Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Thursday, April 7, 2016

`O Ka`u Kakou has applied for county grants to help fund its annual Keiki Fishing Tournament at Punalu`u and other events. See more below. Photo by Peter Anderson
LEGISLATION LIMITING SOLAR PROJECTS in subdivisions on land zoned for agriculture passed the state Senate Ways & Means Committee this morning. The committee approved Ka`u Rep. Richard Creagan’s House Bill 2636, which would amend a law allowing solar on ag land to require special permit approval when a project’s solar energy production would total more that 25 kilowatts. 
      Creagan introduced the bill in response to a proposed project in Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos that would place 30,000 solar panels on 26 lots scattered throughout the neighborhood. Creagan had referred to the Ranchos solar project as an “unintended consequence” of current law, which was intended to provide farmers and ranchers with an additional revenue stream.
      If both chambers pass the bill upon final reading, it will go to Gov. David Ige. According to Creagan, the governor strongly supports the legislation and “actually suggested that it be done.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Rat lungworm disease was the topic of Sen. Russell Ruderman's
meeting with researchers and other Hawai`i Island legislators.
Photo from Office of Sen. Ruderman
BILLS CALLING FOR FUNDING to research rat lungworm disease have died at the state Legislature.
      Although Ka`u’s Sen. Ruderman’s Senate Bill 2516 passed Committees on Water, Land & Agriculture and Consumer Protection & Health unamended, it did not receive a hearing before the Ways & Means Committee and died. The bill called for $1 million to go to University of Hawai`i at Hilo, the state Department of Health and the state Department of Land & Natural Resources for programs, studies and activities related to prevention and eradication of the disease.
      According to the bill, DOH reported over seventy cases of rat lungworm disease on Hawai`i Island from 2001 to 2014, and there were many more cases in 2015, including at least two on Maui. The disease has claimed lives and caused crippling chronic disability. The cost to treat one severe case can exceed $1 million.
      A companion House bill, HB 2223, introduced by Ka`u’s state Rep. Richard Creagan and other Hawai`i Island legislators, also died without being heard by assigned committees.
      Ruderman yesterday hosted a meeting of the Big Island delegation and invited Dr. Susan Jarvi of UH Hilo Pharmacy School to speak about the current status of the disease.
      “Hawai`i is the epicenter of this disease, and Dr. Jarvi has been conducting amazing research with very limited funding to raise our knowledge and awareness,” Ruderman said. “I am hopeful we can secure funding at the state level to address this disease, which has caused devastating long-term disability and even death.
      “Thank you Dr. Jarvi for all you do, and mahalo to Dr. Nerurkar, Dr. Yanagihara, Dr. Kramer and Dr. Gosnell from UH-Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine for joining the discussion and sharing your expertise.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

