Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016

Ka`u High quarterback Jacob Flores, No. 25, scores the last touchdown to win the islandwide
Eight-Man Football Championship. Photo by Pam Taylor
Jacob Flores, left. and John Kalahiki, both seniors,
celebrate a touchdown in the end zone.
Photo by Pam Taylor
KA`U TROJANS WON THE EIGHT-MAN FOOTBALL ISLAND CHAMPIONSHIP yesterday at home in Pahala under coaches Kainoa Ke and Greg Rush.
     To topple last year's champion Kohala Cowboys on the Ka`u High football field, the Trojans came back from a two point deficit to win 36 to 26.
     It was Senior Night for the team's six graduating Trojans who celebrated with a ceremony of appreciation on the field, receiving lei, balloons and applause. They displayed large photographs and posters, remembering their historic participation on the inaugural eight-man team that keeps high school football alive in Ka`u.
     During the game, however, underclassmen contributed much to winning play. With quarterback Jacob Flores benched the first half for missing classes, junior Brandon Ecalas ran the ball 110 yards in 19 plays from scrimmage, scoring two touchdowns. Back on the field in the second half, Flores ran for two touchdowns and threw for another. At game's end, Ka`u posted 330 yards in rushing, three two-point conversions and had blocked two of Kohala's attempted extra points.

Ka`u Trojans win their second Eight-Man Football title in three years. Photo by Pam Taylor
Six Trojans seniors celebrated Senior Night on the field and won the island
championship title. They are:  Jamal Buyuan, Daniel Garo, Kainalu
Medeiros-Dancel, John Kalahikiand Jacob Flores. Photo by Pam Taylor
     The win marks Ka`u earning two out of three island titles since eight-man was launched. Trojans and their athletic director Kalei Namohala were the impetus in establishing the fast running, high scoring, low injuries version of high school football in Big Island Interscholastic Federation competition.
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THE PROPOSED HAWAIIAN SPRINGS WATER BOTTLING PLANT, planned for the old sugar mill site on Maile Street in Pahala, is drawing questions to the county from Sierra Club Moku Loa Group. The Hawai`i Island chapter wrote to county planner Larry Nakayama, asking  how “will you address our concerns about the proposed Pahala Town Square & Hawaiian Springs Facility?” Planning director Duane Kanuha gave permission for the project plan in early October, with conditions of approvals and reviews by various government agencies.
     Cory Harden of Sierra Club wrote that the “operation would extract a public trust resource and ship it out-of-state, contribute to the worldwide privatization of water, use fossil fuel, and generate harmful waste. It is unclear how it would benefit the local community.” Her  letter, copied to Albert Kam, the bottling plant project manager for Pahala, asserted that “It appears the facility has the burden to justify its water use and show the water source will not be compromised.”
     Sierra Club pointed to its legal arm, Earthjustice, referencing a 2014 Hawai`i Supreme Court decision in a Kaua`i Springs versus Kaua`i Planning Commission case. The decision, which upheld rejection of the bottling plant permit,  "strongly reinforced principles that water is a public trust, and that private companies profiting off these resources bear the burden of justifying their diversions and showing the resources will not be unduly compromised...." The Sierra Club quoted the Hawai`i Supreme Court: “No person or entity has automatic vested rights to water."
     Regarding the Hawai`i County Planning Department’s obligation to protect Hawai`i’s natural resources, Sierra Club further quoted the state Supreme Court decision: "Private commercial users of water bear the burden of affirmatively justifying their uses…lack of information from the applicant is exactly the reason an agency is empowered to deny a proposed use of a public trust resource.”
     Sierra Club wrote to the Hawai`i County planner: “This burden includes showing the use is reasonable and beneficial and consistent with trust purposes, has no practicable alternative water source, and implements mitigation of the cumulative impact of diversions." Government agencies have “duties under the public trust independent of the permit requirements,” including a duty to hold private commercial users to their burden under the public trust, Sierra Club wrote.
Pahala Town Center & Hawaiian Springs Facility, a water bottling
plant planned for the old industrial sugar mill site.
     In addition to asserting that the  Hawaiian Springs water bottling facility would contribute to the “worldwide privatization of water,”  Sierra Club stated: “The rich can afford to live where there is clean municipal water, but the poor must buy bottled water or travel to spigots—a scenario found not only in third world countries, but also in Hawai'i Island communities with catchment water.”
