came in first in order to give out the prize. The prize is a two-night stay with one dinner for two and a bottle of wine plus two breakfasts for two.
          The former name of the Volcano House Restaurant was Ka Ohelo.
          The Rim is open daily for breakfast 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and dinner 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Uncle George’s Lounge, which keeps its traditional name, is open with all-day menu and drinks from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. For reservations, call 756-9625.
          Churchill also presented a photo on this morning’s television news of one of the 33 newly redecorated rooms at Volcano House.
          The posted rates are $350 a night for deluxe Crater View Room, $335 for a Volcano Crater View Room, and $285 for a Rainforest View Room. A kama`aina rate is posted for $185 per night, and there are discounts for seniors and the military.
          Cabins are also available at lower rates. See hawaiivolcanohouse.com for more on accommodations and menus. Aqua Resorts promises locally sourced food.

    LONGS DRUG STORE CONSTRUCTION is ongoing at Pahala Shopping Center. Longs is expected to be open in July. The old Tex Drive-In restaurant, which later became PT Café, has been gutted, and Longs plans to install new flooring and fixed windows and siding for the air conditioning required for its establishment. Taylor Built Construction is one of the contractors on the project along with architectural and project management from mainland firms, including The Hatch Group, a contractor which oversees construction of facilities from Walgreens, CVS/Pharmacy which owns Longs to commercial buildings for Marriott, Hilton, Loew, Hyatt and Embassy Suite hotels to grocery stores like Vons, Ralphs and Albertson’s on the mainland.

    George Applegate
    GEORGE APPLEGATE, a veteran visitor industry career man, retired on Friday from his post as executive director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau. He is succeeded by Ross Birch, who has marketed the Big Island for 20 years and most recently was manager of Makalei Golf Club. 
          Applegate, 66, started at the Naniloa Hotel in Hilo as a bellman, became a vice president of Big Island Tours and started with the Big Island Visitors Bureau in 1989 as director of sales and marketing. He held the directors position for some 13 years.
          Applegate has formed George Applegate Consulting, LLC, based in Hilo, and will continue to work with the Hawai`i Visitors and Convention Bureau, according to various business news reports.

    THE INTERAGENCY HAWAI`I INVASIVE SPECIES COUNCIL has launched a new website highlighting the growing role the council plays in cabinet-level coordination on invasive species issues in Hawai`i. 
          The website, accessible directly at hisc.hawaii.gov or via the state’s upgraded hawaii.gov Web portal, places new emphasis on the actions of the HISC, including resolutions, funded research reports, and strategic plans.
          “Collaboration across state departments has resulted in clear progress toward addressing the impacts of invasive species in the Islands,” Gov. Neil Abercrombie said. “The new HISC website, which is part of our state’s effort to expand the use of hawaii.gov as a resource for user-friendly information about government programs and services, provides greater opportunity for the public to join in this effort by learning more about what each and every one of us can do to protect Hawai`i.”
    HISC lists woodrose as an invasive species.
          HISC was created in 2003, when the Hawai`i State Legislature declared invasive species “the single greatest threat to Hawai`i’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawai`i’s people.” 
          HISC’s statutory authority mandates identification of state funds available for invasive species prevention, control, outreach and research and requires HISC to coordinate the state’s position on invasive species issues and provide advice to the governor and Legislature.
          The website details how these funds have been spent, making final project reports and research results available for the entire eight-year history of the organization.
          HISC has committed to providing more public education by utilizing its new website as a one stop shop for information on high-profile invasive species in Hawai`i, recent news regarding invasive species, and detailed reports for all projects funded via the HISC.
          “Because invasive species have such a detrimental effect on critical things like our water and food security, we are committed to working across departments on this important issue,” said HISC co-chair William J. Aila, Jr. “But we also need the public’s help, especially in spotting pests like snakes and other plants and animals that don’t belong in Hawai`i. The new HISC website provides information on how to report a pest by phone or online.”

    HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC AND HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANIES hold a two-hour meeting Wednesday 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. 
          According to HEI, strategic themes of the plan are to lower customer bills, work toward a clean energy future, modernize the grid and address issues to create fairness to all customers.
          The companies must consider whether the Resource Plans effectively ensure affordable electric rates, maintain service reliability, and accommodate expected increasing proportions of variable and/or intermittent generation resources.
          According to the Public Utilities Commission, “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.”
          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.
          The completed analysis and Draft Action Plans are also available for public review on the website.

    Hawaiki Rising is the topic at After Dark in the Park
    tomorrow at 7 p.m.
    PAT SHUDAK, CEO OF SOLAR HUB UTILITIES, meets tomorrow with Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos residents to discuss the company’s plans to place solar panels on 20 HOVR lots. The meeting begins 4p.m. at the Hawaiian Ranchos Road Maintenance Corp. building. A Facebook message from Kahuku Photography asks residents to come to the meeting to learn how this development will impact the neighborhood. 

    HAWAIKI RISING: HOKULE`A, Nainoa Thompson and the Hawaiian Renaissance is the topic at tomorrow’s After Dark in the Park. In his new book, author Sam Low tells the story of the Polynesian sailing canoe, Hokule`a, in the words of the men and women who voyaged aboard it. Nainoa Thompson and his crew became the first Hawaiians to navigate the Pacific without charts or instruments in a thousand years. The program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.


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  • 06/04/13--16:30: Tuesday, June 4, 2013
  • Taiko srumming  and Bon dancing are in season around the island and Ka`u Bon dancers will be traveling to Buddhist temples to
    participate. Taiko drummers joined in the 2009 O Bon Dance at Na`alehu Hongwanji. Photo by Peter Anderson
    FREE HEALTH EXAMS AND CARE began today at 8 a.m. on the Pahala School campus and also at Ocean View Community Center. An Army Reserve medical care team is providing physical, eye and dental exams and care at no cost to anyone who goes to either location, first come, first serve. By 11 a.m. in Pahala local residents were waiting, in particular, for optometry exams. Dental exams could be available tomorrow.
    Army reserve physicians, dentists and optometrists give
     free checkups and care in Ka`u through June 12.
     Photo from U.S.Army
          Tropic Care 2013 involves 75 military reservists providing health care services free of charge. 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.

    HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY comes to Ka`u tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center for public comment on draft Five-Year Action Plans and the company’s Integrated Resource Planning, tasked with meeting future energy needs. According to the utility, themes include reducing electric bills, working for a clean energy future, modernizing the grid and fairness to all customers.
          The Resource Plans are required to ensure affordable electric rates, maintain service reliability, and accommodate expected increasing proportions of variable and/or intermittent generation resources. According to the Public Utilities Commission, integrated resource planning is for safe and reliable utility service at a reasonable cost. Draft planning documents can be read at
    www.irpie.com, the website of the PUC’s independent representative facilitating and monitoring the process.

    S02 LEVELS CAN BE HIGH even with blue skies and wispy clouds. With a bright sunny day, dawning in Pahala, there were runny noses and itchy eyes as the SO2 level created an Orange alert beginning at 5:45 a.m. but was back to a healthy Green status by 8:15 a.m. Orange means the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups and the recommendation from the state Department of Health is: "To avoid outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing or breathing through the mouth." For people experiencing health effects, the recommendation is that "If you experience breathing difficulties, such as chest tightness or wheezing, stop activities, use a rescue inhaler and find a place to sit down and rest." For healthy people potential health effects are not expected, "however actions to reduce exposure to vog may be useful." The simple closing of windows until the alert passes helps keep the air clean indoors. Turning on a fan can also be helpful. See http://hiso2index.info and click on Pahala and Ocean View for Ka`u levels of SO2, a history of the days levels and more information.

    Hurricane Flossie pushed up against South
    Point at Kalae but never climbed ashore. 
    HURRICANE MAKANI IS an exercise for Civil Defense and all those signed up for Civil Defense alerts throughout the islands are receiving email and text alerts. This morning’s mock message - not a real hurricane- said that "Category 4 Makani is nearing landfall on the Big Island of Hawai’i ....Hurricane Hunter Aircraft are conduction what will be their final flight through Makani before the crew and plane must be grounded for safety. Satellite and aircraft data suggest that Makani may not be done strengthening."
         The Civil Defense exercise plots mock storm Makani tracking west-northwest all along the chain of islands. Civil Defense agencies on all islands use the pretend storm to practice their drills. The closest a hurricane came to Ka`u in recent years was Hurricane Flossie, which sat off South Point for several days and never came ashore in 2007. Ka`u Hospital, Pahala Plantation Cottages, the gas station in Na`alehu, Pahala Library and others boarded up their windows.

    KA`U AND VOLCANO LOCATIONS are featured in the latest edition of Expression Gold, the Magazine for American Express card members. The photo feature includes the managers suite, living room, art and quilts at Pahala Plantation House, Ka`u Coffee Mill coffee and Trini Marques with her Ka`u Coffee Farm. The article cover Kilauea Lodge and Volcano Art Center as well as Volcano Art Center and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The article was coordinated by former Pahala and now Hilo resident Kaori Miitani. The 60-page magazine is mailed to all American Express Gold Card holders in Japan.

    RAISING FUNDS FOR FRIENDS OF VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK and promoting Ka`u and Volcano businesses and the arts converge at the 13th Annual Friends' 4th of July Silent Auction at Cooper Center. Donations of goods and services, including meals at restaurants, B&Bs and vacation rental stays, arts, crafts, Ka`u Coffee, locally grown teas, photography, jewelry, massage gift certificates note cards and more are welcome to help raise money for the non-profit organization that supports the national park with education, exploration and service. The silent auction coincides with the annual Volcano Fourth of July Parade, which ends at Cooper Center. Contact Ab Valencia at 985-7373 or admin@fhvnp.org to make a donation or volunteer to help at the event.

    INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE IN NA`ALEHU is taking applicants for the Saturday, June 29 event. Individuals and groups who would like to participate in the parade call Debra McIntosh 929-9872. Those wanting to volunteer with the parade set up call Lee McIntosh at 929-9872. The parade, which was saved by the McIntosh family when it was abandoned four years ago, is under the umbrella of the non-profit community organization `O Ka`u Kakou. Debra McIntosh said that the parade will start at Na`alehu School and end at Na`alehu Hongwanji Mission, a reverse of the parade direction form earlier years. The reason for the change in direction is that that there is more room for the floats, riders and walkers to organize at the beginning of the parade at the elementary school, McIntosh said.

    Parade walkers, riders and floats can sign up for Independence Day in Na`alehu.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    KA `OHANA O HONU`APO’s Fathers Day event on Sunday, June 6 is looking for contestants for its Bar-B-Que pork contest. First prize is $100. The afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., is called Pork in the Park and includes musicians on stage, samples of pork for the voting for a Fan Favorite, shaved ice on sale and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Fathers Day. For more on the contest and the celebration, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891.
         Ka ‘Ohana O Honu‘apo’s mission, as stated on www.honuapopark.com is: “To restore, care for and protect the natural and cultural resources within the Honu‘apo area. Utilizing the values of malama ‘aina (care for the land), kupono (honesty and integrity), and kuleana (duty and responsibility), we will work in community partnerships to preserve this area for future generations.”

    OBON SEASON IS ON and while no bon dances are planned this year in Ka`u, dancers from the district are expected to visit the temples around the island for the dance in the round, Japanese string and wind instruments, taiko drums, ethnic foods, and honoring ancestors during harvest season. Here is the schedule:

    Saturday, June 8 - Keauhou Shopping Center at 6 p.m. Call 323-2993.

    Saturday, June 15 - Honomu Henjoji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 963-6308.

    Saturday, June 22 - Papaikou Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 964-1640.

    Saturday, June 29 - Honomu Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 963-6032.

    Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6 - Puna Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 966-9981.

    Saturday, July 6 - Kohala Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 775-7232.

    Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13 - Hilo Meishoin Mission at 7:30 p.m. Call 935-6996.

    Saturday, July 13 - Daifukuji Soto Mission in Honalo in Kona. Call 322-3524.

    Saturday, July 13 - Paauilo Hongwanji Mission, at 7 p.m. Call 776-1369.

    Friday and Saturday, July 19 and 20 - Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin at 8 p.m. Call 961-6677.

    Bon Dancers shown here from a past dance at Na`alehu Hongwanji will join in festivities around the island beginning this weekend.
    Photo by Peter Anderson
    Saturday, July 20 - Honoka`a Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 775-7232.

    Saturday, July 27 - Hilo Hongwanji Mission, 7:30p.m. Call 935-8331.

    Saturday, July 27 - Kona Hongwanji Mission, 7 p.m. Call 323-2993

    Saturday, July 27 - Papa`aloa Hongwanji Mission at 6 p.m. Call 962-6340.

    Saturday, Aug. 3 - Kurtistown Jodo Mission at 8 p.m. Call 966-9777.

    Saturday, Aug. 3 - Taishoji Soto Mission at 8 p.m. Call 935-8407.

    Saturday, Aug. 10 - Hamakua Jodo Mission at 8 p.m. Call 775-0965.

    Saturday, Aug. 10 - Higashi Hongwanji Mission at 8 p.m. Call 935-8968.

    Saturday, Aug. 17 - Hakalau Jodo Mission at 8 p.m. Call 963-6110.

    Saturday, Aug. 17 - Kamuela Hongwanji Mission at 7 p.m. Call 885-4481.

    Saturday, Aug. 24 - Pahoa YBA Kaikan at 8 p.m. Call 966-9981.

    Saturday, Aug. 31 - Honohina Hongwanji Mission in Ninole at 7 p.m. Call 963-6032.


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    Army and Navy reservists in the medical professions join Ka`u residents waiting for eye tests, among the free screenings and care available through June 12 at Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center.
    Photo by Julia Neal

    A 5.2 MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE struck the deep ocean off the southeast coast of Ka`u yesterday at 2:13 p.m. It was centered 12 miles east of Lo`ihi Seamount, which is just 22 miles offshore. Lo`ihi and the quake epicenter are on the flank of Mauna Loa Volcano, the largest volcano on the planet.
    Yesterday's 5.2 magnitude earthquake is in red southeast
    of the Ka`u Coast. Image from USGS
          Buildings rattled in Ka`u and all the way to Hilo. It was felt across the Big Island and on Maui. The location was 33 miles southeast of Pahala. 
          Neither injuries nor serious damage was reported. Civil Defense reported no tsunami threat from the quake.

    THE FUTURE OF ELECTRIC UTILITIES IN HAWAI`I is taken up this evening in a public meeting begin held by Hawaiian Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Industries at 6 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Public comment is welcome, and the electric company is tasked with planning for secure, affordable energy. Plans can be seen at www.irpie.com. The Public Utilities Commission will also review and approve the electric companies’ plans.

    Jamae Kawauchi
    FORMER COUNTY CLERK JAMAE KAWAUCHI AND FORMER COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIR Dominic Yagong gained support from a judge yesterday regarding a suit that charged them with investigating and firing four election workers in a “willful and wanton way.” According to a story by Erin Miller, of West Hawai`i Today, Judge Elizabeth Strance said “the admissible evidence now before this Court appears to clearly support a finding that Defendants Kawauchi and Yagong acted both with cause and within the scope of their employment within the County of Hawai`i.” The judge also wrote that the “plaintiffs have not provided this Court with ‘clear and convincing’ evidence of any animus or ‘willful or wanton;’ tortious conduct by Defendants Kawauchi and/or Yagong towards the Plaintiffs…. Similarly, there is no evidence that Defendants Kawauchi and/or Yagong personally conducted any investigation, regarding the actions of the Plaintiffs in connection with the County Elections Warehouse.”
          The four were fired for allowing outside business activity and drinking in a county warehouse.
          An email from the defendants’ attorney Francis Jung, reported this morning in West Hawai`i Today, said, “Dominic Yagong and Jamae Kawauchi are both extremely thankful and pleased with the Court’s decision. All of their actions were made with the intent of fulfilling their duties to the public to the best of their knowledge and abilities as hardworking, dedicated and honest public servants. Hopefully, the young people of Hawai`i will not be afraid to seek future careers in public service or elected office out of fear of being persecuted by frivolous lawsuits. Justice will prevail in the end.” See more at westhawaiitoday.com.
          Since leaving the County Clerk’s post, Kawauchi has been working for the Prosecuting Attorney’s office. Yagong’s term ended as Council member, and he lost his run for mayor.

    Bobby Jean Leithead Todd
    COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR NOMINEE Bobby Leithead Todd has gained support from a former Environmental Management director Lono Tyson, who says her experience on the job should make up for her not having an engineering or related degree required by County Charter. The statement was reported by Nancy Cook Lauer in West Hawai`i Today this morning. Leithead Todd earned a law degree and English degree, has served most recently as the Planning director and is a former County Council member. She also previously served as chief of the Department of Environmental Management, which oversees solid waste, including sewage systems and the handling of garbage and trash services of the county.
          According to West Hawai`i Today, Councilmember Brenda Ford said, “While there are pros and cons to having an engineer as the director of the Department of Environmental Management, I personally believe it should be an engineer to understand the technical aspects of the position. I support the charter as it was passed by the voters of Hawai`i County.”
          Leithead Todd’s nomination by Mayor Billy Kenoi needs approval by the County Council. See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

    A PO`OKULA FOR KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS’ HAWAI`I ISLAND CAMPUS has been named for the first time. Kahealani Nae`ole-Wong is the first assistant head of school. Po`o Kula Holoua Stender, the head of the school, described her as “an exemplary educator who brings a wealth of teaching, curriculum development and instructional leadership experience to her new position.

