Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Thursday, May 26, 2016

A nene fledgling tests its wings. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park urges motorists to slow down and watch out
for young and adult geese on roadways both inside and outside the park. NPS Photo by Kathleen Misajon
THE 2016 CENTRAL PACIFIC HURRICANE SEASON begins next Wednesday, June 1, following a hurricane forming southwest of Hawai`i early this year and 2015, an El Nino year marking one of the most active on record. The map of 2015 cyclones shows the Hawaiian Islands looking like a kipuka of calm in the middle of many tropical storms and hurricanes spinning around the islands.
      Tropical weather jumpstarted 2016 with Hurricane Pali forming south of Hawai`i on Jan. 7 and becoming the earliest Central Pacific tropical cyclone on record, demonstrating that tropical cyclone formation is possible all year long. She did no damage.
Hawaiian Islands looking like a kipuka of calm in the middle of many
2015 tropical storms and hurricanes spinning around the islands.
Image from NOAA
      The Central Pacific Hurricane Center released its predictions today, forecasting a 40 percent chance of normal hurricane activity and a 40 percent chance of above-normal activity, with only 20 percent likelihood of a below normal season.  Normal is about four or five tropical cyclones. Last year marked a record with 15. The lowest number of storms was zero in 1979.
      The season ends on Nov. 30.
      The Central Pacific Hurricane Center recently issued this message:
      “Are you prepared for a hurricane? You’ll need supplies not only for the duration of the storm but also for the potentially lengthy recovery period that could follow. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of one week. Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You’ll also need a portable, crank or solar-powered USB charger to charge your cell phone.”
      See http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/pages/news.php.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

