Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016

Cynthia Lehua Nani Ho`omanawanui-Akimseu, at left, and her cousin Deborah Li`ikapeka Lee hold a maile lei to be placed at `Opukaha`ia Memorial Chapel at Punalu`u Beach during a history tour yesterday. Photo by Chris Cook
AN ESTIMATED 80 OCEAN VIEW residents attended Public Utilities Commission’s hearing yesterday to voice their opinions on a 69-kilovolt transmission line that Hawai`i Electric Light Co. wants to construct for a substation to support a proposed solar project. David Corrigan, of Big Island Video News, recorded the meeting.
      While almost all testifiers told PUC Chair Randy Iwase that they oppose the line, they also expressed their opposition to the solar project itself. Concerns include safety, property values, views and quality of life.
      Peter Bosted received applause from attendees when he told Iwase, “I do not believe we need the overhead line because we don’t need the substation because we don’t need the 30 thousand panels.”
Ann Bosted Image from Big
Island Video News
      Ann Bosted said she and her neighbors would have no choice but to pack up and move if the solar project is built.
      Phil Sharkey said residents are opposed to the overhead line because they want to “break the chain,” which would bring to project to a halt. “We don’t need it,” he said.
      Bobbi Wood, a Planning Director on the Hawaiian Ranchos Community Association, talked about the feed-in-tariff program, under which the project is being constructed.
      “This program was designed for ‘shovel ready’ projects, as it was in the interests of all Hawaiians to take advantage of renewable energy as soon as possible,” she said. “However, instead of working on unencumbered land to create farms that would save Hawai`i burning fossil fuels, the developer chose sites with huge infrastructure problems – problems that have so far taken HELCO five years to fix.
      “This is a boondoggle project, purely and simply. After five years, the project is still not shovel ready.”
      Wood also said HELCO wants to build a substation on land where an easement is under question. Hawaiian Ranchos Road Maintenance Corporation has its office on the land, which Wood said has never been subdivided. HRRMC board voted to not sell to HELCO and to not subdivide and will take legal action to set aside the easement, if necessary, Wood said.
Phil Sharkey testifies as solar project
representative Ian Craig listens.
Image from Big Island Video News.
      Don Nitsche told Iwase that “coming into a residential area is ridiculous.” He said the developer is taking advantage of available infrastructure, including roads and overhead lines that are already in place, rather than having to build their own.
      Ralph Roland said, “This is a really major dilemma for every reason imaginable.” He said the problem is a result of dysfuntional government, with elected and appointed officials who “don’t know how to make rational decisions.”
      Michael Last was the only testifier in favor of the overhead line. He said it is required for equal distribution of electricity to all utility customers on the island. He pointed out that the 69kV line would be the same as those already along the highway.
      Ka`u’s state Rep. said, “There is a statute moving through the Legislature that would make this type of installation illegal going forward and not allow this to expand. The governor strongly supports that legislation and actually suggested that it be done.”
      Creagan referred to the Ranchos solar project as an “unintended consequence” of current law. “We are hoping that with your help, or at least the help of the Consumer Advocate, that it can be stopped now,” Creagan said.
      While Iwase restated that the focus of the meeting was only the overhead power line, he assured attendees that their comments about the solar project “have not fallen on deaf ears.”
      See bigislandvideonews.com.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Kaiali`i Kahele Photo from Office of Gov. Ige
KAIALI`I KAHELE SUCCEEDS his late father in his position at the state Legislature, with Gov. David Ige announcing the appointment today. Sen. Gil Kahele represented Senate District One, which encompasses the greater Hilo area, when he died on Jan. 26. He also served Ka`u in 2011 and 2012 before reapportionment changed district boundaries.
      “Kai has extensive community support and is committed to completing the work of his father,” Ige said. “He has a broad vision for the future of this district and for all of Hawai`i Island that will serve his constituents well.
      “I thank the high quality candidates who were willing to serve and the Senate District One Nominating Committee for working so quickly to get the names to me.”
      “My father led by example, and community service was part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Kahele said. “I am honored to carry on his legislative initiatives. In addition, I intend to focus on job creation by strengthening workforce opportunities and small business in Hilo and the state, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for Hawai`i Community College and UH-Hilo.”