    Pierre Omidyar
    Arianna Huffington
    CIVIL BEAT AND HUFFINGTON POST recently forged a partnership called HuffPost Hawai`i.
          Civil Beat founder Pierre Omidyar, who also founded EBay, said the teamwork will help get Hawai`i news to the world. Civil Beat will run news feeds with Huffington Post.
          Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington was a keynote speaker at the Specialty Coffee Association Convention in Los Angeles where Bull Kailiawa placed as one of the top ten in the world. At the convention, The Ka`u Calendar publisher Julia Neal met Huffington and talked about the success of the farmers after losing their jobs when the sugar industry failed and their challenge with land security.
          The land where most of the Ka`u coffee farmers have expired leases went up in a foreclosure auction last month, and the bank owed money against the property, Lehman Brothers, made the highest bid. Whether Lehman will become the owner of the property or a higher bid will be cast will be determined at a court proceeding to finish the foreclosure, which is yet to be scheduled.

    HAWAI`I ISLAND POLICE REMIND the public that the Kuleana Hotline is not a substitute for 9-1-1 calls. In an emergency, people should always call 9-1-1.
          The Kuleana Hotline is designed to prevent tragic events in public places, including schools, restaurants and other locations where members of the community gather.
          Unlike Crime Stoppers, to which citizens may report information about a specific crime, the Kuleana Hotline is an avenue for reporting something that may not be criminal yet but has the potential to turn disastrous if not prevented.
          “Many tragedies committed by individuals or organized groups have been preceded by warning signs,” a statement from the Police Department says. “We as a community are responsible for notifying the police if we see or hear anything that has the potential to turn into a malicious act.”
          The statement gives examples of what to call the Kuleana Hotline about:
    • If you read a post on a social networking site about a person interested in purchasing a firearm and the person signals intent to cause harm with that weapon, call the Kuleana Hotline. 
    • If you witness suspicious activity around public buildings, utility companies or bridges, call the Kuleana Hotline. 
    • If you see something or someone’s behavior that may seem innocuous but gives you a “funny feeling” in your stomach that something is “just not right,” call the Kuleana Hotline. 
          Tips could help authorities intervene before those warning signs develop into a crime or tragedy.
          Kuleana is the Hawaiian word for “responsibility. “The significance of the hotline’s name is that we are all neighbors living on this island together, and we are all responsible for preventing acts of terror or mass injury,” says the statement.
          The number for the Kuleana Hotline is 961-2219. It is not manned around the clock, but it allows for callers to provide information by leaving voice mail messages.

    TROPIC CARE 2013 CONTINUES THROUGH WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, with free health screenings and care at Ocean View Community Center and Ka`u High School. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. except on the last day when it ends at noon.
           An Army Reserve medical care team is providing physical, eye and dental exams and care at no cost to anyone who goes to either location, first-come, first-served.
          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, call 701-566-1932.


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    Hawai`i Health Connector, which is designed to help everyone get health insurance, joins Tropic Care free medical services in Pahala and Ocean View. Photo from www.hawaiihealthconnector.com
    THE HAWAI`I HEALTH CONNECTOR will join Tropic Care, which is offering everyone free health screening and care from Army and Navy reserve physicians, dentists, and optometrists. The screening and care takes place at Pahala High School and Ocean View Community Center daily through June 12. Hawai`i Health Connector will be onsite this weekend and early next week to assist individuals with obtaining health insurance as required by new federal law and help locate them appropriate programs. Tropic Care representatives said they welcome everyone regardless of income or state of health to come to one of the two locations for free care from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily until noon next Wednesday.

    HELCO CAME TO KA`U yesterday evening to go over its Integrated Resource Plan for the future which it will soon submit to the Public Utilities Commission. The meeting was poorly attended by local residents compared to the meeting late last year when residents asked numerous questions about the proposed `Aina Koa Pono refinery. The `Aina Koa Pono issue is still alive, however, with more answers from Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Industries to be submitted to the PUC within the next week.
          According to the plans presented to the public last night by HELCO biofuel is one of the possible future sources of energy for the electric company. HELCO officials, including the company president Jay Ignacio, talked about possibly using wood chips from existing eucalyptus plantations and other trees to feed its existing Puna electric plant that currently uses oil. Another possibility is the use of Liquid Natural Gas and HELCO is studying the cost of both along with the price to refit the power plant.
    HELCO President Jay Ignacio came to Ka`u last night with plans for the future.
    Photo by Julia Neal
         The utility and its sister companies across the state are making plans to lower customer bills, create a clean energy future, modernize the grid and come up with fairness policies, utility company representatives said. Fairness involves such issues as which source of electricity should be purchased when too much is coming on line for the load. For example, should all the power coming from existing windmills be purchased before taking the power produced by photovoltaic panels on homes? Under current pricing, the photovoltaic energy on homes is purchased at a higher price than alternatives, like wind, hydroelectric and geothermal. Is it fair to turn down more energy from those who have made large investments in wind, hydro, geothermal and even solar farms as more people install photovoltaics on their houses to feed back into the system?
          HELCO engineer Ken Waltjen explained that technologies are changing very fast and the utility has to make plans for the future that are flexible. Action plans will be made every three years and updated constantly, he said. The last Integrated Resource Plan for the electric companies was completed in 1998.
          Will Rolston, the county's Energy Coordinator, urged the public to weigh in on the planning and other utility issues on the PUC website by reading the documents and sending in comments to be posted in the official docket. Open dockets include `Aina Koa Pono and the planning for the utility company's future.
          Plans being made by HELCO include upgrading the hydroelectric plants on Wailuku River, decommissioning the Shipman electric plants Three and Four in Hilo, which are now on standby, and completing the review of proposals for independent energy producers to provide more geothermal for the grid. HELCO also plans to further study waste to energy projects and will confer with the county, which has also shown interest in making energy from waste that comes from households, businesses and other sources. To read HELCO and HECO planning documents, see www.irpie.com.

    SOLAR HUB REPRESENTATIVES met with the Hawaiian Ranchos residents at Ocean View this week to answer questions about its planned solar installations on 18 empty houselots in the subdivision. Pat Shudak, of Solar Hub, told residents that the state and the governor of Hawai`i are committed to getting off of foreign oil. The premise is to use solar to keep the electricity cost from going higher, he said. He explained that the Public Utilities Commission and HECO started a feed in tariff program, allotting 60 megawatts for solar developers on O`ahu, 10 megawatts on Maui and 10 megawatts on the Big Island. He said the utility will buy the power for a cheaper price than the utility can produce it from oil and said the purchase price will be 23 cents per kilowatt hour. He said Solar Hub is locked into a set price for 20 years, which should help keep electric prices from going higher.
    Eighteen one-acre solar panel installations are planned for Ranchos.
    Photo from www.hawaiianliving.com
        Shudak said, in addition to his project, about ten other solar projects are proposed by developers mauka of the Hwy 11 in Hawai`i Ocean View Estates.
          The lots that were purchased by Solar Hub required three-phase power to accommodate the solar project.
    "What are you bringing to this community?" asked one resident, contending that HELCO will not give the community cheaper electricity despite the solar project. Several talked about possible wear and tear on roads.
        One Solar Hub spokesman said the project would fund a  new substation near the highway that will stabilize power. A resident responded that there has never been a problem with black outs in Ranchos.
          “You are turning our subdivisions into an industrial complex,” said one person. Another said he preferred a responsible company – like Solar Hub - to come in and clean up lots and make nice landscaping over some uncared for lots where people raise dogs in Ranchos.
          Shudak said the solar lots would not be industrial eyesores. There would be one acre of solar panels on each 3-acre lot surrounded by a security fence and landscaping.
          One resident asked whether the Solar Hub project would preclude him from having his own feed-in tariff program in Ranchos. Shudak said he was told that the improvements to the electric grid brought in by the project should make it easier for the residents to install their own.
          HELCO is still negotiating with Solar Hub, which will be required to build a new substation for  HELCO, Shudak said.

    LOW-INCOME FAMILES can sign up for assistance in paying their electric bills tomorrow at the Old Pahala Clubhouse on Maile Street from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and every Friday during the Month of June. Residents can also sign up Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Hawai`i Economic Opportunity Council office in Na`alehu office behind the community center.

    OCEAN VIEW SUMMER FUN PROGRAM sponsored by Hawai`i County Parks & Recreation Department, will run from Monday, June 10 through Friday, July 19 at Kahuku Park from 8
    a.m. to 2 p.m. for keiki who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade. There is still space available. Teresa Anderson (formerly
    Teresa Anderson and Genny Galletes run Summer Fun in Ocean View.
    Photo by Madalyn Mcwhite-Lamson
    Alderdyce) was recently hired by Hawai`i County as a recreation technician at Kahuku Park and will lead the program with Genny Galletes. Both have been involved in organizing youth activities for many years in the Ka`u community.
          Registration fee is $100 per child ($20.00 payable by the parent/ family) and the remaining $80 to be subsidized by Friends of Kahuku Park, a committee of Ocean View Community Development Corp., as well as community donors. Robin Lamson , who started Friends of Kahuku Park in 2002 to improve the park, has retired as chairperson and has passed the torch to Genny Galletes.
          Summer Fun will have arts, crafts, sports, games, music and dance, nature exploration, special guests, snacks, etc. as well as five different excursions on Wednesdays to Pnalu`u Beach (6/14 & 7/3), Makalapua Cinema (6/19), Kona Aquatics Center (6/26), and K.M.C. Bowling at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park (7/10). Register by or call Teresa at 929-9113 or Genny at 217-5593. Last day to register is June 28.

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    County Council member Brenda Ford takes a shot for tetnus, diptheria and whooping cough and encourages all Ka`u residents to get free inoculations along with free medical, dental and eye care at Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center this weekend and Monday and Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday at noon. A cardiology clinic is also being held this weekend on he school grounds, sponsored by hawaiicardiovascular.org. Photo by Julia Neal
    THE HISTORIC PAHALA HONGWANJI JAPANESE SCHOOLHOUSE and its parsonage are reroofed and being painted, the windows being repaired and bathrooms fixed up with funding from the Edmund C. Olson Trust and other donors. The building served as a Japanese language and culture school into the 1960s, a judo dojo, an art teacher’s workshop and an Earthwatch lab for visiting archaeologists studying the nearby Japanese, Chinese and Filipino cemetery. Renovations began with a group of Americorps VISTA volunteers hosted by Pahala Plantation Cottages and the Boys and Girls Club. Over the past several years, renovations have been managed by Wayne Kawachi and Pahala Hongwanji members.
          Ideas proposed for the building have been opening it up for Boys & Girls Club, particularly on those days after school when the children are unable to use their permanent home at Pahala Community Center, boxing and other sports clubs, extended learning in cooperation with Hawai`i Community College and most recently a Charter School to be headed by Na`alehu public elementary school teacher Kathryn Tydlacka.
          About a dozen people met to discuss the school plan on May 25, according to a statement from the organizers. “Discussion about the potential impact of a modest charter school at the site ranged over almost two hours. Traffic to and from the school as well as safety of those now using and playing in the streets around the school itself merited some consideration.

    Historic Pahala Hongwanji Japanese Schoolhouse now has a new roof and is being repainted with the windows being repaired and bathrooms fixed up. Photo by Julia Neal
          “There were questions regarding the nature of the educational program to be embraced at the new school. These will be addressed in detail at subsequent meetings conducted by the staff of the proposed charter school during June of this year,” the statement said.
          “They will be part of an iterative process to assure that the school will meet the needs of the community and will represent rigorous academic standards as well as preparation of students for careers in fields directly relevant to enhancing the economy of Ka`u,” the statement concluded.
          Neighboring resident Mike Silva said that in addition to traffic he is concerned about learning whether a Charter School could take away funding from the public Pahala School which has small numbers of students in each grade, with elementary school having as few as 20 and upper school grades having around 55 students. Taking away $13,000 per student budgeted for Pahala School each year could result in a $260,000 a year cut should 20 students leave Pahala School go to the Charter School, he said. He also said the Charter School could affect funding at Na`alehu School.
          The Charter School, however, could also serve home schooled children who are not funded in the public schools and children who travel long distances to schools outside Ka`u. A letter handed out to some Pahala residents that announced last month’s meeting noted that the proposed school could be under the oversight of Kua O Ka La Charter School, which started as a Hawaiian immersion school in Puna.
          According to the County Planning Department, a school on the agriculturally and residentially zoned land at the Hongwanji location on Pa`a`au Street in Pahala would require a use permit, notification to neighbors, a public hearing and approval from the county Planning Commission. Tydlacka and other organizers said additional meetings about the proposed Charter School will soon be held in Pahala.

    Photo from sunetric.com
    IN THE SOLAR VOLTAIC ELECTRICITY BUSINESS, “the industry’s amazing growth has started to attract companies from the Mainland, and they are bringing with them new marketing strategies that are changing the way local companies do business,” according to a Pacific Business News story published today.
          The mainland competition is leaving some local entrepreneurs in the dust while others are surviving. The story by Duane Shimogawa points out that “California’s SolarCity and Utah’s Vivint Solar, for instance, were among the first to offer no-cost-to-the-consumer installation. Vivint, a large home-security installation company, filed permits for PV projects on O`ahu in January and February with a collective value of $9.1 million, putting it at the top of the industry, according to City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting data collected by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Hilo-based ProVision Solar Inc.
          “Meanwhile, SolarCity ranked sixth in the same category during that time, with new projects with a collective permitted value of $4.7 million.
          “In terms of permits pulled during the first couple of months in 2013, Vivint accounted for 230 and SolarCity another 142, good for third and fourth, respectively, on O`ahu,” reports PBN.
          “I think in some respects, [the leasing model] opened up the market to more people, where this model wasn’t prevalent to the market,” Jon Yoshimura, director of government affairs in Hawai`i for SolarCity, told PBN. “What that ends up doing is it made solar available to more people,” he told the business news journal.
           He noted that the effort by larger Mainland companies to move to Hawai`i shows how strong the local market is. “If anything, the industry just continues to grow,” Yoshimura said, according to PBN.
           Aaron Kirk, chief operating officer of Sunetric, told PBN that “when his company started nearly a decade ago there weren’t any Mainland PV companies in Hawai`i. ‘It’s become much more competitive, and I do think that time will tell whether companies are coming into this market to cash in on the hot market or whether they will be here for a while or short span of time.’” See more at www.bizjournals.com/pacific/
          In Ka`u, the first commercial solar venture has permits for 18 lots in Hawaiian Ranchos and another solar developer is planning for about ten lots mauka, in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates.
          See more in yesterday’s Ka`u News Briefs.

    CULTIVATING COMMUNITY is the name of a Green Sands community park event on Saturday. The festivities run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include a Plant, Seed & Anything Garden Exchange. People are encouraged to bring plants, seeds, old garden tools or anything garden-related to trade and share with others.
           Anyone is welcome to join a composting workshop, sponsored by Recycle Hawai`i, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the park. Workshop fee is $10, and participants receive a voucher for a free Earth Machine.
           Local horticulturists, farmers and landscapers will be on site with booths, information and activities. Participants include Ted Bennett, of Bennett Farm & Nursery; Allison Yahna, of Artemis Smiles Honey Bee Sanctuary and Education; Olivia Ling, of OKOA Pottery and Native Landscaping; Lori Dahlstedt, sharing how to air layer plants. Jendayi will run the Keiki Corner full of garden-friendly fun, activities and crafts.
           The Green Sands Community Association will have burgers and hotdogs for sale by donation. Any donations are accepted and will go toward building a park pavilion. Reach the park by taking Ka`alu`alu Road off Hwy 11 in Wai`ohinu.

    KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL 2014 DATES have been announced by festival organizers. The Ho`olaule`a will be held on Saturday, May 10 with the Ka`u Coffee College to follow on Sunday, May 11, both at Pahala Community Center. Leading up to Ho`olaule`a weekend, Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant will be on Friday, May 2 at Ka`u Coffee Mill. The Farmers Table dinner at Kalaekilohana will be Saturday, May 3. The Cookies, Candies & Crackers Triple C Recipe Contest will be at Ka`u Coffee Mill on Sunday, May 4. A hike to the rainforest and old plantation water system, leaving from Ka`u Coffee Mill will be Wednesday, May 7. Coffee & Cattle Day will be on Friday, May 9 at `Aikane Coffee Plantation and the Ka`u Star Gazing trek will start from Ka`u Coffee Mill on Friday, May 9.

    Last night, several members of the Hawaiian Civic Club
    of Ka`u held a weaving workshop for the Tropic Care
    military team at OVCA as a thank
    you for their services. Photo by Nancy Stafford
    ARMY & NAVY HEALTH CARE RESERVISTS have been serving people of all walks of life this week and continue free checkups with dental, eye, physical, psychiatric and spiritual care this weekend from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center.  The Tropic Care team is joined by cardiology screening in the HMSA medical van at Ka`u High School.
           The care continues over the weekend. On Wednesday it closes early at noon.

    THE PEOPLE, A FINE ART EXHIBITION featuring original oil paintings and pastels by Vicki Penney-Rohner and Kira Kamamalu Ventrella starts tomorrow at the Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park with an opening reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibit is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sunday, July 21. Penney-Rohner demonstrates her painting process this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by a talk with both artists from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more visit volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-7565.

    ATLAS RECYCLING ACCEPTS RECYCLABLES at South Point U-Cart tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.



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    Cardiologist Larry Derbes checks Minda Brown at free heart screenings by Hawai`i Island Cardiovascular, Inc. that end
    this afternoon at 4 p.m. at Ka`u High School near the band room. Other free screenings and treatments by military
    reserve medical providers continue through the weekend and Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Ocean
    View Community Center and Ka`u High School, wrapping up at noon on Wednesday. Photo by Julia Neal
    LAST DAY FOR HEART SCREENING at Ka`u High School. The free service offered by Dr. Larry Derbes, MD, FACC, a Waimea cardiologist, and Hilo cardiologist Nathan Zilz, MD, PhD, runs until 4 p.m. today and is sponsored by Hawai`i Island Cardiovascular, Inc. EKGs and echocardiograms are offered.
    Mary Stancill heads up Hawai`i Island Cardiovascular at the
    Ka`a Ho`ola health care van sponsored by Kona
    Community Hospital and HMSA.
    Photo by Julia Neal
          Mary Stancill said the nonprofit she directs seeks to improve heart health on the Big Island where there are more cardiac problems than among the state population overall. The service is in the HMSA Ka`a Ho`ola rural healthcare van stationed near the band room at Ka`u High School. The team is also offering the all-in-one free immunizations for tetanus, whooping cough and dyptheria and finger prick preliminary blood screening for diabetes as well as blood oxygen screening.

