Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hawai`i Regional CEO of HHSC Dan Brinkman and board chair Kurt Corbin acknowledge retirees
Harry Yada and Gary Yoshiyama. See more below. Photos from HHSC
A BROAD COALITION OF ENVIRONMENTAL, consumer and business parties praised Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission’s rejection of the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric utilities and NextEra Energy. Groups cited NextEra’s unwillingness to transition to a clean energy utility of the future as a primary reason why they opposed the merger. Hawai`i is leading the national trend toward more clean energy investments, with the goal of getting to 100 percent renewable by 2045. “Instead of envisioning a 21st century grid that enables customer options like rooftop solar, NextEra wanted to double-down on its ‘build more, pay more’ monopoly business,” said Hajime Alabanza, Executive Assistant with Hawaii Solar Energy Association. “The Commission understood this isn’t the right direction for Hawai`i’s customers.”
Earthjustice attorney Isaac Moriwake
      “NextEra made this a no brainer,” said Isaac Moriwake, Staff Attorney with Earthjustice. “Outright rejection of the takeover was the only realistic option. NextEra refused to provide its plans for Hawai`i, other than to give us a ‘bigger HECO.’ Based on its opposition to clean energy in Florida and failure to chart a different path in this state, NextEra is not what Hawai`i wants or needs.”
      “Utility executives need to understand that innovative technologies like rooftop solar, just like cellphones before it, are the wave of the future,” said Robert Harris, spokesperson for the Alliance for Solar Choice. “Simply selling out for a golden parachute is not a viable option for HECO executives, nor is fighting against customers trying to do the right thing for their households and the planet. Utilities need to move toward a 21st century grid that empowers customers to save money and produce cleaner power.”
      “Hawai`i is committed to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Marti Townsend, Director of the Sierra Club of Hawai`i. “We need partners that will help advance our critical economic and environmental goals, and not businesses focused solely on their short-term gain.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANIES yesterday withdrew their applications for approval of a liquefied natural gas contract with Fortis Hawai`i Energy Inc. The decision follows termination of HECO’s proposed merger with NextEra Energy.
Sierra Club of Hawai`i director Marti Townsend