     Sierra Club also brought up plastics:    “Single-use plastic water bottles have significant environmental impacts.” Sierra Club pointed to National Geographic statistics for the U.S.: “In 2015, we bought the equivalent of 1.7 billion half-liter bottles of water every week...A typical family of four is going through one of those shrink-wrapped 24-packs of bottled water each week." Sierra Club referenced The Huffington Post reporting for the U.S.: “It takes three bottlefuls of water to produce one finished bottle of water. Most of the waste water from production is contaminated and cannot be reused.” Bottling water also takes energy. “Fifty million barrels of oil a year--enough to run three million cars for a year--are used to pump, process, transport and refrigerate our bottled water."
      Sierra Club pointed out that "80 percent of water bottles—38 billion a year—end up in landfills, not recycle bins, costing taxpayers money. Often caps can't be recycled. The PET (polyethylene terephthalate) from bottles doesn't biodegrade, but breaks down into tiny fragments. These absorb pollutants, which can contaminate water and the food chain," stated the Sierra Club.
Cory Harden wrote the Sierra Club's letter to the county, questioning
the water bottling plant planned for Pahala.
Photo from Big Island Video News
     The environmental organization also pointed to potential health risks, quoting Worldwatch Institute, which reported: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water at the federal level, permits the product to contain certain levels of fecal matter, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency does not allow any human waste in city tap water. Bottled water violations are not always reported to the public, and in most cases the products may be recalled up to 15 months after the problematic water was produced, distributed, and sold."
     “Plastic can leach into the water, and bacteria can grow in the porous plastic if the bottle is reused,” stated the letter to the Planning Department. The letter also pointed out that “Concerns over bottled water have led to bans by six cities, 22 national parks, and over a dozen colleges and universities.
      Sierra Club stated that local benefits from the proposed water bottling facility are unclear. “Hawaiian Springs owner Albert Kam said, ‘We're here to provide jobs...’ but declined to estimate how many." Sierra Club reported that in 2014, Hawaiian Springs was shipping water out of Hawai'i to over 4,000 stores in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Canada, and Asia. It has a water bottling facility in Kea`au.
     Hawaiian Springs water bottled in Pahala could come from a tunnel on the property that leads to an old sugar plantation source, 750 feet underground near the old sugar mill site.
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"Now I'm pushing 80 and still wearing jeans," sings
Foggy at Punalu`u Bake Shop with a visitor who
 asked for a photo with him.
MAILE DAVID RESPONDED TO WATER BOTTLING PLANT QUESTIONS from the Sierra Club. In a letter to Cory Harden of the Big Island chapter, David, Ka`u's representative on the County Council, stated that before he gave his plan approval she informed county planning director Duane Kanuha of "serious concerns regarding impacts to this very significant cultural and public trust resource."
     David noted that the planning director is requiring reviews and approvals by state agencies, including Department of Health, Water Quality and Department of Land & Natural Resources before allowing the project to move forward. She wrote that an opportunity for public input may be available at the state level. "I share the club's concerns and I plan to schedule a community meeting in Pahala," David wrote, stating that "public input would be critical."
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FOGGY, THE SINGER and guitar player at Punalu`u Bakeshop in Na`alehu, quoted a Waylon Jennings' recording last week, appreciating the opportunity to entertain visitors and residents. From the song Amanda, he sang, "It's a measure of people who don't understand, the pleasures of life in a hillbilly band." Changing the Waylon Jennings song to reflect his own life here in Ka`u, Foggy continued, "I got my first guitar when I was 15. Now I'm pushing 80 and still wearing jeans."   
      Foggy, also known as Gary Cole, said, "This young lady approached me at the bakery yesterday and asked me if she could have her photo taken with me. What was I supposed to say? Playing at the bakery is better than going to the beach."
     Punalu`u  Bake Shop features live, local music from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in an outdoor setting in front of an original mural about Ka`u by artist and former Punalu`u Bake Shop manager Patrick Edie.
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LATE VOTER REGISTRATION AND EARLY VOTING continues tomorrow, Monday, at Pahala Community Center, the only Ka`u polling place before General Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8.  Hours are Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Citizens can also register late and vote early at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo, Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; West Hawai`i Civic Center Community Room, Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Waimea Community Center, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.
     On Tuesday, Nov. 8, voting will take place at Cooper Center in Volcano, Ka`u High & Pahala Elementary School Cafeteria, Na`alehu Elementary School Cafeteria, Ocean View Community Center and Miloli`i Halau, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. See the sample ballots published in this Ka`u News Brief.
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