    TROPIC CARE, with Air Force,  Navy and Army reservist medical care providers, continues its free dental, eye, medical, psychiatric screening and care Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Wednesday until noon. Locations are Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center. The reservists are staying onsite as if they were in the field for the military. Care is open to anyone with or without insurance. Many of the physicians are specialists.

    DEADLINE FOR FILINGS BY HECO AND HELCO regarding the proposed `Aina Koa Pono project was yesterday, and the testimony is expected to be online Monday on the state Public Utilities Commission website at puc.hawaii.gov.
          West Hawai`i Today and Hawai`i Tribune-Herald reported yesterday that state Consumer Advocate Jeff Ono said recently that he supports the proposed biofuel farm and refinery up Wood Valley Road.
          Ono flew to the Big Island recently and toured the proposed refinery location, saw the test plot for biofuel crops and some of the lands where the crops would be grown. He was accompanied by AKP partner Chris Eldridge and a representative of Olson Trust, which owns most of the property proposed for the project.
          Several community members who have studied the issue, given testimony or are farmers and ranchers in Ka`u said they were not contacted to meet with Ono while he was here to discuss possible impacts of AKP on the expansion of coffee and other food crops.
          Sen. Josh Green said he would contact Ono and ask him to visit with Ka`u residents who represent a broader view of the community than those partnered with the venture.
          County energy coordinator Will Rolston told Stephens Media reporter Nancy Cook Lauer that the county will continue to oppose the project. “Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi has repeatedly said he’s not in favor of any more alternative energy sources for the island unless they result in a lowering of utility bills, not raising of them.”
          Rolston told the reporter that that “he questions whether the refinery, relying on what he says is unproven technology, will even result in a net increase in energy, after plants are grown and harvested, then microwaved, and the resulting fuel is hauled 80 miles from the refinery to the HELCO plant.”
          According to the Stephens Media report, Rolston said, “We’re sitting here and we’re trying to figure out how it could work. The math doesn’t add up.”
          The story also reports that reporter Cook Lauer called Kenton Eldridge, co-founder and chairman of the board of `Aina Koa Pono, last Thursday and that he declined to discuss the PUC process other than saying, “We have technology that works.”
          While the public hearings in Hilo and Kona are over, testimony can still be submitted to hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov. Case number is 2012-0185.
          See more at www.westhawaiitoday.com.

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie signing the Civil Liberties and the Constitution
    Day bill. Photo from Office of the Governor
    GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE HAS SIGNED a bill establishing Jan. 30 of each year as Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day in recognition the actions of individuals who have fought for the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans, While not a state holiday, the observance is intended to celebrate, honor and educate the public about these individuals’ commitment to preserving civil liberties.

          “Civil Liberties and the Constitution Day will serve to recognize and remind us of the courage of those who remained committed to freedom, even when their own civil liberties and rights were being challenged,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “It is the actions of these individuals – these brave ‘resisters’ – that best reflect the ideals of the U.S. Constitution.”

          Senate Bill 856, enacted as Act 94, was passed by the 2013 Legislature without dissenting votes and was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, Hawai`i Council for the Humanities, Japanese American Citizens League, Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Fred T. Korematsu Institute for Civil Rights and Education, State Civil Rights Commission, and University of Hawai`i.
          The bill references actions of the United States government, including the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during World War II. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, authorizing the removal of any or all individuals from military areas as deemed necessary and desirable and mandating the forced internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Hawai`i and the entire West Coast of the United States would later be defined as a military area, resulting in the relocation of more than 110,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. One month later, on March 21, 1942, United States Congress passed Public Law 77-503, which established penalties for violations of Executive Order 9066.

    Sunday Walk in the Park explores
    Kilauea Iki. NPS Photo by
    Jay Robinson
    FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK hosts its monthly Sunday Walk in the Park tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Nick Shema leads an exploration of Kilauea Iki Trail, Na Huku, Escape Road and Crater Rim and Byron Ledge Trails. Free for Friends members; non-members can join the organization in order to attend. For more information, call 985-7373 or email admin@fhvnp.org.

    NA`ALEHU PUBLIC LIBRARY OFFERS BOOK SPEED DATING this Wednesday, June 12, at 3:30 p.m. Patrons up are asked to bring their favorite book, regardless of genre, fiction or non-fiction, or at least have a short summary prepared to share with other patrons. The event is intended for young adult and adult readers.
          Library assistant Jennifer Losalio said that at the event “in pairs, each person has three minutes to share his or her favorite book with his or her partner. The purpose is to highlight details of the story, without giving too much away, so as to convince his or her partner to read the book. After each partner has had three minutes to share his or her favorite book, one partner will rotate out so that everyone will have a chance to speak to each other.” She added that the “goal of this event is not only to get people interested in reading different books, but to also bring together readers who are perhaps interested in starting a book club that could be hosted at the library once a month.”

          Space for the event is limited. Interested patrons are encouraged to sign up in advance at the library’s circulation desk or call and RSVP at 929-2442. Depending on its success, the event may be hosted again in the future.

    PORK IN THE PARK, Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo’s Father’s Day event on Sunday, June 16 is looking for contestants for its barbeque pork contest. First prize is $100. The afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., includes musicians on stage, samples of pork for the voting for a Fan Favorite, shave ice on sale and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Father’s Day. For more on the contest and the celebration, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891.



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    Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Xochitl Amador Aznar, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, treats dental patients in Pahala at no charge as team member of Tropic Care. Photo by Julia Neal

    KA`U SCENIC BYWAY Committee has received $2098 from the Hawai`i Tourism Authority and Hawai`i Community Foundation, with $500 in matching funds from Ka`u Chamber of Commerce. The funding is for an educational display along Hwy 11 that will explain the views from the turnout between Ocean View and South Point Road and will be illustrated with photography of the area and the native ohia trees. A handout is proposed to further educate visitors and residents about the scenic wonders of Ka`u, said Byway organizer Dennis Elwell. The next meeting of the Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee is Monday, July 1 at Na`alehu Methodist Church Hall. 

    An optometrist from Auburn, California checks Auntie Kaiwi Perkins. Photo by Julia Neal
    TROPIC CARE is encouraging Ka`u residents to take advantage of free hearing, eye, dental and physical checkups today until 4 p.m., Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Wednesday until noon. The Air Force, Army and Navy reserve units are comprised of health care professionals and administrator and logistics professionals who live all over the country, including Puerto Rico, and have come to Ka`u to practice delivering medical care the field. They have set up camp in the Pahala Gymnasium and Ocean View Community Center. Classrooms have become clinics at Pahala and the Community Center in Ocean View is a second health care delivery site.
           Tropic Care uses sophisticated medical equipment for testing and is offering dental procedures from filling cavities to extractions. Free glasses are offered to those who need them after an eye check.
         Also on hand are representatives of the Hawai`i Health Connector, which helps residents obtain health insurance.

    SCIENCE CAMPS OF AMERICA is offering scholarships for Ka`u students for a Land & Sea Camp from June 22 through July 1 and an Air & Space Camp from July 1 through July 10. Science Camps, founded by O`ahu resident Mike Richards, is for boys and girls who are in their teens. The Science Camps website advises teens on the camp culture. “How You’ll Learn – Field Trips, Field Exercises, Lab Exercises, Multimedia Resources… How You Won’t – Sit in a Classroom and Homework.”
          Each ten-day session will feature six or seven travel days. Some trips will take all day while some will take a few hours. Time is set aside each day for creative activities including drawing, photography, videography and music. Students will stay at Pahala Plantation Cottages with counselors and food is provided. To download the scholarship form see http://sciencecampsofamerica.com

    Green Sand Community Park & Garden plans a pavillion. Photo by Bobby Tucker
    THE CULTIVATING COMMUNITY event at Green Sand Community Park & Garden on Saturday drew nearly 100 people to learn about bees, composting and worms as well as how to grow many food and ornamental plants in Ka`u.
          The community organization, which is building an ornamental and edible garden at the park, hosted a seed exchange and plant sale.
    Boardmember Bob Martin said the organization plans fundraising to erect a pavilion at the park.
          Jendaiyi Miller ran a keiki corner with children learning how to plant vegetables and flowers. An art corner encouraged keiki to paint their own wooden flowerpots and make planters from newspapers and recycled containers. The Hawaiian Roots Band with Kai McGuire and friends entertained the crowd.
          A composting and worm workshop by Piper Selben drew about 50 participants. See www.hawaiirainbowworms.com.  Recycle Hawai`i gave out certificates for free bakyard composters for those who took the composting workshop. See www.earthmachine.com and www.recyclehawaii.org.

    Jendayi Miller at the Keiki Corner
     at Green Sand Community Park
    & Garden. Photo by Bobby Tucker
       Artemis Smiles Honey Bee Sanctuary offered a tour of the education center, attended by a group from Pacific Quest farm and area residents. Alison Yahna, director of the bee sanctuary, said she encourages Ka`u residents to keep backyard beehives as bees in the wild and hives in small gardens have been declining quickly in Ka`u. She said more hives near homes, where residents can care for bees and watch for pests and disease could help the overall bee population come through a time of many hives dying off. The culprits include hive beetles, which lay their eggs inside the beehive, the beetle larva fouling the honey and taking over the hive. Another culprit is the varroa mite and another is a parasitic protozoa called nosena that reduces the life of the bee by about a third.
          Yahna said that a wild bee population building resistance through natural selection is important to the overall survival of bees worldwide. As with much of agriculture, the diversity of bee populations has diminished as factory produced queen bees are shipped all over the world without the immune system and genetics for each niche environment where be hives are established. Yahna, who has cared for bees in Ka`u since 2001, said, "There is a movement nationwide to return to small-scale, backyard beekeeping." A number of people came by the Green Sands Park yesterday and said they are missing the wild and domestic bees in their backyard orchards and gardens Yahna said “wild bees in Ka`u are pretty much wiped out.” To reach her and learn about backyard beekeeping, see www.artemissmiles.com.
          Boardmembers of Green Sand Community Association are Bob Martin, Donna Ambrose and Margaret McGuire.
    Alison Yahna at her bee sanctuary in the Green Sand community.
    Photo from www.artemissmiles.com 

    BOOK SPEED DATING is on for this Wednesday, June 12 at Na`alehu Public Library starting at 3:30 p.m. Patrons are asked to bring a favorite book, regardless of genre, fiction or non-fiction, or a short summary to share with others. The event is intended for young adult and adult readers.
         Library assistant Jennifer Losalio said that with Book Speed Dating each person has three minutes to share his or her favorite book with a listeners before changing chairs. The purpose is to highlight details of the story, without giving too much away. The goal is to interest people in reading a variety of books and to bring together readers who could start a book club hosted at the library once a month.
         Space is limited. Sign up in advance at the library’s circulation desk or RSVP at 929-2442. Depending on its success, the event may be hosted again.

    PORK IN THE PARK, Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo’s Father’s Day event on Sunday, June 16 is looking for contestants for its barbeque pork contest. First prize is $100. The afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., includes musicians on stage, samples of pork for the voting for a Fan Favorite, shave ice on sale and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Father’s Day. For more on the contest and the celebration, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891.

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  • 06/10/13--21:23: Monday, June 10, 2013
  • Polynesian voyager Chad Baybayan (far right) greets his aunt, Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u President Blossom DeSilva, and civic club members Alan Stafford and Casey DeSliva (far left). Hokule`a floats in Hilo Bay behind them. Photo by Nancy Stafford
    THE HOKULE`A and its sister Polynesian sailing canoe Hikianalia will soon sail to South Point – to Kalae on the first leg of its voyage around the world. Ceremonies began Sunday in Hilo, with the east side of Hawai`i island selected to begin the voyage because it is a place of first light (sunrise) for Hawai`i. The canoes will travel for a year in the Hawaiian Islands before setting off to circumnavigate the globe. During the Hilo festivities Polynesian Voyaging Society founder Nainoa Thompson said that he awakened from a dream at 3 a.m. one morning and realized that the Hokule`a should not go around the world without the support of all the people of Hawai`i. He decided that the voyage should visit many communities in the Hawaiian Islands before setting out to as far off places as Latin America and Africa.
    Ceremonial offerings to wish the voyagers a safe journey. Photo by Teresa Tico
    Many Hawaiian groups, including the Hawaiian Civic Club of Ka`u, were represented. During the ceremonies the symbolism of the gift of Pohaku was explained. One rock will remain on the Big Island to anchor the voyage. The other will ride on the canoe around the world. Organizers said that as Hokule`a and Hikianalia sail, they will (symbolically) string a lei of aloha around the world.
             Nainoa Thompson said: “Protecting our ocean is the greatest environmental issue today. It’s not a green planet, it’s a blue one.” Speakers talked about a “DNA of Aloha” being embedded in the “divine energy of the Hawaiian islands,” and that voyagers will take the energy around the world to heal the planet and bring the people of the world together.
         About 15 members of Hawaiian Civic Club of the Ka`u attended. President Blossom De Silva said her nephew Chad Baybayan accompanied Thompson on the first journey of the Hokule`a in the South Pacific. He is now associate director for Imiola Astronomy Center in Hilo and gave a preview of the journey to the Ka`u club. De Silva and Civic Club boardmember Alan Stafford were welcomed aboard the Hokule`a and the Hikianalia. DeSilva said she could "feel the mana of the crew being together like a family, sailing in close quarters for such a long journey." 
    Nainoa Thompson said he dreamed the canoes will visit all the
     islands before setting off around the world. Photo by Teresa Tico

    MORE TESTIMONY HAS COME IN to the state Public Utilities Commission regarding the proposal to build a refinery along Wood Valley Road and a biofuel farm between Pahala and Na`alehu. Richard Sasaki, of Capt. Cook, told the PUC, “I lived in Pahala from 1970 to 1979. This bio diesel venture could be a scam and it doesn’t pass the common sense test.”
          Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and Hawaiian Electric Co. submitted testimony defending the `Aina Koa Pono plan. In addressing economic, land use and environmental concerns, the utilities stated, “Externalities are an important consideration, but they are often intangible and difficult to quantify because, unlike a straight mathematical equation, externalities are generally valued based on the perception of the person viewing the externality. Nevertheless, the Commission should consider that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will create a direct economic benefit to the State and energy security, and is in line with the State's energy policy.”
               While there is a question of whether Ka`u farm land should be used for coffee, food crops and cattle production versus biofuel, the utilities state: “The AKP Bildiesel Supply Contract’s use of local energy crops supports local agriculture, and is consistent with State policy.”
    Using land for growing more coffee or taking on biofuel
    crops is one of the issues. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
              While there is a question of whether there would be an impact on the community should the refinery be built, coffee farm expansion curtailed, ranchers evicted and AKP unable to produce the promised biofuel, the utilities state that the electric companies’ “customers bear no financial risk if the Microwave Catalytic Depolymerization technology fails to produce biodiesel that meets the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract’s specifications.”
               The utilities sate that “The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is a critical part of a new chapter in the energy and agriculture industries in Hawai`i. The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will provide HELCO with between 14 million to 16 million gallons of biodiesel per year for 20 years, which is intended for use at HELCO's Keahole Power Plant As discussed in further detail below, the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will also benefit Hawaiian Electric, due to its RPS contribution.
          “As recognized in Governor Abercrombie's New Day plan, ‘Hawai`i's most important economic enterprise right now is to pursue energy independence.’ The Companies understand and support the significance of this vision and recognize the many important benefits of locally produced biofuels, including:
          “Creating new jobs in renewable fuel technology and agriculture;
          “Retaining a large portion of the billions of dollars that are now spent on imported oil and reinvesting those dollars here in Hawaii; increasing Hawaii's energy security and energy independence by having a local renewable source of fuels;
          “Converting fallow land for production of energy crops and invigorating Hawai`i's agriculture industry; supporting the State's goal of diversifying Hawaii's economy by encouraging the development of local agriculture;
          “Reducing greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions; utilizing existing power generation infrastructure to provide clean electricity; and
          “Although the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract sets forth contractual obligations for HELCO to purchase a minimum volume of 16 million gallons of biodiesel, it also provides AKP with the flexibility to adjust and set the volume amount in the early stage of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract, in the range of 14 to 16 million gallons, based on actual feedstock and biodiesel production yields. providing a local, renewable energy alternative for fossil fuels used for marine, land and aviation transportation, which represents two-thirds of the fossil fuel use in the State.”
    Changing pasture land to biofuel is another issue in the `Aina Koa Pono decision.
    Photo by Julia Neal

          The electric companies also put forth that they “recognize that it is necessary to advance renewable energy in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. The Companies believe that they and Hawai`i need to be at the forefront of renewable energy efforts in order to sustain Hawai`i for future generations.” 
          The utility company’s testimony also points out that the County of Hawai`i” concludes that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is not reasonable, and should not be approved due to its ‘excessive biofuel price, long-term contract, unproven technology, lack of due –diligence, and associated negative externalities, including ‘crowding-out’ of better alternatives.”
          The utilities, however, disagree with the county’s findings, contending that the AKP project is “reasonable.”
          Regarding testimony submitted by Life of the Land regarding environmental concerns, the utilities contend that many of them would be “more appropriately addressed in the Project 
    Command central for free health care in a Ka`u High School classroom. Photo by Julia Neal
    permitting process, or in a mandatory environmental impact statement of environmental assessment process, if so required.” The utilities point to AKP having promised a “voluntary environmental assessment, which is tentatively scheduled to include the following: Socioeconomic Impact Assessment, Archaeological Inventory Survey Plan, Cultural Impact Assessment, Flora & Faunal Biological Assessment, and a Traffic Impact Assessment Report.”
          Rebuttals to the utility companies’ testimony is expected soon from Life of the Land and the County of Hawai`i. Both contend that the estimated price of $200 a barrel in a fixed 20-year contract could hold back other more affordable alternative energies.
          See more in tomorrow’s Ka`u News Briefs or read the entire testimony on the docket at http://dms.puc.hawaii.gov.
    FREE HEALTH CARE FOR EVERYONE continues on the campus of Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center through Wednesday at noon. Tomorrow the clinics for dentistry, optometry, hearing, and general health are open from 8 a.m. until noon. Reservists from the Army , Navy and Air Force are on a practice mission for disasters and warfare through serving the Ka`u community at field hospitals set up in public buildings.