      A condition of the LNG contract was approval of the proposed merger with NextEra Energy. On Monday, NextEra Energy announced it would no longer pursue the merger after the application was dismissed by Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission.
      “We’re committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy in the most cost-effective way possible while ensuring reliable service,” said Ron Cox, Hawaiian Electric vice president of power supply. “We’ll continue to evaluate all options to modernize generation using a cleaner fuel to bring price stability and support adding renewable energy for our customers. 
      “Hawaiian Electric remains focused on the path it has continued to pursue throughout the merger process: to stabilize and reduce energy costs while becoming more innovative and taking advantage of new technologies to deliver greater customer value and choice.”
      “We are celebrating HECO’s decision to withdraw its proposal to import fracked gas to the Hawaiian Islands,” said Marti Townsend, director of Sierra Club of Hawai`i. “Importing fracked gas would not save consumers money, reduce environmental impacts or get Hawai`i closer to its 100 percent renewable energy goals. 
      “Overwhelming public opinion and PUC guidance all favor the self-reliance, savings and environmental benefits that come with locally produced, renewable energy. Importing fracked gas is a major distraction from achieving this future for all of us.
      “Gov. Ige gets this. He deserves praise for his early and consistent opposition to the distraction that was HECO’s LNG proposal.
      “The focus now should be on the specific steps we need to take to upgrade our electrical grid to ensure that everyone can enjoy the benefits of our 100 percent renewable energy future. We do not need a white knight to save us. We have everything we need right here to achieve our renewable dreams right now.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Rae Yamanaka
EAST HAWAI`I REGIONAL BOARD of Hawai`i Health Systems Corporation, which operates Ka`u Hospital, announced the retirement of two long-serving members. Gary Yoshiyama served for seven years in a variety of committee leadership positions, including a two-year term as Board Chair. “Gary brought to our Board a lifetime of experience and understanding of labor perspectives from his career as Division Chief of the Hawai`i Government Employees Association, Big Island,” said Kurt Corbin, current board chair.
      Also retiring is Harry Yada, who served as secretary/treasurer, among other committee  assignments, and who recently concluded his career at UH-Hilo, where he was director of Real Property. “Harry brought to us a broad expertise in facilities management of state-owned properties – absolutely critical given our sprawling campus and facilities across the East Hawai`i Region,” Corbin said. “The board and our community will sorely miss their contributions and the wisdom that they brought to the discussion on plans to ensure high quality, accessible healthcare for all residents.”
James "Kimo" Lee
      In anticipation of their transitions, the board has been engaged in identifying and recruiting the next generation of leaders. Recognizing the importance of organized labor constituents, the board announced the appointment of Rae Yamanaka, a retired teacher and educator, who has served the past eight years as the Hilo Director for Hawai`i State Teachers Association.
      “Effective relationships are integral to the success of any organization,” Yamanaka said. “I am committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholder groups to bring high quality healthcare and services to the Big Island community.”
      In recognition of the growing population and healthcare needs of the Puna District, the Board reached out to James “Kimo” Lee, Director of Development for W.H. Shipman. According to Corbin, “The Board and Administration have undertaken a strategic initiative to address the current and future needs for the district in addressing access to emergency services, primary care and other socio-economic issues related to healthcare. Kimo will help us better understand the demographics and planning aspects of that equation.”
Brenda Ho
      The board also welcomed back Brenda Ho, executive director of Hospice of Hilo. “Brenda served on our Board for the maximum of two three-year terms and was required by state statute to sit out for two years,” Corbin said. “We are enormously grateful for her return, for both the knowledge and expertise that she gained during her earlier service, and because she is a recognized leader in healthcare, not just in our community, but across the state.”
      “It was with great humbleness and honor that I had the opportunity to serve on the inaugural East Hawai`i Regional Board from 2007 to 2014,” Ho said. “To be given this opportunity again is even more profound and appreciated.”
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

DURING THE WEEK OF JULY 11 through July 17, Hawai`i Island police arrested 21 motorists for driving under the influence of an intoxicant. Five of the drivers were involved in traffic crashes. Three of the drivers were under the age of 21.
      So far this year, there have been 591 DUI arrests compared with 540 during the same period last year, an increase of 9.4 percent.
      There have been 778 major accidents so far this year compared with 829 during the same period last year, a decrease of 6.2 percent.
      So far this year, there have been 11 fatal crashes on Hawai`i Island (one of which had multiple deaths), resulting in 12 fatalities, compared with 10 fatal crashes (two of which had multiple deaths), resulting in 13 fatalities during the same period last year. This represents an increase of 10 percent for fatal crashes, and a decrease of 7.7 percent for fatalities.
      DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue islandwide.

Amy Shoremount-Obra
TICKETS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR Hawai`i International Music Festival. After opening its inaugural season at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Concert Hall in Honolulu, the special concert at Pahala Plantation House on Aug. 13 at 6 p.m. honors the 20th anniversary of Ka`u Coffee. The concert will help raise awareness for donations for Hawai`i Public Radio's efforts to bring a stronger and more reliable signal to this community and the entire state. 
      The concert features Amy Shoremount-Obra (soprano and daughter-in-law of Lorie Obra from Rusty’s Hawaiian), Eric Silberger (violin), Daniel Lelchuk (cello), Ian Parker (piano), and Mikayla Sager (soprano). Carlin Ma is artistic program director.
      Tickets, $25 each, may be purchased http://himusicfestival.bpt.me. To make a donation to HPR, contact Julia Neal at 928-9811 or mahalo@aloha.net.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

TOMORROW IS FAMILY READING NIGHT at Ocean View Community Center. Participants meet at 5 p.m.

Click on document to enlarge.
See kaucalendar.com/news/news.html.

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

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