MAILE DAVID, KA`U’S HAWAI`I County Council member, this week wrote to the Public Utilities Commission asking members to “seriously consider the voices of the many residents directly impacted by this flawed proposal and deny the application.”
      David’s letter was in response to an application by Hawai`i Electric Light Co. to build a high-voltage overhead transmission line, along with a new substation to tie a proposed 27-site solar project to the grid. This project has proved to be very unpopular in Ocean View, as the proposed two-acre sites are scattered among homes throughout the Ranchos subdivision. David’s letter also stated: “At the outset, there have been procedures that give rise to valid questions whether such a development (despite its permitted use under state law) met all the lawful requirements to qualify as a participant in the FIT program. There are existing issues that raise valid questions regarding that: 1) the project was not shovel ready; 2) it exceeded the maximum size for projects; 3) the developer did not obtain authorization to combine permits; and 4) the project exceeds the five megawatt requirement for competitive bidding. It was also brought to the attention of the Commission via written testimony that ‘site-control,’ a basic pre-qualification requirement for the Feed-In-Tariff program, was not secured.
      “Given the fact that the request by HELCO is to approve an overhead 69kV transmission line specifically to accommodate this developer under the FIT program, if requirements of qualification have not been met by this developer under the FIT program, then I submit that the proposed mini substation and overhead line being proposed to handle the power generated by a such a non-conforming company is therefore unnecessary and should be denied.
      “As decision-makers, I believe it is incumbent upon all of us, and particularly in this application, that we recognize and acknowledge that the intent, as beneficial and supportive of our goal to achieve energy self-sufficiency and protect our environment may be, our decisions cannot be made at the expense of the health, safety and welfare of our community.”
Maile David
      David also wrote about the demise of a bill introduced to the recent state Legislative session by Ka`u’s state Rep. Richard Creagan. It died, without explanation, on the last day of the session. If it had passed, it would have required a developer who intends to build a large solar farm in a non-conforming subdivision to get a county permit. 
      “Finally, from a legislator’s point of view, it is very disappointing that our Senate and House Conference Committees were unable to come to an agreement regarding the intent of House Bill 2636 HD2 SD2, and thus the measure died,” she wrote. “HB 2636 added an important component that would have expanded HRS Section 205-2 to require a special permit approval when the capacity of solar energy production totals more than twenty-five kilowatts. This would have created a much needed check and balance in the governmental approval process and would have required the Hawai`i County Planning Commission’s review and approval of certain uses within agricultural and rural districts. More importantly, review and authority at the county level would afford an impacted community its right to participate and to have their voices heard.”
      Jeff Barger, interim President of Ranchos Community Association, praised David’s letter.
      “Maile hit the nail on the head,” he said. “The developer broke FIT rules to get the lucrative permits and is only building this boondoggle project to qualify for Federal and State tax credits. We all need to write to the PUC and let them know we are wise to all this. This docket is the closest we have come to due process.”
      Six hundred thirty residents have signed a petition against the project, and scores have written to the PUC docket that was opened to consider HELCO’s application. To date, 65 documents have been filed, the vast majority from writers opposed to the project.
      In May, public comment protesting HELCO’s application were received from Ka`u Scenic Byway Committee, Steve Smith, Bob Werner, Tomislav Gracanin and Veda Hackell, Tim and Linda Shutt, Daine Ware, Sandra Mayville, James Cohn, Ray and Linda Raquinio, Sammi Fo, Ron Riggs, Bob South, Susan Moss, Phil and May Flanders, Barbara Winch, Michelle Wall-O’Connor, Larry & Sandra Shelton, Jay Hibbard, Peter and Ann Bosted, Bobbi Wood, Jeffrey Barger, Cynthia Cohn and Vernon Harvey. No public comment in favor of the project was filed during the month.
      Ka`u residents and others wanting to voice opinions can email puc.comments@hawaii.gov with docket number 2015-0229 on the subject line. Comments can also be mailed to the PUC at 465 S. King Street, 1st Floor, Honolulu, HI 96813. All comments should be addressed to “Dear Chair Randy Iwase and Commissioners Lorraine Akiba and Michael Champley.”
      To view public comments and contents of docket 2015-0229, see puc.hawaii.gov.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Nene blend in with their environment and are difficult to see
alongside roads. NPS Photo by Kathleen Misajon
THE NENE CLASS OF 2016 is taking flight. Nene have begun to reappear in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park after being less visible since fall and winter, when they hunker down to nest, raise goslings and grow a new set of flight feathers (molt). 
      Nene have started to flock, and younger nene are taking their first flights. Drivers are reminded to slow down and watch out for the native geese on roadways in and out of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.
      An unknown motorist killed two fledglings last Saturday on Crater Rim Drive between Kīlauea Overlook and Jaggar Museum. A park ranger discovered the young birds, which were around six months old.
      “Young fledglings test out their wings and explore new territories this time of year,” said Wildlife Biologist Kathleen Misajon, Manager of the park’s Nene Recovery Program. “The park uses nene crossing signs to alert motorists to key areas, however, until the young birds learn the ropes from their parents, the areas they choose to land can be unpredictable. It’s so important to be extra vigilant when driving so these kinds of accidents don’t happen.”
      Nene, the largest native land animal in Hawai`i, are present in the park and other locations on Hawai`i Island year-round. They blend in with their surroundings and can be difficult for drivers to spot. They are federally listed as endangered.
      Nene crossing signs posted throughout the park call attention to roadside areas frequented by nene. These include Crater Rim Drive, Chain of Craters Road and sections of Hwy 11. Motorists are urged to use extra caution in signed nene crossing areas and to obey posted speed limits.
      By 1952, only 30 birds remained statewide. Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park began efforts to recover the species in the 1970s. The Nene Recovery Program continues today, and more than 250 birds thrive in the park from sea level to around 8,000 feet. More than 2,500 exist statewide.
      Wild nene, the world’s rarest goose, are only found in Hawai`i and are the last survivors of several other endemic geese. Their strong feet sport padded toes and reduced webbing, an adaptation that allows them to traverse rough terrain like lava plains. Most nene fly between nighttime roosts and daytime feeding grounds.
Military personnel arrive tomorrow to prepare
for next week's Tropic Care
      To report nene on the road in the park, call 985-6170. Outside the park, call 974-4221.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

MILITARY SECURITY ARRIVES at Ocean View Community Center tomorrow in advance of Tropic Care 2016, which begins on Tuesday, May 31. The security requires that all who enter the facility be authorized. 
      Tropic Care brings Army Reserve personnel to provide services including hearing screenings, eye exams, dental services, veterans services and more.
      Hours are Tuesday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 to 12 p.m. in Ocean View and also at Ka`u High School in Pahala.

DOLLARAMA ON SATURDAY from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center raises funds for a new roof at the facility. All items are $1 or less, including food and drinks. Donations are also being accepted tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
      Call 939-7033 for more information.


See kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.html
and kaucalendar.com/TheDirectory2016.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_May2016.pdf.

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