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    Last days at Ka`u High School cafeteria for military reservists, including this cook who puts up the menu each day
    with talent of her own profession. She is studying art at a university but serves in a military reserve unit supporting
    the medical staff with food services. Photo by Julia Neal
    SEN. MAZIE HIRONO JOINED HUNDREDS of guests with Hawai`i ties Sunday at the U.S. Capitol to participate in the 44th annual lei-draping ceremony honoring King Kamehameha the Great. 
    Attendees included members of the Hawai`i Congressional Delegation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawai`i State Society.
    The 44th annual lei-draping ceremony honoring King Kamehameha
     the Great  took place Sunday at the U.S. Capitol.
    Photo from Office of Sen. Mazie Hirono
          Hawai`i observes Kamehameha Day today.
          Hirono gave closing remarks at the ceremony.“We gather to honor the first King of Hawai`i, Kamehameha the Great,” she said. “From the island of Hawai`i, Kamehameha was raised to become a skilled warrior in the traditional ways of combat, uniting the islands we all know as Hawai`i. He laid the foundations for modern Hawai`i by protecting the traditions and culture of his ancestors even as the kingdom grew and interacted with Western nations. His strong leadership during this period of great change inspires us all to work together to ensure our shared traditions and history can be celebrated for generations to come.”

    IN REBUTTAL TESTIMONY SUBMITTED to the Public Utilities Commission 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., utility executives discuss externalities, or positive and negative effects of the project.
          “Externalities are generally valued based on the perception of the person viewing the externality,” said Robert Alm, executive vice president of Hawaiian Electric Co., Inc. 
          “Nevertheless, the Commission should consider that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will create a direct economic benefit to the state and energy security, and is in line with the state’s energy policy.
          “In evaluating the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract, the Companies believe that the Commission should consider that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract (1) is to serve Keahole Power Plant, which its primary purpose is to serve as a base load generating facility, (2) is for biodiesel manufactured within the state of Hawai`i, creating a direct economic benefit to the state (e.g., increase in jobs and more revenue stream) in addition to energy security from locally-produced feedstock, and (3) is in line with the state’s energy policy, which supports the use of biofuel, and will contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
    Robert Alm
          “The Companies believe that the assessment of many of these externalities are more directly associated with the AKP Project itself, and would be more appropriately addressed in the Project permitting process, or in a mandatory environmental impact statement or environmental assessment process, if so required.”
          Cecily Barnes, manager of Hawaiian Electric Fuels Department, discusses potential positive and negative externalities.
          “Benefits of locally-produced biofuels include the creation of new agricultural and manufacturing jobs, a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy security and independence, and the shifting of a portion of our significant expenditures on imported fossil fuels to locally-produced biofuel.
          “There are a number of expected qualitative externalities or benefits which may serve to justify a potential AKP biodiesel price premium which is expected to diminish over time. Further movement to increase available biofuel produced within the state of Hawai`i increases energy security and reduces reliance on imported fuel sources.
          “With approval of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract by the Commission, AKP will begin construction of its facility and begin more detailed work to develop its agricultural operations. AKP is planning to scale its Project to produce much more biodiesel than will be sold to Hawaiian Electric under the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract. Therefore, not only will the power generation sector benefit from reducing its reliance on imported fuel, AKP expects to produce additional biodiesel volumes that can contribute to reducing reliance on imported fuels in other sectors of Hawai`i’s economy, thus keeping those expenditures within the state’s economy.
          “Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to be significantly less when compared to GHG emissions from conventional diesel production from crude oil.
          “The use of locally-produced feedstock developed with a strategic land management plan, coupled with an advanced bioconversion process, will serve to minimize AKP’s land footprint and GHG profile. Because the AKP Project is a commercial scale agro-industrial project, it is expected to generate jobs in a number of sectors, primarily in agriculture. Launching the AKP Project along with its agricultural and industrial infrastructure and logistics networks will help stimulate Hawai`i’s biofuel industry. A successful AKP Project is expected to attract additional high-tech investment in the advanced biofuel industry. 
          “The Companies believe there are potential positive and negative externalities associated with any new large-scale facility/project. Potentially negative externalities include: fuel spills or leaks associated with fuel storage or transportation of the biodiesel; social issues, such as traffic congestion; and, land use, such as roadway damage and noise. However, the Companies have not quantified any negative externalities, and it is difficult to determine the impact, if any, they will have.
          “It is also important to note that a positive externality that impacts one group may create a negative externality for another group. For example, with the potential for volumes of biofuel displacing fossil fuel, there is a potential adverse effect on the businesses and employment in the state that rely on the importing and refining of petroleum products. However, it would be unfair to place the burden of declining fossil fuel use in Hawai`i on biofuel producers in the state that offer local economic growth and energy security, as energy independence and the use of renewable energy are supported by the governor and Legislature. Further, although no calculations have been done to evaluate the impact on petroleum jobs that may result from biofuel substitution, because local biofuel production has a labor intensive agricultural component, it could be assumed that barrel for barrel, local biofuels could generate more jobs than the petroleum jobs that may potentially be displaced within the state of Hawai`i.”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

    THE STATE OF HAWAI`I AND THE HAWAI`I HEALTH CONNECTOR have received the next stage of approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to launch Hawai`i’s new online health insurance marketplace on Oct. 1, 2013. The Connector had received conditional federal approval in January following the submission of its marketplace operating plans.
    Coral Andrews Photo from Hawai`i
    House Blog
          “This is an important step in our progress to transform healthcare in Hawai`i,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie. “Every resident deserves a good, equitable system of healthcare, and this new online marketplace requires insurers to offer better benefits and reward quality.” 
          When launched, the online marketplace will serve as a convenient, one-stop resource for eligible individuals, families and small businesses to browse and purchase health insurance. The Connector will be the only place where individuals and small businesses can qualify for tax credits, subsidies and cost sharing reductions, per the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
          “Today’s announcement signals that we have made significant progress toward the delivery of a state-based insurance marketplace to our community by Oct. 1,” said Coral Andrews, executive director of Hawai`i Health Connector. “Achieving this milestone is a reflection of tremendous collaboration by stakeholders engaged at all levels. It is another step toward enabling access to affordable health insurance coverage statewide.”       
          Plans purchased through the Connector from Oct. 1, 2013 will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014. 

          For more information about the ACA and Hawai`i’s implementation, see humanservices.hawaii.gov/aca and HawaiiHealthConnector.com.

    Hannah Uribe's halau entertained the Tropic Care military reservist group
    last night at Ocean View Community Center and will come to Pahala for
    an aloha party on Wednesday evening before the troops leave Ka`u.
    Photo by Nancy Stafford
    TROPIC CARE 2013 CONTINUES TODAY until 4 p.m. and ends tomorrow at noon. Air Force, Army and Navy reserve units comprised of health care professionals and administrator and logistics professionals from all over the country, including Puerto Rico, are in Ka`u to practice delivering medical care in the field. Free medical screenings and treatments are available to the public at Ka`u High School and Ocean View Community Center. 
          Also on hand are representatives of the Hawai`i Health Connector, which helps residents obtain health insurance.

    U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
    A STAFF MEMBER FROM U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD’S office visits Pahala Senior Center tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. as part of Gabbard’s districtwide constituent outreach program. The program, called Tulsi in Your Town, allows Gabbard’s local staff members in every county to assist with casework and other issues. A staff member will visit Pahala on the second Wednesday of every month. 
          For more information, contact Blaise De Lima at 
blaise.delima@mail.house.gov or 
(808) 987-5698.

    A LABOR LAW WORKSHOP takes place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Ted Hong and Warren Chong discuss maintaining good employment practices. Topics include government-relations agencies, payment of wages, child labor laws and independent contractors.



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    Sen. Russell Ruderman has expressed concern about `Aina Koa Pono's potential plan in Ka`u "to clear-cut 10,000
    acres for its first crop" to feed a biofuel refinery above Pahala. Photo by Julia Neal
    “IT IS LONG PAST TIME FOR THE NATIVE HAWAIIAN people to regain their right to self-governance,” said Sen. Brian Schatz in a speech on King Kamehameha Day calling for self-governance by Native Hawaiians. “I chose this day to come to the Senate Floor to talk about an issue of great importance to me and to my state: Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization. It was a top priority of my immediate predecessors in this body – Senators Inouye and Akaka.
    Sen. Brian Schatz
          “I want to acknowledge their legacy and to thank Sen. Akaka for the role that he continues to play in the great State of Hawai`i and in the Native Hawaiian community in particular. And, here is the reason that I have chosen to carry forward this fight on behalf of Native Hawaiians. Simply stated: because it is right to seek justice.
          “Native Hawaiians are the only federally recognized Native people without a government-to-government relationship with the United States, and they deserve access to the prevailing federal policy of self-determination. Opponents have argued that Native Hawaiians are not “Indians” as if the word applies to Native people of a certain racial or ethnic heritage or is limited to indigenous people from one part of the United States, but not another. This is misguided.
          “Although the Congress has passed more than 150 statutes to try to address some of the negative effects of earlier federal actions and policies, data reveal persistent health, education and income disparities. Native Hawaiians experience disproportionately high rates of unemployment and incarceration; and, Native Hawaiian children are over-represented in the juvenile justice system. Hawaiian families rank last in the nation in average annual pay and face the highest rates of homelessness.
          The entire speech is available at schatz.senate.gov.

    Sen. Russell Ruderman
    KA`U’S SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN  voiced his concerns today about the `Aina Koa Pono biofuels project.  “I have had several occasions to talk to Pahala area residents about AKP, both formally in community meetings and informally,” Ruderman said. "In my experience after talking to over 50 Pahala residents as well as AKP project people, I have yet to find a single supporter who has not been financially rewarded for their comments or who stand to profit. On the other hand, every independent citizen I’ve spoken with (who has an opinion), including many community leaders, oppose it.
          “I fully support all safe, renewable energy projects, including other biomass and biofuels projects. I have grave concerns about AKP’s project, beyond the rate increase. Discussions with the principals of AKP have not reduced my concerns."
    Sen. Ruderman has expressed concern that AKP's Micro
    Dee technology has not been proven on a commercial
    scale. Photo from biofuels-solutions.com
          Ruderman said his concerns include:
          “AKP can clear-cut 10,000 acres for their first crop. Nothing prevents this, and statements from AKP seem to suggest this course, which would worsen Ka`u’s already serious multi-year drought among other damages. AKP has no obligation to restore areas clear-cut.
          “It jeopardizes the leases of many ranchers and farmers in this agricultural community.
          “AKP has not decided which crops will be used. No biomass crop on record, anywhere in the world, produces anything near the yields they are projecting. And this area is largely marginal land with severe water shortages.
          “This technology has not been proven on a commercial scale, anywhere. This will be the first commercial experiment of their technology.
          “The only reason the Big Island has been chosen as their first experiment is our high electricity rates. It would be a non-starter elsewhere.
          “Ka`u is a community which cherishes its environment and culture. Often, outlandish proposals have been suggested in the name of 'jobs,' which are really attempts to exploit cheap land. These have included a spaceport, prisons, Riviera-style resorts, and now an untested massive microwave project. The people of Ka`u consistently reject these hazardous schemes. While employment is a challenge in Ka`u, the community wants economic progress which will preserve the environmental and cultural richness of the community. This community is remarkably self-reliant and, like any community with history and pride, protective of its heritage,”  concluded the state Senator.
    IN REBUTTAL TESTIMONY SUBMITTED to the Public Utilities Commission 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., Cecily Barnes, manager of Hawaiian Electric Fuels Department, responded to Hawai`i County’s concern that the project could crowd out other future projects that could potentially lower the cost for HELCO customers.
          “It is the Companies’ position that the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract will not impact the consideration of any future renewable energy projects, as the Companies will still be required to look into other renewable energy projects in meeting Renewable Portfolio Standards goals,” Barnes said. “The Companies expect to continue requiring liquid fossil fuel for the foreseeable future to operate generating units that provide baseload firm power, albeit potentially reduced aggregate volumes of liquid fossil fuel as more renewable energies become available. The AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract’s supply of a maximum of sixteen million gallons per year of biodiesel is only approximately four percent of the Hawaiian Electric Companies’ current total liquid fuel consumption. Thus, the Companies do not view the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract as a commitment that would preclude opportunities to implement new power production technologies over the term of the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract, as it is expected that some portion of the Hawaiian Electric Companies power generation will continue lo require liquid fuel during the next twenty years. Further, while there are also a number of other advanced biofuel technologies under development, the AKP biodiesel price is competitive with commercially available biodiesel. 
          “It is also worth noting that one of the Consumer Advocate’s witnesses, Mr. Hornby, agrees that the Companies will continue to have the flexibility to acquire additional cost-effective resources in the future, after the AKP Biodiesel Supply Contract is entered into. HELCO will likely be able to utilize both new biofuel and geothermal-derived resources, and should HELCO find new cost-effective renewable resources that are sufficient to displace its need for the AKP biodiesel in the future, Hawaiian Electric has ample ability to consume the AKP biodiesel on O`ahu.”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

    FISHING PONO: Living in Harmony with the Sea, the story of native Hawaiians using ancient conservation methods to restore fisheries, is being shown tonight at the opening of one of Hawai`i’s premiere movie galas, the Maui Film Festival. Producer of Fishing Pono is Teresa Tico, who has a home in Pahala and photographs for The Ka`u Calendar and the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Directory. Graphic designer for the movie poster is Tanya Ibarra, of Pahala. Director is Mary Lambert, who is famous in another world – for directing music videos for Madonna, Annie Lenox, Motley Crue, Sting, Alison Kraus, Chris Isaak, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Mick Jagger and others. In feature length films, Lambert has directed Jody Foster. She also directed Pet Sematary I and Pet Sematary II, based on the Stephen King novels. She directed the Sci-Fi Channel film Mega Python vs. Gatoroid
         Lambert also wrote, produced and directed 14 Women, a film about women finally being elected to the U.S. Senate.
         In her personal life, Lambert is a passionate advocate for community-based management of natural resources. She worked with Tico on a film of hope for Hawai`i fisheries. “This is an inspiring story of how one community turned the tide on a seemingly doomed resource and documents the competing interests to consume fish, from commercial fisheries to recreational fishermen and Native Hawaiians who view fishing as a cultural practice,” say the notes provided by the filmmakers.
         Tico has produced more than 30 short documentaries, most of them addressing pressing environmental issues, including coral reef degradation, climate change and rising sea levels impacting Polynesia. She plans a feature documentary including fisheries in Ka`u. Fishing Pono was funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through its subsidiary Pacific Islanders in Communication. It will be shown on the PBS series Pacific Heartbeat.

    THE FIFTH ANNUAL VOLCANO POTTERY SALE is Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The sale features newly created work by twelve ceramic artists of East Hawai`i. Samples of Volcano-grown teas are available courtesy of Tea Hawai`i, with sushi and bentos for purchase from Volcano Hanabi. For more information, see ryhpottery.com/volcano_pottery_sale or call 985-8530.

    A LABOR LAW WORKSHOP takes place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center with Ted Hong and Warren Chong discussing how to maintain good employment practices. Topics include government-relations agencies, payment of wages, child labor laws and independent contractors.



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    Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah present a hula informance Saturday in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
    Photo by Kenji Kuroshima
    JOHN KAI HAS BEEN NAMED INTERIM PRESIDENT of Royal Hawaiian Orchards, with offices and orchards in Pahala and elsewhere on the island. He replaced Dennis Simonis, who held the post for more than eight years.
    Royal Hawaiian Orchards has a new interim president, John Kai.
    Photo by Julia Neal
          Simonis oversaw the company’s name change from ML Macadamia Orchards, which produced and sold macnuts wholesale. Expansion into a new line of retail products led to the name change to Royal Hawaiian Orchards last year.
          Regarding the change in management, Richard Schnitzler, president and co-owner of the Hamakua Macadamia Nut Co., told Stephanie Silverstein, of Pacific Business News, “I feel that most of the people in our industry — the Hawai`i macadamia nut industry — will feel this was a very positive move for their company. They’ve got some very smart people on (the board of directors), and I think enough has been enough for them with the company losing money and venturing off into some very new and different areas that have some risk.”
          Kai has been on the company’s Board of Directors since 2004. He is president of Pinnacle Investment Group, LLC and Pinnacle Media Group, LLC, and branch manager and investment representative of First Allied Securities, Inc.
          Kai is a graduate of Sacramento City College and attended University of the Pacific from 1983 to 1985. He served on the Board of Regents of the University of Hawai`i and was a director of the Research Corporation of University of Hawai`i, the Hawai`i Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and has served on several nonprofit boards in Hawai`i.
          According to its website, “Royal Hawaiian Orchards, L.P. is the largest grower in the world of macadamia nuts. Today, Hawai`i produces about one-quarter of the world’s supply, but Hawaiian macadamia nuts rate tops for premium quality.”

