Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017

HELCo has spent more than $14 million to remove and trim trees to prevent them from falling,
as they did on Wood Valley Road in 2014 during Iselle. Photo by Royden Okinishi
HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT CO., today, announced a rate increase, following the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission issuing an interim decision approving HELCO's first base-rate increase in more than six years. 
     According to HELCO, the approved interim rate will increase the typical Hawai‘i Island monthly residential bill for 500 kilowatt hours by $4.98. Over the last 12 months, the average monthly residential bill has been $162.58. The 3.4 percent increase – $9.9 million in annual revenue – will help pay for capital improvements including grid upgrades and extensive vegetation management work that is credited with reducing outages and their duration during storms, says HELCO in a statement to the public. "Since 2014, Hawai‘i Electric Light has spent more than $14 million on tree trimming and removal, concentrating on areas where non-native albizia trees threaten utility equipment and highways."
A rate increase says HELCO will help the
company to manage vegetation and make
other upgrades to avoid power outages, like
this one during Iselle in 2014 in Wood
Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
    HELCO reports that "Today’s interim decision is consistent with a settlement reached last month between Hawaiʻi Electric Light and the Hawai‘i Division of Consumer Advocacy. The settlement reduced by nearly half the original request for a 6.5 percent increase in revenue." 
     The effective date of the new rate will be determined by the PUC.
     An interim decision is one step in the ratemaking process. The PUC will continue to review the request and will later issue a final decision. If a lower final amount is approved, the difference will be refunded to customers with interest. If a higher amount is approved, the increase will only be applied going forward from the time it is approved, not retroactively. 
    "Hawai‘i Electric Light leads the state in the use of renewable resources to generate electricity, relying on a diverse portfolio of wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower," states the utility company. "Since 2010, the company has increased the use of renewables from 35 percent to 57 percent as of June 2017." 
     HELCO notes several programs available that provide financial assistance for those who are in need, including the Hawai‘i Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP), Ohana Energy Gift Program, and the Special Medical Needs Program. The Time-of-Use program, which offers lower rates during the daytime hours, can help save money for those who are flexible on when they use energy. See www.hawaiielectriclight.com for more information.

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TEN KEN WICKS KA`U CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SCHOLARSHIP recipients have been named for 2017. Tiani Castaneda-Naboa wrote the winning essay, answering the question, How Will Your Education Benefit the District of Ka`u?
Ka`u Chamber Logo by Tanya Ibarra
      The scholars with their majors, Ka`u home towns, and campuses are: Lexis L. Andrade, a Wai`ohinu resident and architecture student at Walla Walla College in Washington, who transferred to California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo; Tiani L. Castaneda-Naboa, of Na`alehu, a UH Hilo marine biology major; Ty Alfred De Sa, of Pahala, a Hawai`i Community College nursing student; Sheilla Mae Felipe, of Na'alehu, a UH Hilo nursing student; Leaokalani Hashimoto, of Wai`ohinu, a UH Hilo education major; Kaweni Christopher Ibarra, of Pahala, a Santa Clara University electronic engineering major; Kamrie Koi, of Pahala, a UH Hilo political science and administration of justice and pre-law major; Rochelle Koi, of Na`alehu, a UH Hilo English and history major; Tiare-Lee Shibuya, of Na`alehu, an HCC and UH Hilo student in nursing and nursing administration; and Jennifer Flores Tabios, of Na`alehu, a St. Johns University New York City major in biology.
     All of this year’s recipients are continuing college and are previous recipients of the annual Ken Wicks Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Scholarship, named after the late Ken Wicks, a longtime educator, who served as President of the Chamber.
     The 2018 scholarship deadline is June 1, 2018. The Chamber encourages Ka`u youth and adult students to apply. Preference is to those who intend to remain in or return to Ka`u after completing higher education. Scholarship money can be used for all college and vocational training and ranges from $250 to $1,000 per year. Students who remain in school, in good standing, are eligible to receive the scholarship annually. For an application, see www.kauchamber.org. Call Lee McIntosh at 929-9872 with questions.

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MUMPS AT NA`ALEHU SCHOOL was reported by West Hawai`i Today on Tuesday. The Nancy Cook Lauer Story said that "A letter went out Aug. 15 notifying parents and staff to take extra precautions following the confirmation that an individual at Na`alehu Elementary School had mumps."
     The story reported that "Staff and teachers were told not to come in if they had been within three feet of the unnamed student. The student wasn't named in the letter because of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requirements," wrote Cook Lauer, after receiving the information from Principal Darlene Javar. The story referred to Department of Education officials saying that only one new case is known on the island. See tips on preventing the spread of mumps in the Ka`u News Briefs, Thursday, Aug. 17.

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Photo from nps.gov/havo
MAKE THE HAWAIIAN GAME, PALA‘IE, Wednesday, August 23, from 10 am to noon on the Kilauea Visitor Center lanai in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Create your own traditional Hawaiian game using natural materials. Pala’ie, a ball-and-loop game rarely encountered in modern Hawai’i, is sometimes played by keiki while chanting ancient songs. The event is free, though park entrance fees apply.

REGISTER KEIKI, grades K-8, until August 29, to make a beaded key chain on Wednesday, August 30, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Call 928-3102 for more.

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park posted this image to Facebook on Monday
with the caption "Teri Turner Votaw writes, 'My 17 year old son, Jared Votaw,
took this great photo of the crater and Milky Way when we were visiting last
month.' Thanks :)"
CELEBRATE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE’S 101ST ANNIVERSARY on Friday, August 25, and enter Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park fee-free.

TALK STORY AT THE KAHUKU UNIT of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on Friday, August 25, for Coffee Talk from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. and join the informational conversation on a wide variety of topics. Ka’u coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Free entry.

OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORP. meets Friday, August 25, at 5 p.m. at the Hawaiian Ranchos office.

START VIEWING LIVE LONG AND PROSPER MIGHTY ‘OHI’A, daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, August 26, through October 8, at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park with paintings and illustrations by John D. Dawson. The artworks focus on the highly variable display of ‘ohi’a lehua trees found within the park. Gallery viewings are free, though park entrance fees apply.

DISCOVER HAWAIIAN GODDESSES HI’IAKA & PELE and the natural phenomenon they represent on a guided, moderate, one-mile hike through the Kahuku Unit of Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Saturday, August 26, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Free. Visit ups.gov/havo for more.

FEARLESS ABSTRACT PAINTING, a class in which Samantha DeSilva will share her unique method of painting, takes place Saturday, August 26, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Volcano Art Center. $90 plus $15 supply fee per person. Call 967-8222 for more.

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

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