Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs May 14, 2013

The Public Utilities Commission has received responses from the state Consumer Advocate to questions posed by Life
of the Land regarding the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel to HELCO that would be refined above
Pahala from feedstock grown in Ka`u. Photo by Julia Neal
A GROUP OF OPPONENTS to the Thirty Meter Telescope has filed an appeal regarding last month’s approval of a land use permit by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. University of Hawai`i – Hilo “has admitted that the TMT will have adverse, significant and substantial impact on the natural and cultural resources,” Kealoha Pisciotta told Colin M. Stewart, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald. “The rules are clear in that regard. A project may not have that impact. They should have been denied the permit. That’s why we need to seek justice in the court.”
      Pisciotta is spokesperson for appellants including Kahea: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, the Flores-Case Ohana, Deborah J. Ward, and Paul K. Neves.
      According to the story, Sandra Dawson, TMT Manager of Hawai`i Community Affairs, said that she didn’t see any grounds for an appeal “that opponents might use to slow or halt the project.”
      See more at hawaiitribune-herald.com.

THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has received responses to questions posed by Life of the Land to the state Consumer Advocate regarding the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to sell biofuel refined above Pahala from biomass grown in Ka`u to Hawai`i Electric Light Co. 
      “The land slated to be used for biofuel production is former sugar cane land that is currently not being used for food or ranching,” said the Consumer Advocate in response to Life of the Land’s questions: “How many existing leases exist for land owned by the Edmund Olson Trust that is slated for biofuel production. How many of these leases are currently in (a) food production? (b) ranching? (c) other diversified agricultural production?”
      Life of the Land also asked how many of the lessees the Consumer Advocate talked with and to document the date and contact person for each discussion. The Consumer Advocate replied that he did not have any discussions with lessees.
Hawai`i state Consumer Advocate
Jeffrey Ono
      Life of the Land asked the Consumer Advocate about Hawaiian Electric Co. and HELCO saying that “both AKP-1 and AKP-2 are reasonable and in the public interest even though there is a $100M differential in the pricing. ‘Does the Consumer Advocate believe that two widely different ratepayer impact proposals could both be reasonable and in the public interest?’” 
      “The Consumer Advocate contends that the different proposals could be found reasonable,” was the response.
      “Does the Consumer Advocate believe that HECO/HELCO conducted adequate due diligence?” Life of the Land asked.
      The Consumer Advocate replied, “Given the nature of the contract terms and conditions, such as where HECO/HELCO would not be burdened with purchasing fuel that did not meet specifications or was not produced, the level of due diligence appears adequate.”
      Life of the Land asked, “Does the Consumer Advocate believe that AKP management and owners have strong biofuel experience? Please document your response.”
      “The Consumer Advocate believes that AKP management and owners are relying upon resources that should allow the project, if approved, to achieve success. AKP is relying upon the expertise of AECOM. AECOM reported to the Consumer Advocate that its pilot project has been successful. AKP intends to build a mobile unit that will be able to demonstrate that this technology is viable.”
      This and other testimony is available at puc.hawaii.gov.

REINSTATING COUNTY COUNCIL’S discretionary funds is part of the proposed $4.3 million budget for the Council during the upcoming fiscal year. The budget proposes to provide $100,000 to each of the nine Council members that could be used for unbudgeted projects in their districts. Such funds were eliminated from the Council budget four years ago.

PROPOSED PROPERTY TAX INCREASES are the subject of a public meeting today at 5 p.m. The meeting takes place at Hilo Council chambers, with videoconferencing available at Ocean View Community Center. Mayor Billy Kenoi proposes raising property taxes by 10 percent.
Ka`u residents can offer testimony at tonight's meeting on proposed
property tax increases and at tomorrow's County Council meeting
from Ocean View Community Center.
      The mayor’s revised $394.3 million budget is a 7.9 percent increase over this year’s budget. The budget allows for the ending of county worker furloughs that led to backlogs in processing permits for the public and put many county projects on hold. 
      Ka`u Council member Brenda Ford has expressed opposition to the tax increase. “There are some tax increases I could support,” Ford said. “A property tax increase is not one of them,’” according to an article by Nancy Cook Lauer. See more at www.hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      The Council is scheduled to vote on the budget at a special meeting on May 30.

KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO PARTICIPATE in tomorrow’s County Council meeting from Ocean View Community Center’s remote videoconferencing site, which Hawai`i County Council is considering closing down due to lack of use. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Council chambers in Hilo.
      Agenda is available at hawaiicounty.gov.

DR. JADELYN MONIZ-NAKAMURA DISCUSSES fossilized human footprints in the Ka`u Desert at this evening’s After Dark in the Park program. Research suggests the story behind the footprints may be more complex than originally thought. The footprints found in ash layers were believed to have been created in 1790 by the army of the Hawaiian Chief Keoua on their way back from battle. While in the area, Kilauea erupted, sending suffocating ash down on one group. Others made it out alive, leaving their footprints in the then-wet ash. The ash dried, forever memorializing this event – or did it?
      The program begins at 7 p.m. 
at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. $2 donations support park programs.

HAWA`I ISLAND NETWORK OF ARTISTS holds a wrap-up meeting tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village. This is a final opportunity to learn about VAC’s HINA Project and be included in this research study. The project aims to encourage and support a greater awareness of Hawai`i Island artists and the economic impact of this creative workforce. See more at www.HINArtists.org.

Members of Hula Halau Ke `Olu Makani O Mauna Loa
AN EVENING OF HULA AND MUSIC with Hula Halau Ke `Olu Makani O Mauna Loa takes place tomorrow from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The halau has participated in many competitions, festivals and other events throughout the state of Hawai`i, the U.S. mainland as well as Japan. Its goal is to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture, protocol and history through song and dance, and instill confidence, respect and responsibility in the dancers. Free; park entrance fees apply.

THE NEXT KA`U AGRICULTURAL WATER COOPERATIVE DISTRICT meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. at Royal Hawaiian Orchards Field Office. The organization is restoring agricultural water from the old plantation system. Meetings are open to the public. For more information, call Jeff McCall at 928-6456.

HAWAI`I COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT will hold a community meeting in Ka`u a week from today on Tuesday, May 21 from noon to 2 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center.
      The purpose of the meeting is to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s command staff and to discuss concerns with the police chief and commanders who oversee police operations in Ka`u.
      The Ka`u event continues the district community meetings, which are rotated throughout the eight police districts on the Big Island. To aid police commanders in focusing on specific concerns, it is requested that participation be limited to persons who live or work in the Ka`u District.
      Those interested in participating but unable to attend may call Captain Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail their concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.



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