    WITH HURRICANE SEASON UPON US, Hawai`i Electric Light Company urges all of its customers to review their preparations for emergencies. 
          HELCO says the best time to prepare for an emergency is before one occurs. It provides some tips to get started:
    • Gather emergency supplies, such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. 
    • Store enough non-perishable food, water, and medicine for family members and pets to last seven days. 
    • Before a storm hits or if there is a power outage, unplug all unnecessary electric equipment and appliances until the storm has passed or until power is firmly restored. 
    • Take time now to plan where to take shelter if your home is subject to coastal storm surges or inland flooding. A list of emergency shelters is available at Hawai`i State Civil Defense Agency at scd.hawaii.gov, or t 733-4300. 
    • As a tropical storm approaches, listen to emergency TV and radio broadcasts to learn which shelters have been opened. If evacuating, take emergency supplies and remember to shut off electricity at the main breaker or switch. 
    • Make plans in advance to go to a safe location where electricity will be available if someone in your home depends on an electrically powered life support system and you don’t have a backup generator. Some shelters are designed for people with health needs; just remember to take your own medical equipment and medications. 
    • Plan to seek safe shelter for your pets. During a tropical storm, pets may not be safe outdoors in doghouses or pens. 
          HELCO’s free Information Handbook for Emergency Preparedness includes these tips and more. It includes key numbers to have on hand, checklists for emergency supplies such as a home survival kit and first aid kit, electrical safety information, power outage preparedness and recovery, household and food safety tips and references and links to related resources such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency and the civil defense agencies.
          The handbook can be downloaded at helcohi.com. Those without Internet access may receive a free copy by visiting Hawai`i Electric Light’s customer service locations in Hilo, Kona and Waimea or by calling 969-0137.

    HAWAI`I COUNTY ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY COUNCIL announces June is the time to apply for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a federal low-income home energy subsidy. 
          Applications are taken from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday this month at HCEOC in Na`alehu and on Fridays only at the Old Pahala Clubhouse.
          Eligible families are asked to bring originals and copies of their most current HELCO bill; verifications of income for all adults (three months worth of pay stubs, Social Security 2013 benefits letter, pension, disability, unemployment or other regular payments); identification for all household members (driver license/passport and Social Security cards for adults, Social Security cards for children, birth certificates for infants under one year); proof of residence address, such as a rental agreement, property tax or other bill; and Final Utility Termination Notice if they’ve received a shut-off notice from HELCO).

    Michael Richards
    A NEW SCIENCE CAMP IS SET TO LAUNCH in less than two weeks for local teens entering grades 9 through 12. Home base is at Pahala Plantation Cottages. Science Camps of America takes the learning outdoors, offering first-hand experience in environments ranging from beaches and rainforests to volcanoes and snow-covered mountaintops. 
          There are still a few spots remaining, and Science Camps wants to fill them by extending financial aid to those who qualify and register by Saturday, June 15.
          “The idea is to get teens outside and into the field to truly explore science,” Michael Richards, camp founder and executive director said.” We need to find new ways to engage students and nurture their interests, and in this particular case, we want to focus on science because we have one of nature’s greatest laboratories in our backyard.”
          Richards, a local entrepreneur from Kaneohe, said he worried his own grandchildren would become too preoccupied with using the Internet and social media and were spending less time exploring the world outside.
          He called upon his past geology teacher, Dr. Floyd McCoy, to help create a solid curriculum for the camp. McCoy, professor of geology and oceanography at Windward Community College, agreed to come on board as director of education.
          The first session, Land and Sea, will be held June 22 to July 1 and give campers the chance to examine volcanoes, geology, beaches, reefs and the ocean.
          The second session, Air and Space, will be held July 1 to 10 and expose campers to topics including the atmosphere, weather systems, climate change and innovative technologies that address the ever-changing world.
          Registration fees include meals and transportation to and from Kona or Hilo airport.
          Find out more at ScienceCampsAmerica.com or 678-619-0974.

    THE FIFTH ANNUAL VOLCANO POTTERY SALE takes place tomorrow from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The sale features newly created work by twelve ceramic artists of East Hawai`i. Samples of Volcano-grown teas are available courtesy of Tea Hawai`i, with sushi and bentos for purchase from Volcano Hanabi. For more information, see ryhpottery.com/volcano_pottery_sale or call 985-8530. 

    TED HONG AND WARREN CHONG discuss how to maintain good employment practices at a labor law workshop tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Hong is an attorney who practices labor and employment law out of his firm in Hilo, and Chong is a partner with Legal Shield, a company that provides legal services to small business owners. Topics include government-relations agencies, payment of wages, child labor laws and independent contractors.

    HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK’S Kahuku Unit offers its Palm Trail Hike, Saturday 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 Kahuku has to offer. 985-6011

    KUMU LEILEHUA YUEN AND MANU JOSIAH present a 50-minute narrated demonstration of preparation, protocol and offering of traditional hula and chant at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Hands-on cultural demonstrations take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on VAC Gallery’s porch. Free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply.



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    Ka `Ohana O Honu`apo holds a Father's Day event Sunday at Honu`apo Park. While the barbecue contest has been
    postponed due to lack of participation, musicians will still be performing, and food, beverages and shave ice
    will be available for purchase. Photo from KOOH
    THE CONFIRMATION HEARING FOR THE AUCTION of some 5,800 Ka`u acres, including Moa`ula and Pear Tree coffee lands, is scheduled for Thursday, June 27 at the First Circuit Court Building in Honolulu on the fourth floor. Presiding judge is Bert Ayabe. Additional bids will be allowed for the property in foreclosure on land where the famous Ka`u coffee grows under the care of more than 30 farmers. It also includes pasture lands mauka of Hwy 11, above Honu`apo, and lands along the Ka`u Coast including Waikapuna.
    Waikapuna lands south of Honu`apo are in the bundle of properties
    being auctioned off.
          The foreclosure is against WWW Hawai`i Holdings, which borrowed more than $45 million from Lehman Brothers. At the auction on May 21, Lehman Brothers Holdings bid higher than the only other bidder, Edmund C. Olson, who bid $12 million. Lehman is allowed to use money owed to the financial company as credit to bid on the property it financed. Whether Lehman becomes the owner and sells off sections of the land or keeps it, or whether another party buys the property, which is bundled as one sale for oceanfront, pasture and coffee parcels, will be determined at the confirmation hearing. 

    THE SENATE VETERANS’ AFFAIRS COMMITTEE held a hearing Wednesday to consider the Filipino Veterans Fairness Act of 2013, introduced earlier this year by Sen. Brian Schatz. The act would provide Filipino soldiers who fought for the United States with the same benefits afforded to other veterans who defended the U.S. during World War II. Schatz considers movement on this issue to be critical, as many Filipino veterans are in their 90s and passing away without the benefits.
    Induction of these Philippine Army troops took place in 1941.
    Photo from pinoyhistory.proboards.com
          “It has been more than 50 years, and yet, many Filipino veterans have not been properly recognized for their service and have been denied their basic veterans’ rights,” said Schatz. “It is critical that we pass this legislation to ensure that the Filipino soldiers who fought for our country – and their families – receive full benefits. This bill would finally allow thousands of eligible veterans to receive the compensation that they deserve, and send a clear message to all veterans that Americans will not forget their service once they return from combat.” 
          During World War II, President Roosevelt issued an Executive Order that inducted all military forces of the Philippines under a newly created command called the United States Armed Forces of the Far East (USAFFE). For the duration of the war, Filipino soldiers fought side-by-side with American soldiers in the Pacific Theatre protecting American military bases and installations. Their efforts directly contributed to American victory in the Pacific.
          Currently, the widows and children of Filipino veterans do not qualify for compensation. This bill would also ensure the dependents of World War II Filipino veterans are included as beneficiaries.
          A number of organizations have also voiced support for this legislation, including the Military Officers Association of America, the Justice for Filipino American Veterans, the Japanese American Citizens League, the American Coalition for Filipino Veterans, and the Lao Veterans of America.

    Burt Shimabukuro
    HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE CHIEF HARRY KUBOJIRI has announced the promotion of Burt Shimabukuro to the rank of captain of the Ka`u District. 

Now the Vice Section lieutenant in East Hawai`i, Shimabukuro joined the Police Department in June 1987 and worked as a patrol officer in Kona and Puna and a Vice Section detective in East Hawai`i. After being promoted to lieutenant in 2008, he was assigned first to South Hilo Patrol, then to the Special Response Team, and, most recently, to the Vice Section. 
          The promotion takes effect Sunday, June 16.

    HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL CONSIDERS increases in public bus fares at its meeting next week. At the last Council meeting, Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford voted against the proposal to hike fares from $1 to $2 as well as end free rides for students, the elderly and disabled. Ford said she wants to keep the fare low to encourage more ridership.
          The meeting takes place Tuesday, June 18 at 9 a.m. at West Hawai`i Civic Center in Kona. Ka`u residents can participate in the meeting via videoconferencing at Ocean View Community Center.

    Grant Galimba shows his lamb at 4-H Livestock
    Show & Sale. Photo from Becky Settlage
    YOUNG KA`U FARMERS AND RANCHERS are heading to Waimea for the 56th Annual 4-H Livestock Show & Sale today and Saturday at Mealani Research Station. Sponsored by Hawai`i County 4-H Livestock Association and University of Hawai`i’s College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources, the weekend event begins today with the Rabbit, Poultry & Goat Show from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Saturday at 8 a.m. is the Large Animal Show for Market Lambs, Hogs & Steers. At 2 p.m. the annual live auction of 4-H animals takes place. Anyone interested in being a buyer may register at the Buyer’s Luncheon at noon Saturday. 
          All proceeds from the sale go directly to the 4-H member who raised the animals. Participants are between the ages of 5 and 18.
          For more information on donating, buying at the auction and 4-H programs, contact Becky Settlage, county extension agent, at 430-0499 or settlage@hawaii.edu. Among the Ka`u participants are `Ua Alencastre-Galimba; Gavin, Grant and Kealia Galimba; Kaile Aiken and Nainoa Sales.
          Sheep, hogs and steers raised by the Ka`u youth will be auctioned. Sponsors from Ka`u who will be bidding on animals include Pacific Quest, Edmund C. Olson, Aikane Plantation Coffee Farm and Kuahiwi Ranch.

    THE FIFTH ANNUAL VOLCANO POTTERY SALE takes place today from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The sale features newly created work by twelve ceramic artists of East Hawai`i. Samples of Volcano-grown teas are available courtesy of Tea Hawai`i, with sushi and bentos for purchase from Volcano Hanabi. For more information, see ryhpottery.com/volcano_pottery_sale or call 985-8530.

    A LABOR LAW WORKSHOP TAKES PLACE TODAY from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Ted Hong and Warren Chong discuss how to maintain good employment practices. Hong is an attorney who practices labor and employment law out of his firm in Hilo, and Chong is a partner with Legal Shield, a company that provides legal services to small business owners. Topics include government-relations agencies, payment of wages, child labor laws and independent contractors.

    A hike along Kahuku's Palm Trail takes place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
    NPS Photo by David Boyle
    HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK’S Kahuku Unit offers events this weekend. Palm Trail Hike takes place tomorrow 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 Kahuku has to offer. 
          Lunch with a Ranger is Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Participants bring a bag lunch and join Park Ranger Kiko on Father’s Day in an open discussion on park resources including significant geological events and features of Mauna Loa and the natural and cultural history of the Kahuku Unit.

    KUMU LEILEHUA YUEN AND MANU JOSIAH present a 50-minute narrated demonstration of preparation, protocol and offering of traditional hula and chant at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Hands-on cultural demonstrations take place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on VAC Gallery’s porch. Free (donations welcome); park entrance fees apply.

    OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER hosts its monthly pancake breakfast tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call 939-7033 for more information.

    KA `OHANA O HONU`APO’S FATHER’S DAY EVENT on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., includes musicians on stage, sales of food, beverages and shave ice, and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Father’s Day. The Pork in the Park barbecue contest has been postponed due to lack of participation. For more information, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891. 



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    High Fire Hawai`i artists participate in the annual Volcano Pottery Sale. See www.highfirehawaii.com.
    A MAJORITY OF THOSE WHO RESPONDED to a 38-question, anonymous survey by the Police Department believe Hawai`i island is a safe place. Of the 608 people who responded to questions of safety, 377 agreed that the island is a safe place to live, 434 said it’s a safe place to work, and 393 said it’s a save place to visit. Those who were neutral on the issues numbered in the low 20 percentile. 
          The survey attracted a record number of participants during the month of May.
    Police ChiefHarry Kubojiri
          The chief and his staff are in the process of analyzing all of the individual comments collected so the Police Department can identify common concerns. The chief will then respond to the most common concerns expressed by the community members and visitors who participated in the survey. The responses to those comments and questions will be posted, along with the questions, on the Police Department’s website. In the meantime, the public may view the survey summary at hawaiipolice.com
          As in previous surveys, Chief Kubojiri said the survey and follow-up analysis are tools to assist him in identifying problem areas the community is experiencing with the Police Department, determining if he can rectify those issues through specific training of Police Department personnel, making changes to policies and procedures if necessary and clarifying misinformation about laws and/or police practices.
          “Your feedback in past surveys has allowed us to make changes that were beneficial to the Police Department and the public we serve, and we will continue to publish surveys in the future,” Kubojiri said. “Your input is one of the many tools that we use in our continuing efforts to improve how we provide services to the public.”
          In addition to processing comments from the survey, the Police Department will continue to hold monthly public meetings around the island to respond to concerns from the public. Kubojiri encourages community members to attend these public meetings or communicate their concerns or comments using the Feedback link on the Police Department’s website, hawaiipolice.com.

    Dr. Fred Mackenzie
    NEW RESEARCH SUGGESTS THAT HUMAN ACTIVITY could be increasing the movement of carbon from land to rivers, estuaries and the coastal zone, indicating that large quantities of anthropogenic carbon may be hidden in regions not previously considered, according to a study recently published in Nature Geoscience.When carbon is emitted by human activities into the atmosphere, it is generally thought that about half remains in the atmosphere and the remainder is stored in the oceans and on land.  
          The study by Dr. Fred Mackenzie, emeritus professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, and colleagues from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the University of Exeter, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement and ETH Zurich showed, for the first time, that increased leaching of carbon from soil, mainly due to deforestation, sewage inputs and increased weathering, has resulted in less carbon being stored on land and more stored in rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, estuaries and coastal zones – environments that are together known as the land-ocean aquatic continuum.
          The study reviewed previously published data and showed that a significant amount of the carbon emitted through human activity that is taken up by the land is not actually stored there, but in the aquatic continuum.
          Pierre Regnier, from Université Libre de Bruxelles, said, “The budget of anthropogenic CO2 reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change currently does not take into account the carbon leaking from terrestrial ecosystems to rivers, estuaries and coastal regions. As a result of this leakage, the actual storage by terrestrial ecosystems is about 40 percent lower than the current estimates by the IPCC.”
    Pierre Regnier
          The land-ocean aquatic continuum has not previously been considered an important carbon sink. Future assessments of carbon storage must now take into account the surface areas of the land-ocean aquatic continuum to ensure accurate estimation of carbon storage. This will also require an improved knowledge of the mechanisms controlling the degradation, preservation and emissions of carbon along the aquatic continuum to fully understand the impact of human activity on carbon transfer. 
          Professor Pierre Friedlingstein, from the University of Exeter, said, “Carbon storage in sediments in these rivers and coastal regions could present a more secure environment than carbon stored in soil on land. As soil warms up, stored carbon can be lost to the atmosphere. The chances of this occurring in wet sediments are reduced.”
          A fraction of the carbon that leaches from land to the land-ocean aquatic continuum is emitted back to the atmosphere, while another fraction is sequestered in sediments along the continuum. Only a minor part, about 10 percent, eventually reaches the open ocean.
          Philippe Ciais, from the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et l’Environnement, said, “Our revisited global carbon budget, which includes the land-ocean aquatic continuum, is still entailed with significant uncertainties. It is, however, fully consistent with the observed growth rate of atmospheric CO2. Our downward revision of the land carbon storage is also in agreement with very recent results from forest inventories.”
          A significant part of the carbon storage thought to be offered by ecosystems on land – mainly forests – is thus negated by this leakage of carbon from soils to aquatic systems, and to the atmosphere, according to the study.
          For more information, see the article at dx.doi.org/10.1038/NGEO1830.

    Richard Onishi
    KA`U’S STATE REP. RICHARD ONISHI HOSTS a community meeting today at 2 p.m. at Aupuni Center Conference Room
 101 to brief the community on the 2013 legislative session and hear feedback on issues that matter to constituents. Other lawmakers joining Onishi are vice speaker John Mizuno, majority leader Scott Saiki, majority floor leader Karen Awana and state representatives Mark Nakashima, Clift Tsuji and Faye Hanohano. 

    THE FIFTH ANNUAL VOLCANO POTTERY SALE continues today until 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village, featuring newly created work by twelve ceramic artists of East Hawai`i. Samples of Volcano-grown teas are available courtesy of Tea Hawai`i, with sushi and bentos for purchase from Volcano Hanabi. For more information, see ryhpottery.com/volcano_pottery_sale or call 985-8530.

    THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO HAVE LUNCH WITH A RANGER tomorrow from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s Kahuku Unit. Participants bring a bag lunch and join Park Ranger Kiko on Father’s Day in an open discussion on park resources including significant geological events and features of Mauna Loa and the natural and cultural history of the Kahuku Unit.

    JoAnn Aguirre hosts a special tea Tuesday.
    Photo from Hawai`i Tea Society
    KA `OHANA O HONU`APO’S FATHER’S DAY EVENT tomorrow from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., includes musicians on stage, sales of food, beverages and shave ice, and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Father’s Day. The Pork in the Park barbecue contest has been postponed due to lack of participation. For more information, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891. 

    TEA FOR FATHERS & DAUGHTERS/MOTHERS & SONS takes place Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. The menu at this special tea to celebrate children, mothers and fathers and grandparents includes finger sandwiches, salad, scones, desserts and a special tea favor all for $15 per person. Reservations are required by Monday. Contact JoAnn Aguirre at teaquiero@yahoo.com or 982-7691.