OKK's annual Keiki Fishing Tournament is a huge volunteer effort,
with more than 125 people donating 1,000 hours this year to make
it a success. Photo by Peter Anderson
`O KA`U KAKOU’S annual Keiki Fishing Tournament at Punalu`u is one event for which the nonprofit applied for funding through Hawai`i County. The group applied for a $5,000 grant to fund operations and supplies, which includes 1,300 breakfasts and lunches. In 2016, 125 people put in 1,000 volunteer-hours to make the event a success. The County Council’s Human Resources & Social Services Committee recommended funding of $2,125 for the event, which OKK described in its application as promoting “a healthy love for the art of shoreline fishing by providing an opportunity for family participation in a supervised fishing tournament.”
      OKK also applied for $7,000 for its annual Family Fun Fest, and the committee recommended $3,000 in grant funding. The annual event, held in conjunction with Na`alehu’s Fourth of July Parade, “provides fun, healthy activities for people of ages,” OKK’s grant application states. Last year, 60 volunteers gave 10 hours each to put on the event.
      Funds for the effort would go toward operations, supplies and equipment. On its application, OKK states that it expects to serve 550 hot dogs, 850 shave ices and 150 adult lunches. It also expects 90 bingo participants and to serve 150 adult lunches to them and the volunteers.
      “Any help we get from the county helps us give more to the community projects that we do not ask the county to help us with,” OKK’s application states.
      These and other grant applications will be considered at the committee’s meeting on Tuesday, April 19.
      See future Ka`u Calendar News Briefs for more on grant applications from other Ka`u nonprofits.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Chief Ranger John Broward
Photo from NPS
A MAN FROM HOLLAND who was missing overnight from Kulanaokuaiki Campground in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park on Tuesday, April 5 has been located.
      Gerrit Voortis, 63, and his wife were camping at Kulanaokuaiki, a campground located off Hilina Pali Road Tuesday afternoon. Voortis left his wife to go on a short hike by himself and did not take water, a phone or a backpack with him. Park dispatch was notified by another concerned camper when he failed to return later that afternoon. Neither a County of Hawai`i helicopter pilot nor the park’s search-and-rescue team could locate him by nightfall. The SAR team continued to search for him on the ground until 10 p.m.
      Around 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the park’s contracted helicopter pilot spotted a glow from a small fire and located the man northeast of the campground. The pilot landed, and search-and-rescue rangers treated him for dehydration. Voortis was in good condition, but was cold, hungry and very thirsty. The small fire he built for warmth the night before was extinguished by park rangers.
      Voortis and his wife were reunited at the park’s Visitor Emergency Operations Center Wednesday morning, and both expressed gratitude for the efforts made in his rescue.
      “It’s extremely important to be prepared when going on any hike, whether it’s a short walk or an extended trek into the backcountry,” said Chief Ranger John Broward. “Plan ahead, research the area, and always have plenty of water.”
      A detailed checklist of safety tips is provided at nps.gov/havo.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A large part of the Overlook crater's inner edge fell into the lava
lake overnight, enlarging the crater's circumference.
Image from USGS/HVO
HALEMA`UMA`U'S OVERLOOK CRATER enlarged overnight. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory announced that a large part of the inner ledge in the crater fell into the lake at about 1:47 a.m.
      While the crater circumference increased, the lake’s level dropped. Yesterday morning, the lake level was about 65 feet lower than it was on April 4. By this morning, the lake level had dropped an additional 31 feet to about 170 feet below the crater floor, the deepest it has been measured since Dec. 30, 2015.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FORMER PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION Chair Mina Morita expressed her support for the $4.3 billion NextEra/Hawaiian Electric merger on her blog at minamoritaenergydynamics.com. Governor David Ige and several state agencies have rejected the deal as it currently stands, claiming that it is not in the best interest of Hawai`i residents.
Mina Morita
      “NextEra is recognized as a top performing utility and company nationally,” Morita said. “There is little doubt about NextEra being financially and technically fit, willing and able, the typical standard in judging the capabilities of a entity to acquire a public utility. Other than this question of ‘fitness,’ the larger issue is whether the approval can be conditioned to satisfy a broader concern of the regulator to address public interest as defined by the regulator.
      “It is a failure on the part of the state parties, possibly at the governor’s directive, that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, Office of State Planning and the Consumer Advocate have not made an attempt to negotiate a settlement to condition an approval.
      “We need to put into perspective the state of Hawai`i’s responsibilities in this very important transaction between two private entities. The aforementioned state agencies are responsible for our state’s business climate. The state has the ability and duty to regulate and govern the environment NextEra functions in to align its business with the public interest. However, it appears that this isn’t a question of ‘fitness’ anymore. It has become an issue of an intransigent administration refusing to negotiate a possible settlement by its agencies to bring to the regulator, possibly in an attempt to stymie a business transaction between private companies at any cost, including the already damaged business climate in Hawai`i. Unfortunately, it’s more indicative of the state lacking confidence in its ability to regulate when it has the authority and power to do so.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Jeff Peterson returns to Ka`u.
Photo by Kim Taylor Reece
JEFF PETERSON presents two programs at Ka`u libraries. Programs celebrating National Library week are tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Public Library and Tuesday, April 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Public & School Library.
      The 45-minute programs are suitable for all ages. Young children must be accompanied by a parent or adult caregiver.
      For more information, call 939-2442 or 933-8888.

RANDY LEE SHARES THE ART of lei making tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Lee uses a variety of natural materials to fashion lei from the freshest fern, leaves and flowers that he personally gathers from the rain forests of Pana`ewa.
      See volcanoartcenter.org.

THE THIRD ANNUAL WALK YOUR TALK hog hunting tournament is coming up on Saturday, April 16. According to organizers, the tournament is provided to hunters “to prove to everyone that you, your team and your dogs are worthy of being a top contender in the hog hunting industry.”
      Hunting begins at 6 a.m., with weigh-in behind Ilima Street in Pahala from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
      Trophies go to first, second and third places in categories of biggest boar, biggest sow and longest tusk, as well as heaviest overall.
      Applications and entry fees of $50 are due by Friday, April 15.
      For more information, call 646-1316.


See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_April_2016.pdf.

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