Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u Calendar News Briefs Friday, July 22, 2016

Tropical Storm Darby is expected to make landfall on Hawai`i Island tomorrow morning. Ka`u is expected
to be affected by tropical storm wind and rain later today. Map from NOAA
SOUTH HAWAI`I ISLAND is under a tropical storm warning and flash flood and high surf watches issued by the National Weather Service as Darby approaches from the east-southeast. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours. In some areas of Hawai`i County, winds could be as high as 50 to 60 mph with gusts to 70 mph.
A tropical storm warning and flash flood and high surf watches
are in effect for South Hawai`i. Map from NOAA
      Central Pacific Hurricane Center reported that Darby’s track has shifted southward slightly, indicating landfall over Hawai`i Island. The storm’s center is expected to pass over Hawai`i Island tomorrow morning, but tropical storm conditions are forecast to arrive later today.
      Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion today. Residents are urged to complete storm preparations before nightfall.
      In a tropical cyclone, conditions can change quickly. Evacuate if directed to do so by local officials, or if homes are vulnerable to high winds or flooding. Persons living near the shore should be prepared to evacuate quickly should building surf threaten. Secure or bring indoors any loose outdoor objects that could become destructive projectiles in strong winds.
      Stay calm and keep informed. Closely monitor local news outlets for official storm information. Listen for warnings or changes to the forecast.
      Tropical storms can bring very heavy rain, leading to flash flooding. People near streams, rivers, and low-lying flood-prone areas are urged to be especially alert to flash flooding.
      As of 11 a.m., Tropical Storm Darby was 310 miles east of South Point and moving west at 12 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds are 60 miles per hour with higher gusts.
      For updates on Tropical Storm Darby, see http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/tc_graphics/latest_w.php?stormid=EP052016.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

Ka`u High School opens as a shelter at 4 p.m. today. Local families
stayed their when Iselle hit Ka`u in August 2014.
Photo by Ron Johnson
HAWAI`I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE reported that all camping and pavilion reservations at county and state parks are cancelled today through Sunday. County lava viewing and swimming pools close at 12 p.m. today. Beginning tomorrow, all state and county park facilities will be closed until further notice. 
      Civil Defense urges residents and visitors to shelter in place or with family and friends if possible and safe. Pet-friendly emergency shelters open today at 4 p.m. at Ka`u and Konawaena High Schools. Bring bedding, food, water and any personal items needed.
      For updates, see http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense/.
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TO KEEP VISITORS AND EMPLOYEES SAFE as Tropical Storm Darby approaches, officials will close all backcountry areas and certain roads in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park at 5 p.m. today.
Namakanipaio Campground is among areas of Hawai`i VolcanoesNational Park
closed in advance of Tropical StormDarby's impending arrival. Photo from NPS
      Park closures include Kulanaokuaiki Campground and Namakanipaio Cabins and Campgrounds, Kahuku Unit, Mauna Loa Road after Kipukapuaulu, Hilina Pali Road, Chain of Craters Road at Crater Rim Drive intersection, lava viewing area and Coastal Ranger Station, and the entire backcountry, including all coastal sites, Napau and Mauna Loa.
      Closures will remain in effect until Darby has passed and conditions are safe. Additional closures may be warranted as the storm gets closer and any damage is assessed. Volcano House and Kilauea Military Camp will remain open for registered guests.
      “Although we aren’t closing Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in its entirety, we strongly encourage visitors to consider changing their plans if they were planning to visit Friday afternoon or this weekend,” Chief Ranger John Broward said.

      Popular visitor areas at the summit of Kolauea will remain open, including Nahuku (Thurston Lava Tube), Kilauea Visitor Center and the Jaggar Museum and observation deck. Visitors can check nps.gov/havo for the latest information on openings or call 985-6000.
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Hawai`i Island Food Basket is preparing for Tropical Storm Darby.
Photo from Hawai`i Island Food Basket
HAWAI`I ISLAND FOOD BASKET is preparing for potential effects of Tropical Storm Darby. 
      The agency has prepared by safely storing needed items should mobilization become necessary.
      “Through the generosity of the community, we are well stocked with water and other necessities should the storm hit the Big Island full force,” Executive Director En Young said. “We learned many lessons from Tropical Storm Iselle, and The Food Basket staff and our partner agencies are much more knowledgeable and coordinated. While none of us can predict the effects of the storm, you can be assured that we are ready and able to assist in the event of an emergency in your area.”