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    Blueberry, raised by Ka`u's Kealia Galimba, won Grand Champion in the Market Beef category at the 56th annual
    4-H Livestock Show & Sale. Photos from Becky Settlage

    RESULTS OF THE 56TH ANNUAL 4-H Livestock Show & Sale at Mealani Research Station in Waimea are in. Grand Champion in the Market Beef category was Blueberry, raised by Ka`u’s Kealia Galimba, 9. Reserve Champion Steer was Ambrose, raised by `Ua Alencastre-Galimba, 11, of Ka`u. Both are from Kuahiwi Ranch.
          KTA bought the grand champion steer for $4.70 per pound. Reserve steer brought in $4.20 per pound.
          Other results of judging by Jan Busboom, of Washington State University:
    Ambrose, raised by Ka`u's `Ua Alencastre-Galimba, won Reserve
    Champion Steer.
    • Champion Market Hog: Cullen Andrade, 13, of Honoka`a; 
    • Reserve Champion Market Hog: Micah Miranda, 12, of Waimea; 
    • Grand Champion Market Lamb: Cullen Andrade; 
    • Reserve Champion Market Lamb: Abigail Andrade, 10, of Honoka`a; 
    • Grand Champion Market Goat: Kamuela Santa Maria, 11, of Hilo; 
    • Reserve Champion Market Goat: Kawaiola Santa Maria, 13, of Hilo; 
    • Grand Champion Poultry: Geronimo Enocencio, 9, of Hilo; 
    • Reserve Champion Poultry: O2 Enocencio, 12, Hilo; 
    • Rabbit entry first place: Mariah Byrd, 16, Pahoa. 
    • Junior Beef Showmanship: `Ua Galimba; 
    • Junior Hog Showmanship: Micah Miranda; 
    • Senior Hog Showmanship: Dylan Joaquin, 17, of Hilo; 
    • Junior Lamb Showmanship: Cullen Andrade; 
    • Senior Lamb Showmanship: Tony Connors, 17, of Paauilo; 
    • Junior Goat Showmanship: Liana Stout, 11, of Honoka`a; 
    • Senior Goat Showmanship: Dylan Joaquin; 
    • Junior Poultry Showmanship: Maximus Enocencio, 10, of Hilo; 
    • Senior Poultry Showmanship: Jaysha Alonzo-Estrada, 15, of Hilo.
    HAWAI`I HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION’S executive board has approved of some sports tournaments being hosted by Big Island Interscholastic Federation, reported Hawai`i Tribune-Herald sports editor Bill O’Rear. State tournament regionals in girls basketball and boys volleyball will be hosted by BIIF during the 2013-14 seasons, and BIIF and Kaua`i Interscholastic Federation will be added to the rotation for the state Division II baseball tournament beginning in 2016. 
          “I think this is a start, and hopefully we can do it in other sports in the future,” BIIF executive secretary Lyle Crozier told O’Rear. “It gives our fans a chance to watch state-caliber tournaments, and it gives our schools a chance to make money with the concession as well as cut down on travel costs.”
          O'Rear said that, under the pilot program, the state would keep regional gate receipts, and BIIF would keep concession monies. Crozier said the host school of the state tournament would be allowed to keep the money raised in the concession during the event.
          “The BIIF schools will be placed in a rotation system and each get a chance at some point to host the state tournament,” Crozier said. “It’s a good situation for the BIIF.”
          See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

    HAWAI`I STATE DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION released tax revenue statistics Friday. During the first 11 months of the current fiscal year, general excise tax revenue rose nearly 10 percent. The state had $2.7 billion in general excise tax receipts from July 2012 through the end of May, compared to $2.5 billion for the same 11 months of the previous fiscal year.
          Transient accommodations tax revenues from hotel rooms and other short-term accommodations increased 13 percent from the previous fiscal year, totaling $339 million.
          Individual income tax receipts were up 14 percent. 

    Customer Satisfaction Survey forms are available online and at public
    libraries, including Pahala Public & School Library.
    HAWAI`I STATE PUBLIC LIBRARY SYSTEM Customer Satisfaction Survey will be conducted to obtain feedback from library users about collections and services from June 17 through July 31. The survey will help HSPLS identify areas where it can improve its services and better meet the needs of its communities. The customer satisfaction survey will also gather responses concerning online databases, e-Learning resources, eBooks/eAudio/eMusic collection and the Internet scheduling self-service system, which HSPLS needs for its annual Federal Library Services and Technology Act report. 
          “Your feedback is very important to us,” State Librarian Richard Burns said. “The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and will be available online at librarieshawaii.org and in paper version at all 50 libraries statewide.”

    Tulsi Gabbard
    U.S. REP. TULSI GABBARD HAS VOTED for final House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2014. The legislation authorizes more than $400 million for Hawai`i defense priorities and contains other measures strongly supported by Gabbard. The bill passed the House by a vote of 315-108. 
          “This bipartisan Defense authorization bill provides good jobs in Hawai`i and ensures Hawai`i’s significant role in our national security strategy and rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region,” said Gabbard. “The legislation includes key provisions to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan and honor our commitments to those courageous Iraqi and Afghan civilians, such as essential combat interpreters, who risked their own lives and the safety of their families to serve alongside our troops. I was pleased to see that our missile defense has been allocated the resources necessary to create a strong deterrence and defensive capability to protect Hawai`i and the mainland United States.”
          Gabbard has pledged to continue working to ensure that Hawai`i’s priorities and other critical provisions are included in the final House-Senate conference bill that is expected to pass later this year.

    KA `OHANA O HONU`APO’S FATHER’S DAY EVENT takes place this afternoon from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event features musicians on stage, sales of food, beverages and shave ice, and a shady tent to enjoy Honu`apo Park on Father’s Day. The Pork in the Park barbecue contest has been postponed due to lack of participation. For more information, call Lehua Lopez-Mau at 929-9891.

    VOLCANO ART CENTER’S NI`AULANI CAMPUS in Volcano Village hosts Tea for Fathers & Daughters/Mothers & Sons Tuesday at 2 p.m. The menu at this special tea to celebrate children, mothers and fathers and grandparents includes finger sandwiches, salad, scones, desserts and a special tea favor all for $15 per person. Reservations are required by tomorrow. Contact JoAnn Aguirre at teaquiero@yahoo.com or 982-7691.

    Tom Peek's Writer's Retreat begins Thursday.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    VOLCANO ART CENTER’S 15th Annual Writer’s Retreat takes place Thursday through Sunday. Check-in begins at 5 p.m. at KIlauea Military Camp in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Tom Peek helps liberate the writer within at this workshop for all levels and genres; no writing experience is necessary. 
          Peek, author of Daughters of Fire, last month received a silver Benjamin Franklin Book Award for popular fiction for his debut novel.
          Workshop fees of $375 or $343 for VAC members include nine meals and supplies. Private and shared rooms are available for additional cost; call 967-8222 for rates.



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    Two nene visit a reservoir near Ka`u Coffee Mill. Photo from Louis Daniele
    HAWAI`I GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION has announced its endorsement of Brian Schatz in the senator’s campaign to keep the position to which he was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is challenging Schatz.

          In a statement from the Schatz Campaign, HGEA President Jackie Ferguson-Miyamoto identified Schatz’ “unwavering support for Hawai`i’s workers” and his “solid commitment to protecting Social Security and Medicare” as key reasons for the endorsement.
          “As she said so beautifully, Brian’s dedication to improving the quality of life for working families is reflected in his leadership and resides in his heart,” the statement said. “HGEA joins 23 other endorsing organizations because they know he is the right person to defend Social Security and Medicare, support working families, protect our environment, and fight for a better life for everyone in Hawai`i.”

    John Kai Photo from Hawai`i Community College
    NEW PRODUCT “SALES HAVE GONE VERY WELL,” Royal Hawaiian Orchards’ interim president John Kai told Hunter Bishop, of Stephens Media. “We’re picking up stores on the mainland.”
          The macadamia nut company, with offices in Pahala and elsewhere on Hawai`i Island, markets new non-GMO, gluten-free and kosher-certified nut products.
          “This is the direction we’re continuing on … to keep that production line going. That’s our primary focus, to grow our business and the industry.”
          Kai replaced Dennis Simonis, who held the position for more than eight years.
          See more at westhawaiitoday.com.

    LEGACY LAND CONSERVATION PROGRAM, of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, is seeking applicants for grants to be funded by the State Land Conservation Fund. The grants are for acquisition of lands having value as a resource to the state. Lands can be for conservation, preservation or agriculture.
          The Legacy Land Conservation Program provides an annual source of funding for the “acquisition and conservation of watersheds; coastal area, beach and ocean access; habitat protection; cultural and historic sites; recreational and public hunting areas; parks; natural areas; agricultural production; and open spaces and scenic resources,” says a statement from DLNR.
          “Legacy Land provides grants to partners — nonprofits, counties, or state agencies — that protect important lands and resources by acquiring land or conservation easements,” DLNR chairman William J. Aila, Jr. said. “The Legacy Land Conservation Commission provides an open process for review and public input to ensure that state Legacy Land funds are put toward projects that protect agricultural lands, watersheds, natural areas, cultural sites, and recreational lands for the public’s benefit.”
          Proposed projects may include acquisition of fee title or conservation easements. County agencies and nonprofit project applicants must be able to provide at least 25 percent of the total project costs.
          On average, funded projects usually bring about 65 percent matching funds from federal, county, or private sources.
          The 2013-2014 application cycle may provide approximately $3 million in grants, awarded through a competitive process and subject to any budget restrictions.
          Funding is available through a portion of the state’s land conveyance tax set aside annually in the Land Conservation Fund for the purpose of protecting Hawai`i’s unique and valuable resource lands.
          Project applications will be reviewed by the Legacy Land Conservation Commission, which will nominate projects for funding.
          Projects are subject to approval of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, consultation with the state Senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives, review by the Department of the Attorney General and the approval of the governor. Final awards are subject to the availability of funds.
          This year, applicants are advised of an early deadline to allow additional time for consultation with state agencies.
          The 2013-2014 grant application and instructions are available at hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/llcp.
          A one-page project summary must be submitted to consulting state agencies by July 19, and full applications must be received or postmarked no later than 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16.
          For more information, call 808-586-0921 or visit hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/llcp.

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed a bill reducing regulations for
    small-scale beekeepers. Photo from pollinator.org
    THIS IS POLLINATOR WEEK. At a celebration held today at the state Capitol, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill reducing some of the regulatory requirements for small-scale beekeepers. SB482, enacted as Act 131, clarifies the maximum number of gallons of honey that can be sold by a certified honey house or food processing establishment without obtaining a permit from the state Department of Health. The measure also exempts from permit requirement sales of honey directly to retail stores that, in turn, sell the honey directly to consumers. In addition, the act provides for consumer protections by requiring honey producers to include appropriate labeling of each container of honey, take a food safety class, and make records available to DOH.
          “We must encourage beekeeping operations of all sizes to ensure that honeybee stocks thrive in both managed apiaries and the wild, especially as bee populations have declined due to disease and invasive predators,” Abercrombie said. “SB482 will make beekeeping more financially viable for beekeepers to legally extract, bottle and sell honey by minimizing unnecessary administrative and bureaucratic requirements in ways that will not affect public safety.”
          Hawai`i Board of Agriculture chairperson Russell Kokubun said, “Many small beekeepers have been unable to successfully navigate current regulatory hurdles required to operate a certified food-processing establishment on their own premises for the extraction and bottling of honey, which has resulting in many giving up beekeeping entirely. SB482 provides needed clarification to state law and greater flexibility to Hawai`i’s honeybee farmers as not only a growing facet of our local agriculture industry but also a fundamental part of the long-term sustainability of the industry and the protection of our native habitats.”
          The bill signing occurs in conjunction with Pollinator Week, which recognizes the role of honeybees in plant pollination. Pollinator Week was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership. 
Six years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as National Pollinator Week marked a step toward addressing the issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.
          “The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort,” said Sunny Boyd, communications manager of Pollinator Partnership. “Pollinating animals … are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible.”
          For more, see pollinator.org.

    Volcano House general manager Rudy Fao, at left, reported that Anette
    and Joseph Hillring were the hotel's first guests.
    Photo from Volcano House
    VOLCANO HOUSE OFFICIALLY REOPENED THIS MONTH, with the first guests celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary, according to a press release from Aqua Hospitality.
          Volcano House general manager Rudy Fao said that Anette and Joseph Hillring, of Tampa, Fla., “booked two nights and were also looking forward to hiking in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.”
          The statement from Aqua said that “Volcano House enjoys a unique location on the edge of Halema`uma`u Crater within Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park – designated an International Biosphere Reserve (1980) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1987). The restored Volcano House offers 33 historic guest rooms, The Rim restaurant, Uncle George’s Lounge and two gift shops. Ten newly refurbished camper cabins in nearby Namakanipaio Campground are also part of the property.
          “Historic Volcano House is Hawai`i’s oldest hotel, welcoming visitors since 1877. The hotel in use today was built in 1941 and expanded in 1961.”
          Volcano House is managed by Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC and operates under contract with the National Park Service. “Hawai`i Volcanoes Lodge Company, LLC is an affiliate of Aqua Hospitality, a Hawai`i-based management company founded in 2001 with contemporary properties on O`ahu, Maui, Kaua`i, Moloka`i, Lana`i and Hawai`i Island,” the statement says. “Volcano House is part of Aqua’s Monogram Hotel Collection.
          “Aqua Hospitality … provides full-service management including sales, marketing, Internet distribution, individualized branding, reservations, as well as revenue management to maximize profitability.”
          For reservations, call 808-441-7750 or 1-866-536-7972.
          See hawaiivolcanohouse.com and aquahospitality.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.

    KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT holds its next meeting at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office on Thursday at 4 p.m. Contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456 for more information.



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    Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will again be joining Na`alehu's early Fourth of July parade on Saturday, June 29.
    Photo by William Neal

    THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF HAWAI`I has filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court of Hawai`i challenging the methodology of conducting primary elections in the state. Dante Carpenter, chairman of the party, has, through its attorneys Gill, Zukeran & Sgan, filed the complaint.
    Dante Carpenter
          Carpenter stated in a press release, “In accordance with the DPH Constitution, Article I, regarding membership adopted by the Convention body in May 2006 and remains in effect today, as chair I am committed to fulfilling the resolution put forth by the Convention body to ensure Democrats are elected at the primary stage by their fellow Democrats. In order to achieve this outcome we are required to file this type of lawsuit in the District Court of Hawai`i. Note in particular that emphasis is on achieving “openness” – either through public registration or Party membership.” 
          The press release said the Party seeks the public’s understanding and appreciation of the principles and Constitutional guarantees in conjunction with associational and individual freedoms.

    A SUBSIDIARY OF HOUSTON-BASED Par Petroleum has purchased Tesoro Corp., which planned to close its Hawai`i oil refinery after not being able to find a buyer. Tesoro anticipates completing the sale in the third quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approval. The buyer intends to continue Tesoro’s refining, logistics and retail operations.

          “This is encouraging news for Hawai`i’s economy and for the workers at Tesoro,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “We have been in constant contact with Tesoro Corporation about maintaining fuel security in our state and working hard to ensure that the workers at the refinery keep their jobs. We thank Par Corporation for being willing to invest in a refining operation as a critical component to Hawai`i’s economy. This will help with the availability of jet fuel, diesel fuel and other refined products.” 
          Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement regarding the purchase:
          “Today’s announcement that Par Petroleum intends to continue the refining, logistics and retail operations of the Kapolei refinery is positive news for Hawai`i. As Hawai`i’s largest refinery, this facility is an important part of Hawai`i’s energy landscape, and this action will help maintain the stability of the state’s petroleum production market. Throughout the past six months, I have kept in close contact with workers and state and federal officials to find a positive resolution to Tesoro’s announcement to sell its Hawai`i operations. I look forward to getting to know Par Petroleum Corp. and their long-term energy delivery plans.”

    Former Police Chief Darryl Oliveira is acting Civil Defense Agency
    administrator. Photo by Ron Johnson
    HAWAI`I COUNTY IS CONDUCTING OPEN RECRUITMENT for the position of Civil Defense Agency administrator. Electronic applications are accepted at jobs.co.hawaii.hi.us through next Tuesday, June 25. Salary ranges from more than $68,000 to more than $93,000 annually. 
          The Civil Defense Agency administrator is responsible for county Civil Defense programs under the direction of the mayor, including the development and maintenance of plans for the operation of government and related agencies in times of emergencies. The administrator also coordinates programs with agencies of federal and state governments.
          Retired Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira has been serving as acting Civil Defense administrator since Jan. 9 and will remain in that role until a permanent administrator is selected. According to a story by Dave Smith, of Big Island Now, Oliveira plans to apply for the position. If Mayor Billy Kenoi “finds someone more qualified, that’s fine,” Oliveira told Smith. “I’m just here to help. I feel very comfortable working with everyone.”

    Pa`u riders with traditional dress and lei-bedecked horses will
    return to parade through Na`alehu Saturday, June 29.
    Photo by Julia Neal
    KA`U COMMUNITIES ARE PREPARING for Fourth of July celebrations. 
          Participants are lining up for the early Fourth of July Parade in Na`alehu on Saturday, June 29. Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to join in, along with other elected officials including Ka`u’s Council member Brenda Ford, Hawai`i County Mayor Billy Kenoi and Ka`u’s state Rep. Richard Onishi.
          New to the parade this year is the Kama`aina Choo-Choo carrying the Girl Scouts, Lost Tribe Motorcycle Club and the Hillbilly Car Club.
          Others who have signed up include Hawai`i County Band, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, pa`u riders, Ka`u Hospital, several churches, the Fire Department and Ka`u Coffee Pageant contestants.
          The parade starts at Na`alehu Elementary School at 11 a.m. Before the parade, free pancake breakfast takes place at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
          Following the parade, `O Ka`u Kakou will sponsor keiki activities at Na`alehu Park with a water slide, bouncy apparatus and climbing wall. Free hot dogs and shave ice will also be distributed at the park. Music and kani ka pila will entertain participants. Seniors can enjoy a free lunch at the Na`alehu Community Center, which will be followed by senior bingo and prizes.
          Assembly of God church also offers free hot dogs, chili and a concert after the parade.
          Businesses, organizations, and individuals who wish to participate or donate can call Debra McIntosh at 929-9872. Two prizes will be awarded for the most creative entry and the most patriotic entry. To be eligible to win, entries must be received by Friday, July 28.