      Kahele lives in Hilo, where he is a Major in Hawai`i Air National Guard and a combat veteran C-17 instructor pilot. He has been honored many times for his military service. In 2005, he was awarded a National Defense Service Medal and a USAF Air Medal for combat missions flown in Afghanistan. Most recently, Kahele received the Guard Officer of the Year award at Hickam Air Force Base.
      He is also a pilot with Hawaiian Airlines, a UH-Hilo adjunct faculty member and the executive director of the nonprofit Pa`a Pono Miloli`i.
      In 2015, Kahele was a crew member on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s canoe Hikianalia.
      Kahele is a graduate of Hilo High School and UH-Manoa, where he earned a B.A. in education while playing on the men’s volleyball team as an outside hitter. He was named Most Inspirational Player in 1997.
      Kahele will take office once the state Senate qualifies him and administers the oath of office.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Henrei `Opukaha`ia is the topic
of a new book
A HISTORY TOUR THIS WEEK STOPPED in Ka`u as it retraced the steps of Ninole-born Henrei `Opukaha`ia. Members of the tour group of 24 flew in from across the mainland. 
      On Monday morning, Feb. 15, the group stopped at Henry `Opukaha`ia Memorial Chapel on a rise overlooking Punalu`u Beach. Tour leader Dave Buehring, who has worked with Youth with a Mission training ministry, said, “When I learned the story of Henry `Opukaha`ia and his impact on the people of these islands, it touched something deep inside me.”
      Chris Cook, author of the recently released book The Providential Life & Heritage of Henry Obookiah, also joined the group. 
      `Opukaha`ia left Ka`u at age 10 in about 1796 following his father, who fought against Kamehameha in the battle of Kaipalaoa in Hilo. Following the battle, the family was hunted down by warriors of Kamehameha and killed, all except for young `Opukaha`ia. His name was anglicized to Henry Obookiah, and Connecticut minister Samuel Mills, Sr. and his family adopted him.
      Upon `Opukaha`ia’s death in 1818, his school principal Edwin Dwight published a palm-size memorial to Henry, The Memoirs of Henry Obookiah, which is credited with sparking interest in sending missionaries to Hawai`i from New England.
      The tour group also visited Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to hear the story of ali`i Kapi`olani’s challenge to the goddess Pele made in 1824 on the rim of Halema`uma`u Crater as told by Kupuna Mary Kamahele Boyd, of Hilo.
      See www.obookiah.com for additional information.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Luis Salaveria
HAWAI`I DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, Economic Development and Tourism’s first quarter 2016 Statistical and Economic Report keeps economic growth rates unchanged from the previous forecast, with Hawai`i Gross Domestic Product growth at 2.3 percent in 2016 and 2.4 percent in 2017. These growth rates are similar to the U.S. economic growth as forecast by the 50 top economic forecast organizations and published in Blue Chip Economic Indicators.
      “We are pleased that Hawai`i ended 2015 with the historical high levels for labor force, employment and job count, and are excited to see the trend continue in 2016,” DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria said. “The state’s unemployment rate was the sixth lowest in the nation, and the economic fundamentals remain positive.”
      Hawai`i’s unemployment rate in 2015 averaged 3.7 percent and was the lowest level since 2007. Unemployment rates for all the counties in the state fell under five percent in 2015, and the gaps between neighbor island counties and Honolulu are getting smaller. Though Hawai`i County had annual average unemployment rates above four percent, the county experienced a significant improvement in unemployment during the year. The unemployment rate in Hawai`i County was 5.2 percent in January 2015 and dropped to 3.7 percent in December 2015.
      The report contains more than 100 tables of the most recent quarterly data on Hawai`i’s economy as well as narrative explanations of the trends in these data. The full report is available at dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic/qser/.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ADVOCATS OFFERS A FREE SPAY & Neuter Clinic tomorrow from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center.
      Call 939-7033.

HALAU KE `OLU MAKANI o Maunaloa performs hula tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Free; park entrance fees apply.
      See nps.gov/havo.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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