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KA`U’S STATE SEN. JOSH GREEN FAVORS relocating the proposed massive solar project proposed in Ocean View. Green wrote a letter supporting the Consumer Advocate’s opposition to the project and suggesting that the project be relocated closer to Kona on “true agricultural land.”
      Green’s letter is one of 90 so far sent to the Public Utilities Commission objecting to Hawaiian Electric Light Co.’s application for the construction of an overhead transmission line that would serve the controversial project. Ocean View residents are objecting to the location of 27 solar sites among homes, as they fear it will industrialize their town.

Sen. Josh Green
      Consumer Advocate Jeffrey Ono recommended that the line be placed underground – an option that would make the project more expensive for the developer, SPI Solar, a corporation headquartered in Shanghai and registered in the Cayman Islands. Ono has made other mitigating recommendations – such as having the developer pay for maintenance of the line and substation for 20 years and their removal, together with removal of the solar installations.
      “I fully support the Consumer Advocate, Mr. Jeffrey Ono, and his position in this matter,” Green wrote. “Mr. Ono has shown a remarkable grasp of the situation and forethought. The developers’ choice to locate their industrial development among homes demonstrates that they care little for the town or its residents.
      “Yet, although Mr. Ono has recommended every measure in his power to mitigate the effects of the project, I encourage the commission to look behind the curtain and determine if the project itself is in the public interest. I support Mr. Ono, but would prefer to see the project cancelled.
      “There are many objections listed in other letters to the docket, which, I trust, the commission will take seriously.
      “I want to make it clear that while we support solar and energy plans, they need to fit the true spirit of our zoning intentions. I believe that the legislative intent was not for solar projects to be in residential areas.
      “May I earnestly and very respectfully request that the Commission revoke the FIT permits on the grounds that the permits were issued based on information that has since proved to be untrue. I refer to the fact that the project is not shovel ready, the developer did not have site control (both basic requirements), and they combined twenty-seven 250kw permits to create a 6.75-megawatt project to circumvent the limits for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Further, they have made no attempt to bring the project on line quickly, which was a basic goal of the FIT program.

A proposed solar project in Ocean View would require a new
substation, as depicted here. Image from HELCO
      “If, however, the commission is unable or unwilling to cancel the FIT permits and end the project, may I respectfully suggest a compromise solution? May I suggest that SPI Solar be allowed to relocate the 16 permits that were issued for housing lots in the Ranchos subdivision onto true agricultural land, closer to the “load?” No doubt HELCO will object that this is against the FIT rules. However, when one considers that HELCO’s enforcement of the rules has resulted in a town being threatened, project completion dates ignored, permits issued based on false information being sold for a profit, PPA rules circumvented, and an unwanted project with no public benefit, perhaps the rules should be managed differently going forward.
      “If this avenue were explored, I think you would find favor in many quarters. I understand that the SPI Solar has concerns about working in a hostile environment and that the spokesman, Mr. Ian Craig, has been the subject of verbal threats at a town meeting. If offered a chance to relocate, he would likely jump at it in order to avoid threats of sabotage. SPI Solar could sell the land and recover those costs. I also understand that the Independent Observer, Mr. Harry Judd, has no objection to some of the permits being relocated. Certainly my constituents in the Ranchos subdivision of Ocean View, the primary victims of the ill-considered project, would favor relocation, as would other residents of Ka`u.”
      Ka`u residents continue to email letters of objection to the PUC. In July, 17 thumbs-down letters were sent by Janeen Marie, Ed NeSmith and Victoria Elford, Peter and Ann Bosted, Tim and Linda Schutt, Paul Montague, Anna Towner, Greg Guithues, Loren Heck, Dan Snyder, Rosemarie and John O’Connor, Bob and Sue Werner, Janice Hazen, Jim and Tammie Ewers, Kerstin Mueller, Sandra Shelton, Stanley and Kassy Kemp, and Verna & Frank Loosli.
      Public comment can be emailed to puc.comments@hawaii.gov with docket number, 2015-0229 in the subject line.
      To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter.


See kaucalendar.com/news/news.html.

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

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