    Cooper Center hosts Volcano Village's Fourth of July
    celebration on Thursday, July 4.
    VOLCANO VILLAGES FESTIVITIES TAKE PLACE on Thursday, July 4. The parade starts at 9 a.m. at the post office. To join the parade, contact Jim Mitchell at 253-441-0863 or Sher Glass at 967-8553. 
          Festivities continue at Cooper Center on Wright Road, with craft and food booths, entertainment, a silent auction and games for children.
          For craft or food booths, contact Barbara Toles at 769-3903 or Donna Stickel at 985-7140.
          To sign up to perform during the festivities, call Kathy Baybayan at 982-7387.
          Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park will once again hold their fundraiser silent auction. Donations are accepted at 985-7373.
          Volunteers who would like to help with the keiki games can contact Mary Brewer at 985-9595.
    THE COMMUNITY BOOKSTORE at Kauaha`ao Church in Wai`ohinu is open tomorrow and every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Beginning July 6, it will also be open on the first Saturday of each month.

    A bamboo trumpet hula implement by Greg West. Photo from VAC
    HANA NO`EAU TAKES PLACE THURSDAY from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. Artist and Hawaiian cultural practitioner Greg West teaches different Hawaiian cultural art techniques and offers insight into the deeper meaning of Hawaiian arts and crafts. The program is free. Call 967-8222 for more information. 

    KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT holds its next meeting at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Macadamia Field Office Thursday at 4 p.m. Contact Jeff McCall at 928-6456 for more information.



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    Mauna Loa dome where six "gastronauts" are spending four months in a simulation of living conditions on Mars.
    Photo by Sian Proctor of HI-SEAS
    KA`U AND MAUNA LOA have been a favorite testing grounds to prepare astronauts for going to the Moon and now to Mars. This summer scientists are staying in a dome at the 8,000 foot elevation in a Mauna Loa quarry. Their mission is the Hawai`i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation. Called HI-Seas, the experiment, funded by NASA, focuses on diet of astronauts to be sent to Mars around the year 2030. The team also confronts the loneliness factor – and tests out the use or robo pets. They also test out clothing for such discomforts as wearing the same underwear for a long period of time.
          About 700 people applied for the six berths in the Mauna Loa dome. Those selected, whom each receive $5,000 to spend the four months on Mauna Loa, are: crew commander and space researcher Angelo Vermuelan; journalist Kate Greene, geologist Sian Proctor, biologist Oleg Abramov, robotics engineer Simon Engler, and materials specialist Yajaira Sierre-Sastre.
          As part of the routine, the “gastronauts” (the nickname relates to the dietary study), wear mock spacesuits when they leave their dome for the thin air of the high slope of Mauna Loa.
          In recent field notes, Kate Green posted that “Most of our time on this simulated Mars mission is spent inside a geodesic dome. We conduct research, make and document meals for our food study, do chores, and fill out psychological and behavioral surveys. It’s no surprise, then, that adventure is hard to come by."
    Dome on Mauna Loa at the 8,000 feet elevation. Photo by Sian Proctor of HI-SEA
          She writes about doning green spacesuit simulators to take a hike. “For two and a half hours, we clambered over the shifty and crumbling lava rocks just east of our habitat. We walked to the edges of pits and peered over steep drop-offs. And we investigated a nearby lava tube cave, hollowed out years ago by an immense column of molten lava.
          “A walkabout such as this is called an EVA, or extra-vehicular activity. Wednesday’s EVA had a particular objective: to explore the caves and cavities near our habitat. Technically called lava tubes and skylights, these structures interest our crew geologist, Oleg Abramov. Back on Earth, Oleg is a research space scientist with the USGS astrogeology branch in Flagstaff, AZ. Here on simulated Mars, he plans and leads geological EVAs.
         “On this EVA, our longest and most ambitious to date, Oleg’s intent was to collect samples. He wanted to get better acquainted with the geology of the region, including the composition of lavas and white coatings we’ve seen on many rocks in the area. In addition, he wanted to ground-truth satellite images for a number of skylights he spotted on Google Earth/Simulated Mars. His hope was that some of these holes in the ground would provide access to lava tube caves below.
         “Thanks to satellite imagery, we now know that both Mars and the moon also have lava tubes and skylights. These caves and holes likely formed the same way they do on Earth.
          “As a channel of molten lava flows, its top layer, exposed to air, cools and forms a crust. Below, the hotter lava continues to course until it empties out, leaving behind a tube-like cave. Skylights form when parts of the lava tube ceiling collapse. Sometimes these ceilings crumble and completely block access to the cave. Other times, they fall away clean, leaving pits with dangerous, potentially unstable overhangs. But once in a while, the rocks fall in such a way to give unfettered access to a lava-carved tunnel.
          “Caves and skylights on Mars and the moon have recently attracted the attention of But on our EVA this week, we weren’t looking for a new place to live. We just wanted to explore and collect some geological samples. The first pit we approached was an enormous gouge in the ground. Inside, a cave mouth gaped roughly 20 meters high. Unfortunately, the edges of the skylight were simply too dangerous to descend in our bulky spacesuit simulators and without rappelling gear.
          “The next skylight was smaller, about five meters across, but its perimeter seemed unstable. We couldn’t see a lava tube entrance and could only get close enough to get the sense that the drop would be a doozy. We affectionately called this one the Pit of Death.
    Angelo Vermeulen, crew commander, with robotic pet. Photo by Sian Proctor of HI-SEA
          "After a few more inaccessible skylights, we came upon a fairly shallow one that sported a lava tube opening with surprisingly easy access. Oleg, Yajaira Sierra-Sastre (our science officer), and I made our way with caution. Last September, archaeologists discovered what appeared to be an ancient Hawaiian burial site in a lava tube in an area adjacent to our habitat. Human remains were found, along with a hearth and kukui nut shells. Sensitive to the possibility of disturbing such a site, we stayed near the entrance and looked for indicators of prior human activity. There were none, so Oleg collected samples of white coating on the rocks while Yajaira and I took pictures and video to document the structure. 
          `On the way back to our habitat, we came upon a few more skylights and another death pit. We didn’t dawdle or get too close. Our return journey was slow and mostly consisted of walking on solidified pāhoehoe lava flows. These are the kind that can take on a variety of looks: like heavy fabric that’s bunched and frozen in place, like thick petrified ropes or like piles of shattered dinner plates.
          "We also made a difficult crossing of an aʻā lava flow, the type that’s sharp, jagged and brittle. And the final challenge between us and our dome was a steep up-and-over on a cinder cone ridge made of small, gravel-like stones. Two steps forward, one step back. After what seemed an eternity on uneven, ankle-breaking terrain, we finally made it home. We arrived safe, sound, and grateful for the chance to explore," Green wrote. Ka`u residents can follow the team at http://i-seas.org/?p=1694.

    UNFAIR TO WOMEN, is what U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono calls an immigration bill before the U.S. She spoke on the Senate floor yesterday, stating that the U.S. government should take into account the educational and career inequities in other countries before adopting a merit based point system that would rank potential immigrants.
    Sen. Mazie Hirono goes to bat for women, speaking on the Senate
     floor yesterday, regarding the new immigration bill.
      Hirono, who has long lobbied for family-based immigration policies, said the bill stresses “economic considerations. Nothing wrong with that, but we should be fair to women while we're doing it."
          She says the bill also reduces opportunities for family members of those already in the U.S. to immigrate using green cards.
          According to the Congressional Budget Office analysis released Tuesday a total of about 8 million of the 11 million people residing in the U.S illegally would become legal residents.
          "We all want a stronger economy, but we should not sacrifice the hard-won victories of the women's equality movement to get it," Hirono said. "Ensuring that women have an equal opportunity to come here isn't an abstract policy cause to me." She said she is working with other women in the Senate for an amendment that would make the bill more favorable to women.

    VOTING ‘NO’ ON HELE-ON BUS RATE HIKES and ‘NO’ on raising vehicle registration and weight fees, Ka`u County Council member Brenda Ford chimed in with about a dozen testifiers at the County Council meeting yesterday. Ford recommended that rather than charge children who are going to school on the bus, the county talk to the state Department of Education and ask for help for transporting students.
          According to a story this morning in West Hawai`i Today, Tiffany Kia, acting Mass Transit Agency director, said that spreading the cost of the Hele-On Bus system across the number of riders comes out to $5.87 a passenger. Passengers currently pay $1 per ride with seniors, the disabled and students riding free. The new fee would be $2 for regular riders and $1 for seniors, students and disabled. The money would be used to improve the bus system with equipment and possibly additional routes.     
    Students, seniors, and the elderly will be charged for the Hele On
     bus, if the council approves the proposal for rate hikes.
    Photo by Julia Neal
             Ford also suggested that the county Department of Transportation reorganize to become more efficient before hiking annual fees for local drivers to register their vehicles.
          The additional revenue from vehicle weight taxes and licensing fees would go to improving county roads, according to the administration’s proposal. The weight tax would rise to 2.5 cents per pound for trucks and commercial, non-passenger vehicles and to 1.25 cents per pound for noncommercial and passenger carrying vehicles, like buses.
          Both measures passed, with seven aye votes, a no vote from Ford and a missing vote from Zendo Kern who missed the council meeting. There is one more vote before the hikes are approved by the council. See more at www.westhawaiitoday.com

    HIKING THE PAY OF THE 31 COUNTY COUNCIL STAFF members received some procedural recommendations from Ka`u council member Brenda Ford at yesterday’s council meeting. According to a report in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald, Ford said, “I want to be fair to everyone if we are going to do this.” The raise would allow the appointed staff members to earn an amount similar to union counterparts, writes Tribune-Herald staff writer Tom Callis.
          Dennis Onishi, who represents Hilo on the council, suggested looking at raising the lowest paid staff member salaries first. The hikes would cost the county about $56,000, the story said. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com

    IN JAPAN, MAYOR BILLY KENOI is on family vacation with his children and wife to visit her grandmother, who is celebrating her 90th birthday in Kagoshima. Managing Director Wally Lau services as acting mayor until Kenoi returns to work on Monday, June 24.
    Tom Peek's Writer's Retreat sells out in Volcano. Photo by Julia Neal

    TOM PEEK’S 15TH ANNUAL WRITER’S RETREAT is sold out for the session that starts Thursday and goes through Sunday at Kilauea Military Camp. The workshop is for all levels. No experience is necessary. For next year and similar events coming up sooner, interested persons can sign up for a writers email list by contacting britten@volanoartcenter.org or calling 967-8222. Peek recently won a Benjamin Franklin Award for his book Daughters of Fire

    HULA ARTS AT KILAUEA will be held Friday, 6 p.m. at the hula platform near Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`I Volcanoes National Park. The sunset hula features Halau Kahula O Nawahine Noho Pu`ukapu. Park entrance fees apply. See www.volcanohula.com


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    Gathering place for honu appears to be Punalu`u this week. Honu, the green sea turtles, depart the inhabited islands to lay their eggs
    but their cousins, the endangered hawksbills come ashore to nest during summer and fall. See story below.
    Photo by Sabine Hendreschke
    PA`A PONO MILOLI`I INC, a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving the lives of the residents of the native Hawaiian fishing village of Miloliʻi, will receive a $140,000 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
          Funding is for fiscal years 2013 and 2014 is for preserving culture and traditional fishing practices. Beginning next month, Pa`a Pono Miloli`i will roll out activities, workshops, and enrichments for the Miloliʻi community, overseen by Kaimi Kaupiko, a native resident of Miloliʻi and graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa Shilder School of Business.
           Programs will include traditional ʻopelu fishing practices for which waters of Miloliʻi are famous. The organization will sponsor spring, summer and fall Lawaiʻa Fishing Camps. The first camp is July 10 – 13 and Ka`u youth are invited to apply, Kaupiko said this morning.  
         Another focus for the grant is reintroduction of hula and the Hawaiian language as well as restoration of the Miloliʻi canoes - the Hoʻomau and Malolo. Construction of a canoe hale adjacent to the Miloliʻi Community Enrichment and Historical Center is also planned.
          Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi Inc. partners with Kua O Ka La Public Charter School, Hauʻoli Ka Manaʻo Congregational Church, Kalanihale Educational non- profit and Hoʻoulu La Hui. Outside agencies include Conservation International, Alu Like Hoʻala Hou, and the Queen Liliuokalani Childrens Center. 
          To sign up for camp and to learn more about the OHA Preserving Culture and Traditional Fishing Practice grant award for Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi Inc., call Kaimi Kaupiko at 808-937-1310.      

    Throwing net is one of the activities at the Miloli`i youth camp this summer,
    which begins July 5. Photo by Keali`i Kahele
    KA`U’S CONGRESSWOMAN TULSI GABBARD voted yesterday for final House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which would authorize more than $400 million for Hawai‘i defense priorities. The bill passed by a vote of 315-108. 
          While pleased with the defense funding for Hawai`i, Gabbard said she is disappointed that her “bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act to protect victims of military sexual assault was blocked from a vote on the House floor this week. This is not an issue that can be ignored. I will continue to work to make sure that we are honoring our selfless heroes by resolving this issue,” said Gabbard.
          On the House floor, Gabbard talked about her amendment to strengthen and reform the backlogged Special Immigrant Visa program for Iraqi and Afghan citizens who served alongside American troops during war. 
          Gabbard said that while American service members are lauded and honored for their sacrifice, there are many civilians in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan, who are “unseen heroes who sacrifice every single day as they serve alongside our troops.” She pointed to two interpreters who served with her in a medical unit in Iraq. “One was named Kadam. He sat in our clinics, he went out on our missions with our medics and I spoke to him almost every day and learned so much about his family, his community and the challenges that he overcame every day to just work with us.    
         “He drove home every night with a firearm under his driver’s seat in fear not only of his own life but in fear of the health and safety of his family. He had a few young children and he spoke very strongly about his hopes and his dreams for them being able to have a future, to have an education, which was a far cry from the life he was living there. And that’s why he served with us.”
          Another interpreter, whom the Hawaiian unit called Kahuna, worked in secrecy and lived at the U.S. military camp to protect his family. “His neighbors and friends did not know he worked with us,” recalled Gabbard.
          Gabbard’s amendment to make immigration easier for these supporters of the U.S. passed with an overwhelming vote of 420-3.
          The National Defense Authorization Bill includes military construction in Hawai`I with funds of $65 million for Fort Shafter, $236 million for Kaneohe Bay, $58 million for Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, $37 million for Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and $2.6 million for Ford Island – DISA.
          It requires that the Department of Defense keep a THAAD missile defense system in Guam, full funding for Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defense in Hawai‘i, and strengthened ballistic missile defense in the Pacific region. Gabbard recently testified to the House Armed Services Committee in support of strong missile defense provisions.
          The bill also includes a requirement for accelerated troop drawdown in Afghanistan and justification by the President for any American troops on the ground after 2014.

    THE FORECLOSURE AUCTION CONFIRMATION FOR 5,800 ACRES OF Ka`u coastal, pasture and coffee lands has been set for 9 a.m., a week from today, June 27, in Honolulu before Judge Bert Ayabe in First Circuit Court, fourth floor.
         According to a story in Pacific Business News: “The land, which was supposed to have been developed with a $105 million loan from Lehman Brothers before the deal got suspended by the 2008 Lehman bankruptcy, has an assessed value of about $13.6 million.
          “It also has a remaining mortgage on the properties of almost $60 million. 

    Final auction confirmation hearing will be held at 9 a.m. a week from today in Honolulu for 5,800 acres that include the Moa`ula
    and Pear Tree Ka`u Coffee lands, pasture mauka of Hwy 11 above Honu`apo and pasture and oceanfront property at Waikapuna.
          “Alan Worden, a Massachusetts developer, spearheaded a group who bought the Ka`u district land in 2006, with plans to build out an eventual high-end residential development,” wrote PBN reporter Duane Shimogawa.
          Lehman Brothers Holdings, which has reorganized to do business to pay off its debt, is foreclosing on Worden’s Windwalker companies which borrowed the money from Lehman against the property.
          The land includes most of the farms on which the famous Ka`u Coffee is grown at Moa`ula and Pear Tree. It also includes pasture and coastal lands near Na`alehu, including Waikapuna and pasture lands mauka of Hwy 11 above Honu`apo.
          During the confirmation hearing, additional bids will be allowed. During the auction on May 21, the highest outside bidder was Edmund C. Olson who bid $12 million. However, Lehman, which is owed more than $60 million on the property, bid higher and could choose to become the owner of the property, if no one bids higher than Lehman at the final foreclosure hearing.
          Ka`u Coffee farmers said they are looking toward long-term leases or purchasing their farmlands from whomever becomes the next owner. The farmers, many of them displaced sugar workers who have built their own independent coffee businesses since 1996 when the mill shut down, are currently operating on land without long-term leases.

