Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017

Jay Ignacio, President of HELCO presented the power grid upgrade plan to the public in Hilo and Kona
this week. Public comments are being accepted through Aug. 9. Read the plan
on the HELCO website.  Photo from Big Island Video News
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT CO.'S plans to upgrade the power grid on the Big Island are being accepted until Wednesday, Aug. 9.
     HELCO held meetings Monday and Tuesday evenings in Hilo and Kona. See the Hilo meeting on Big Island Video News in which HELCO President Jay Igacio  talks about the 11,000 to 12,000 customers who are generating their own energy and his prediction that this number will soon double. He said by 2045, HELCO should reach 100 percent renewable energy and, in the meantime, needs to install a modern grid.
     According to Big Island Video News: Attendees at the Waiakea High School cafeteria were presented an overview of the draft plan to modernize Hawai‘i Island’s power grid, and provided input during a open house / question and answer session with utility officials.
Components of a modernized grid to serve renewable energy.
Image from HELCO.
     “Hawai‘i Electric Light has been effectively integrating renewable energy on our isolated island grid for many years, using innovative solutions to safely bring on more renewables while maintaining grid stability and reliable service,” said Ignacio in a media release before the event. “Since 2009, we’ve increased our renewable percentage from 30 to more than 54 percent, the highest in the state. To make the jump to 100 percent, we need to make the grid even better, stronger and smarter.”
     The utility filed the draft Grid Modernization Strategy with the Public Utilities Commission in June. The plan describes the scope and estimated $205 million cost to update the energy networks of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaiʻi Electric Light over the next six years.
     HELCO says the plan aims to help bring on more renewable resources like private rooftop solar, increase reliability, and give customers new choices to control their energy use.
     According to the utility, highlights of this near-term work include:
A tiered Utility Communication Network Structure,
proposed by HELCO. Image from HELCO
     Distribution of smart meters strategically rather than system-wide, i.e., to customers with private rooftop solar on saturated circuits; and customers interested in demand response programs, variable rates or who seek usage data;
     Reliance on advanced inverter technology to enable greater rooftop solar adoption;
     Expanded use of voltage management tools, especially on circuits with heavy solar penetration to maximize circuit capacities for private rooftop solar and other customer resources;
     Expanded use of sensors and automated controls at substations and neighborhood circuits;
     Enhanced outage management and notification technology.
     The draft plan and related documents are available on the HELCO website. Public comments on the plan can be submitted to gridmod@hawaiianelectric.com until Aug. 9. See more at www.bigislandvideonews.com

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PREVENTION OF RAT LUNGWORM DISEASE BECAME HIGHER PRIORITY on Wednesday when Gov. David Ige, the state Department of Health and state Department of Agriculture announced plans to place a stronger emphasis on prevention. This year, the state confirmed 15 cases of this serious parasitic infection, angistrongyliasis, the highest number in the last decade.
    According to the state Department of Health, "You can get angiostrongyliasis by eating food contaminated by the larval stage of A. cantonensis worms. In Hawai`i, these larval worms can be found in raw or undercooked snails or slugs. Sometimes people can become infected by eating raw produce that contains a small infected snail or slug, or part of one." It is unknown whether slime left by infected snails and slugs can cause the rat lungworm infection. Angiostrongyliasis is not spread person-to-person.
Life cycle of rat lungworm disease, transmitted by ingesting a tiny snail or slug or part of snail or slug,
usually in uncooked vegetables.
      The governor said that his administration is “bringing together local experts from relevant fields to increase public awareness, improve our response activities, and explore ways to control and treat the disease. They will work together with the Joint Task Force we established last year to step up prevention efforts beyond Hawai‘i Island, where the first cases were reported.”
     The state Department of Health will work in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of Hawai‘i, sate Department of Agriculture and other agencies to conduct a targeted rat, slug and snail study to identify disease routes and provide data on disease risks from these vectors. A statewide study of this kind has never been conducted in Hawai`i because of limited resources. Findings from the study will guide vector control activities for rat lungworm prevention.
    Funding from the Legislature will also support two temporary full-time staff positions to coordinate prevention efforts between county, state, federal, and private sector partners.
   The state Department of Health food safety inspectors and vector control staff are collaborating with the state Department of Agriculture to investigate any reports of produce shipments from any farmer or vendor (local or mainland) with an infestation of slugs or snails. If the shipment is traced to a local farm, inspectors work with the farmer to ensure proper pest reduction measures are implemented.
     Dr. Kenton Kramer, Associate Professor of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology with the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine, serves as Joint Task Force chair.  He said the Task Force will reconvene in August. "Experts from the medical, scientific, environmental, and public health communities will collaborate to develop guidelines for schools, farms, food establishments, physicians and other groups on best practices to prevent, control, and treat rat lungworm disease.”
An African slug commonly found on the Big Island that can carry
rat lungworm disease. Photo by Julia Neal
     The Joint Task Force, established in May 2016, consists of members from UH-JABSOM, Pacific Biosciences Research Center; The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at UH Hilo; HDOA’s Plant Industry and Quality Assurance Divisions; USDA Agriculture Research Service; Kaiser Permanente Hawai`i; Hilo Medical Center; Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children; Hawaii County; and the DOH’s State Laboratories Division, District Health Offices of Hawai`i Island, Maui, and Kaua‘i, Vector Control Branch, Safe Drinking Water Branch, Disease Outbreak Control Division, and Sanitation Branch.
     "Because of rising concerns over the recent increase in confirmed cases this year, the 2017 Hawai‘i State Legislature appropriated $1 million to increase public education and improve control and prevention of rat lungworm disease. The funding will make possible a statewide media campaign in partnership with the Hawai‘i Association of Broadcasters to build public awareness of ways to prevent the spread of the parasitic disease," said a statement from the governor's office.

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Pick up the August edition of The Ka`u Calendar delivered
free to 5,500 mailboxes throughout Ka`u, from Miloli`i
through Volcano. Also available on stands throughout
the district. See it online at www.kaucalendar.com
A NEW PROPOSAL TO FURTHER RESTRICT IMMIGRATION drew response Wednesday from Sen. Mazie Hirono, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the only immigrant serving in the U.S. Senate. She released the following statement on the Trump-Cotton-Perdue immigration proposal:
      “It is shortsighted to think that America became the great nation it is by only letting certain kinds of people into our country. Yet, this is exactly what the Trump-Cotton-Perdue proposal does. Instead of doubling down on the bigotry and irrational fear of immigrants he promoted during the campaign, the President should work with members of both parties to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
      The bill, introduced by Tom Cotton, of Arkansas, and David Perdue, of Georgia, aims at reducing immigration by 50 percent and making it merit based. It would reduce the number of refugees and family members allowed to immigrate to the U.S. Permission to immigrate would involve evaluation of education, income, ability to speak English, and whether the immigrant could afford health care.

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Realms and Divisions of Kahuku, Sat, Aug 5, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. This moderately difficult two-mile, guided hike on Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku, explores the traditional Hawaiian classification system. Bring a snack for the talk story segment of this hike.

Ecstatic Dance, Sat, Aug 5, 2 – 4 p.m., Volcano Art Center. With Jo Caron. $20. 967-8222

Ham Radio Operators Potluck Picnic, Sun, Aug 6, Manukā Park. All American Radio Emergency Service members, anyone interested in learning how to operate a ham radio and families are invited to attend. Dennis Smith, 989-3028

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