    ABEL SIMIONA LUI, who lived at Kawa beach in Ka`u for more than 20 years, claiming ancestral and sovereignty rights before being evicted late last year, was back in court yesterday. According to a story in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald, Lui refused to sit at the defense table in the courtroom for a hearing on his arrest for illegal camping when he and a group of Hawaiian sovereignty supporters camped and planted taro around the King Kamehameha statue in Hilo. They were protesting the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893, but were cited by the state Department of Land & Natural Resources for illegal camping. State workers pulled out the taro and re-sodded the land around the statue.
    Abel Lui talking about sovereignty at one of his talks in Ka`u. Photo by Julia Neal
         The story by John Burnett quotes Lui saying, “We gave these people notice that we was gonna do one vigil, that we’re here for that, nothin’ else. And the next thing you know, we all got arrested. So here we are. The county and the state says they own the land. Then come on, bring down you guys documents, whatever evidence that says you own it. That includes DLNR, who says they own the land. Where are you guys documents?
          “This is crown land. That guy who is standing right there (Kamehameha I), it belongs to his people. And I’m an heir to all of that. That’s what gives us the right to be here. If the other people in the community can grow one garden (but) when it comes to the kanaka, cannot, I call that discrimination.”
          Judge Barbara Takase delayed the hearing for Lui until July 24, after defense attorney Ivan Van Leer asked for it, stating “jurisdictional issues” as a cause for delay. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com

    VOLUNTEERS FOR HAWKSBILL TURTLES are helping to protect the endangered turtles this summer and fall through a program sponsored by Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
           Since 1989, the Hawksbill Turtle Monitoring Program has been instrumental in studying and protecting the endangered hawksbill, Eretmochelys imbricata.
          The hawksbill, called Honu`ea in Hawaiian, is the rarest turtle in the Pacific Ocean with not more than 10 to 20 individuals nesting per season in the Hawaiian Islands. The program engages at least 16 volunteers at a time from June through December each year.
          A minimum commitment of 8 to 12 weeks is preferred. Duties include nightly watches at remote backcountry beaches – most of them in Ka`u - to observe nesting hawksbills and basking green sea turtles. Volunteers monitor nesting activities, handle and tag turtles, rescue stranded hatchlings, excavate nests, record field data, and trap and euthanize introduced predators (mongooses, rats, feral cats) to protect turtle eggs and hatchlings. Occasional beach clean-ups will be scheduled over the hawksbill nesting season.
    Most hawksbill keiki are born in remote locations, but Punalu`u nestings in 2009
    draw a crowd as hatchlings scurry to the ocean where they will spend
    most of their lives. Photo by Julia Neal
      According a call for volunteers, they “must possess an upbeat positive attitude, a love of the outdoors, be willing to camp in the field 4-6 nights per week (including some weekends), and be capable of working late into the night. Some sites are reached by hiking 7-12 miles in hot weather conditions with a 20 to 30 pound backpack, others by 4WD vehicle.” Volunteers must possess a valid U.S. driver's license.
          The program provides dorm style housing at 4,000 - foot elevation in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and a meal reimbursement ($10.00 U.S. per working day).
          Those interested in volunteering, can contact the Hawksbill Turtle Monitoring Program for an application by calling 985-6090, fax 985-6029, or write to: Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawksbill Turtle Monitoring Program, Division of Resources Management, P.O. Box 52, Hawai`i National Park, HI 96718 or email: HAVO_turtle_project@nps.gov.

    THE BILL TO BAN NEW GMO’S from the island will be discussed at a meeting led by County Council member Margaret Wille and Professor of Tropical Organic Agriculture Hector Valenzuela from University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources. The meeting will be next Thursday, June 27 at UH Hilo, Room STB 108.
          Following a short film about Genetically Modified Organisms growing in Hawai`i, the professor will give a presentation around the effects of GMOs in Hawai`i, and to other parts of the world. The council member will discuss Bill 79, which she introduced to prohibit further introductions of GMO crops on Hawai`i Island.
          GMO Free Hawai`i Island will report on its actions in support of Bill 79. A question and answer period will follow. 


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    Megan Lamson discusses natural and cultural resources of Ka`u's Wai`ohinu Coast at After Dark in the Park
    this coming Tuesday. Photo from NPS
    PAHALA ELEMENTARY IS ONE of several schools statewide to receive safe, age appropriate and accessible playground equipment and walkways that meet ADA Accessibility Guidelines as part of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s release of more than $134.7 million for capital improvement projects identified by members of the state Legislature to improve Hawai`i’s public school facilities while enhancing economic conditions.
    Gov. Neil Abercrombie has release funds for capital improvement projects
    at schools statewide. Photo from Office of the Governor
          “These priority projects will address many needed repairs and upgrades at our public schools to create environments in which students can learn and thrive,” Abercrombie said. “The improvements are an investment in our keiki and our economy. Capital improvement projects like these across the state are contributing to Hawai`i’s strong economy and our improved state unemployment rate, which declined to 4.7 percent in May.”

          Allotment of funds for the following additional priority projects at various schools statewide has been approved by the governor: 

    • $41,700,000 – Construction for numerous repair and maintenance projects at school facilities across the state, including re-roofing, electrical upgrades, plumbing and other work; 
    • $2,000,000 – Planning, design, construction and equipment to provide energy improvements at various schools to identify inefficiencies and develop and implement energy conservation plans; the DOE will identify those schools with inordinate electricity consumption as compared to other schools; 
    • $1,000,000 – Planning, design and construction to remove potentially hazardous material to ensure various state schools are up-to-date with current federal standards. 
          The balance of funds released goes to projects at specific schools throughout the state.

    KA`U’S LOWER-INCOME SENIOR CITIZENS are encouraged to sign up for the annual summer USDA Senior Produce Program. The islandwide program runs from June 24 to Oct. 3. It will be the 11th year for the 15-week program on the Big Island. The Food Basket will administer the outreach effort, officially called the USDA Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
          Distribution of locally grown fruits and vegetables is to persons age 60 and over with income less than $24,475 for individuals and $33,022 for couples. One allotment is allowed per household.
          Applications can be downloaded at foodbaskethi.org and are also available at RSVP in the Kamana Senior Center complex (961-8730) and at the Coordinated Services office at 1055 Kinoole Street (961-8777). The Food Basket is accepting and assisting with applications Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 40 Holomua Street in Hilo and Monday through Thursday at 79-1016A East Honalo Road, Kailua-Kona (322-1418).
          Distribution in Ka`u takes place on Wednesdays: Cooper Center in Volcano at 11:30 a.m., Pahala Community Center from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Na`alehu Community Center from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Kahuku Park in Ocean View from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

    Fees to use county park facilities, including Pahala Community Center,
    are expected to increase Aug. 1. Photo by Julia Neal
    THE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION has sent its proposed fee increases to Mayor Billy Kenoi, who is expected to approve the fees to help balance the county budget. The fees increases, the first in more than 10 years, are expected to go into effect Aug. 1.
          Use of county facilities including gyms, ball fields, parks, pavilions, rodeo arenas and community centers would remain free for nonbenefit athletic activities, or those not involving money.
          Ball fields, such as at Na`alehu Park, and parks would charge $100 per day for nonbenefit nonathletics activity. Nonathletic events will also be charged $12 per hour charge for lighting. Commercial events would be charged $200 per day for nonathletic events or $50 per day, $15 per team per season for athletics events. Professional promoters would pay $400 per day, up from $200.
          Pavilion rental, including those at Punalu`u Park, will increase to $25 per day from $10 per day for nonbenefit use. Kitchen use is an extra $25 per day. For benefit use, such as fundraisers, the fee will be $50 per day. Professional promoters will pay $300 per day, increased from $100 per day.
          Rodeo arena use fees remain the same except for professional promoters, who would pay $400 per day instead of $200 per day. Arenas are free for nonbenefit athletic activities, $20 per day for nonbenefit nonathletic events and $50 per day for benefit athletic activities.
          Rental of community centers remains the same, at $100 per day for nonbenefit nonathletic activities. The fee for fundraisers is $150 per day, and professional promoters will be charged $1,000 per day, up from $500 per day.

    An earthquake north of Moloka`i is a reminder that Hawai`i
    Island is not the only one in the state prone to earthquakes.
    Image from USGS
    U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY’S HAWAIIAN VOLCANO OBSERVATORY recorded an earthquake north of Moloka`i today at 12:04 a.m. The magnitude was initially estimated at 4.0, but more detailed seismic analyses resulted in a final magnitude of 4.5.
          “This is a good reminder that the Island of Hawai`i is not the only Hawaiian island prone to earthquakes,” said Wes Thelen, HVO’s Seismic Network manager. “Earthquakes in this area are not uncommon and are typically caused by a structural adjustment of the mantle in response to the weight of the Hawaiian Islands.”
          The earthquake was located 34 miles north of Maunaloa, Moloka`i, at a depth of about 22 miles. A map showing the location of the earthquake is posted on the HVO website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov/seismic/volcweb/earthquakes.
          HVO’s seismic records show that 10 earthquakes of magnitude three or larger have occurred north of Moloka`i in the past 20 years, including a magnitude 4.1 earthquake on May 20, 2005.
          No aftershocks have been recorded, and, according to Thelen, aftershocks typically do not follow earthquakes at these depths in the mantle.
          Today’s earthquake was felt on several Hawaiian Islands from Maui to Kaua`i. The USGS “Did you feel it?” website at earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/dyfi received more than 60 felt reports within the first hour of the earthquake. Thus far, there have been no reports of damage.
          The earthquake is not expected to have any effect on Kilauea’s ongoing eruptions. “HVO monitoring networks have not detected any significant changes in activity at the summits or rift zones of Kilauea or other Hawaiian volcanoes,” said Jim Kauahikaua, HVO’s scientist-in-charge.
          For information on recent earthquakes in Hawai`i and eruption updates, visit HVO’s website at hvo.wr.usgs.gov.

    Kira Kamamalu Ventrella's Wahine II is on
    display at Volcano Art Center Gallery
    PALM TRAIL HIKE TAKE PLACE SUNDAY at 9:30 a.m. at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. This relatively easy, guided, 2.6-mile three-hour loop crosses scenic pasture along an ancient cinder cone with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. 985-6011

    THE PEOPLE, THE PLACES CONTINUES DAILY, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Vicki Penney-Rohner and Kira Kamamalu Ventrella present this fine art exhibition featuring original oil paintings and pastels. Penney-Rohner  considers herself a realistic impressionist, working in successive layers on multiple pieces simultaneously, each layer of each piece informing the layer of the next. Ventrella combines her connection with her subject matter with a technique of her own creation, using mostly a palette knife and impasto brushes to give her distinctly Polynesian portraiture a signature look. Call 967-7565 or visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

    MEGAN LAMSON, MARINE BIOLOGIST and Hawai`i Wildlife Fund project coordinator, discusses the unique natural and cultural resources of Ka`u’s Wai`ohinu coastline, shares progress of HWF’s conservation work and presents opportunities to participate in upcoming volunteer events. The After Dark in the Park program begins at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.



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    A guided hike along Kahuku's Palm Trail, with its panoramic vistas, takes place tomorrow. NPS Photo by David Boyle
    HOME OWNERSHIP WILL SOON BE MORE ACCESSIBLE to Ka`u and other Hawai`i households. Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday signed legislation that updates the Hula Mae Single Family Mortgage Loan Program and broadens eligibility.
          “This bill will make owning a home more than just a dream for many island families,” said Abercrombie, who also took the opportunity to proclaim June as Homeownership Month in Hawai`i. “Homeownership strengthens families and builds communities. It also fosters economic prosperity and generates economic growth, which benefits us all.”

    Gov. Abercrombie with supporters of SB1025.
    Photo from Office of the Governor
          Part of the governor’s legislative package, SB1025, enacted as Act 135, updates the Hula Mae Single Family Mortgage Loan Program to allow broader program participation by potential single-family homeowners, especially for eligible borrowers’ principal residences. It also adds down payment, closing cost and other assistance as a program feature and makes various housekeeping and conforming amendments. The act is effective July 1.

In 1979, the state Legislature authorized the Hawai`i Housing Authority to fund the mortgage loan program to assist low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Since then, the Legislature has authorized the issuance of revenue bonds in an aggregate principal amount of $2.2 billion to fund this program. As of June 30, 2012, $1.8 billion in single-family mortgage purchase revenue bonds have been issued, providing eligible first-time homebuyers with mortgage loans at below-market interest rates. Also since then, Hula Mae has helped more than 10,000 families purchase first homes.

          The Hawai`i Housing Finance and Development Corporation now administers the program. Homebuyers apply directly with participating lending institutions, which review eligibility and qualifications for a Hula Mae loan. Loans currently made under the program are securitized by the Federal National Mortgage Association, the Government National Mortgage Association or the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation.
          Held in conjunction with National Homeownership Month, Homeownership Month in Hawai`i highlights the personal and societal benefits of owning a home, as well as recognizes public, private and nonprofit partners that contribute to providing homeownership opportunities and ensuring long-term viability of homeownership for island families. 

          These agencies and entities in Hawai`i include Hawai`i Housing Finance and Development Corporation; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Hawai`i Association of Realtors; Land Use Research Foundation, representing housing developers throughout the state; financial institutions; and nonprofits such as the Hawai`i Home Ownership Center, Hawaiian Community Assets, Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i, Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Hawai`i, Habitat for Humanity and Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawai`i.

    MILTON NAKATSU, OF HILO, HAS SENT TESTIMONY regarding the proposed `Aina Koa Pono project to the Public Utilities Commission and state senators.
          “A lot of residents believe that renewable energy is the way to go as well as I,” Nakatsu wrote, “but I will try to illustrate the cons (of AKP) with the following:
          “First, I have to apologize for sounding so negative, but I feel some of the ‘silent majority’ must have a voting voice on this crucial matter.
          “This combine (`Aina Koa Pono) reminds me of the days of the Kohala Task Force dumping millions into unproven businesses only to end up in bankruptcy except Kohala Nursery. Note: the execs of Biogenics were driving new Cadillacs every day from Kamuela to Kohala and back, wining and dining and to the bank only to deposit the hundreds of thousands milked from the company. The story is ‘good;’ they have an excellent Business Plan; set up; reap the rewards and are gone after five years or so.
          “It doesn’t make any sense to compel ratepayers to pay any additional fees for biodiesel, it should be an agreement with the electric companies. They (electric companies) currently negotiate with the oil companies for a fair price, so they should also negotiate for a fair price of biodiesel as an oil substitute.
          “Times are extremely difficult for fixed income residents. We have no means of generating income, and it’s causing our rates to go even higher for the benefit of `Aina Koa Pono? Where is the fairness, representation, protection and common sense on this?
    Biofuel refined in Ka`u would be hauled to Keahole Power Plant in Kona.
    Photo from Power Plants Around the World
          “Maybe I misunderstood, but wasn’t the charge per barrel of biodiesel lowered to the cost of crude (not sure)? After exhaustive questioning, didn’t they lower the figure to $200 a barrel, which is still too high? I’m wondering if they had an initial cost of like $400 a barrel.
          “If the cost of biodiesel is tied to crude, then it should be similar to annual percentage rate for interest rates where rates are fairly adjusted to moving market values of interest and not set in stone for 10 to 20 years which I believe is the case. Is this the ‘failsafe’ for them to make a ton upfront and can fail later after initially reaping the rewards?
          “If this company has the expertise/management skills and knowledge, then let them present a case to HELCO in negotiating like they do with the oil companies. Aren’t they competing for biodiesel in lieu of oil?
          “Would any bank lend them the money required under the present net increase in energy after plants are grown, harvested, microwaved then hauled as fuel 80 miles away to HELCO’s refinery?
          “As quoted by Will Rolston, energy coordinator for the county, ‘We’re sitting here, and we’re trying to figure out how it could work; the math doesn’t add up.’
          “If this company is PUC-regulated, are they tied to any ROE (return on equity)? If they are, what are the thresholds?
          “Are there any stipulations on salaries for CEO, president, manager on down, or could it be unlimited? What about golden parachutes?
          “If I had a proposal to install 100,000 to 1,000,000 photovoltaic panels or any other type of energy renewal program, would the ratepayer have to pay any costs, since theoretically oil usage would be less? If it is, then I’d like to drum up investors, since this is a no lose, win only investment.
          “Again, can anyone answer, if Hawai`i Island is 46.7 percent renewable today, and 100 percent renewable tomorrow, what would our electric rates be higher? Lower?
          “Last but not least, as repeatedly quoted by Mayor Billy Kenoi, he’s not in favor of any more alternative energy sources for the island ‘unless they result in a lowering of utility bills, not raising of them.’ That is a huge ‘ditto,’ Mr. Mayor.
          “Senators, I beg you, do not let this proposition be railroaded by a few minority with supreme authority without the sake of overall wellbeing of the ‘common silent majority.’”
          This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

    Southside Volleyball Club team members are on their
    way to competition in Reno, Nevada next week.
    Front row: Brian Gascon, Emmett Enriques and Addie
    Enriques. Back row: Kai Enriques, Nai`i Makuakane,
    Avery Enriques, Kameron Moses.
    Photo by Katherine Okamura
    TWO SOUTHSIDE VOLLEYBALL TEAMS of Ka`u boys are headed to the mainland to compete in the 2013 Boys Junior National Championship in Reno, Nevada next week from June 28 through July 3. Members of the 14 team of 14-year-olds are Addie Enriques, Avery Enriques, Nai`ia Makuakane and Kameron Moses. Members of the 16s team are Brian Gascon, Emmett Enriques and Kai Enriques. Head coach is Guy Enriques.

    KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers its Palm Trail Hike tomorrow 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 Kahuku has to offer. 985-6011

    KA`U RESIDENT DICK HERSHBERGER BRINGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory founder Thomas Jaggar to life Tuesday. A Walk into the Past programs begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center and Whitney Vault in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.

    Megan Lamson discusses the Ka`u Coast at After
    Dark in the Park Tuesday.
    THE TOPIC AT AFTER DARK IN THE PARK Tuesday evening is Natural Resources of the Wai`ohinu Coast: Plants, Pools, Petroglyphs & Volunteer Participation. Megan Lamson, marine biologist and coordinator of coastal cleanup projects sponsored by Hawai`i Wildlife Fund, presents the program beginning at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs; park entrance fees apply.




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