Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

Christmas decorations light up Kilauea Military Camp's front row of cottages throughout the month, with Ka`u residents invited to vote for their favorite. Photo by Dave Berry
HEAVY COMPETITION FOR BIOFUEL RESOURCES on the island moved one step closer to reality as the state Public Utilities yesterday approved Hawai`i Electric Light Co.’s contract with a company that plans to produce up to 10 percent of the island’s power requirements. Hu Honua Bioenergy plans to burn biomass trucked in from around the island to its oceanfront Pepeekeo plant, following completion of the renovation of the old sugar mill. The PUC filed its approval yesterday afternoon, permitting a 20-year purchase power agreement.
      Unlike the `Aina Koa Pono proposal for Ka`u, which would use some 11,000 acres between Pahala and Na`alehu, displacing ranchers to grow biofuel crops, Hu Honua plans to purchase farmed eucalyptus and other biomass from diverse sources. Also unlike the `Aina Koa Pono plan, Hu Honua will generate electricity directly to HELCO power lines. `Aina Koa Pono would make the biomass into pellets and process them in 27 microwave processors, each the size of a shipping container, and send the resulting gas up a cooling stack to make biodiesel. The refinery would be on the edge of Wood Valley, and the biofuel would be trucked the two-hour trip along Hwy 11 to HELCO’s power plant near Kona Airport. 
     See testimony from all sides of the `Aina Koa issue by searching this blog and reading the PUC docket at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-1085.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

`AINA KOA PONO MADE ANOTHER PUSH this week with a statement by its consultant AECOM that it has again announced that AKP’s microwave depolymerization process is “optimal for renewable liquid fuel production.” Pacific Business News reports AECOM saying that the process is environmentally sound, producing “substantially less carbon” and requiring “less energy than current petroleum technologies.”
      According to the story, Shawn Kelly, Aecom’s vice president of Energy, said “It appears that the AKP project can be replicated throughout the Islands.”
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Duane Kanuha
A VOTE BY A BIG ISLAND MEMBER of the state Land Use Commission has been thrown out by the state Supreme Court, stopping an O`ahu development in a decision concerning land use statewide. 
      Although the Senate rejected Duane Kanuha’s nomination for a second term on the LUC in 2010, Gov. Linda Lingle retained him as a holdover appointment. A lawsuit by Sierra Club Hawai`i challenged the validity of Kanuha’s vote on the Koa Ridge development, which called for reclassification of agricultural land. Sierra Club claimed that, because his nomination was rejected, he was not entitled to serve on the commission.
      Kanuha is currently Hawai`i County Planning director.
      “This is a victory, not only for protecting some of the most productive farmland on O`ahu, but in that it protects the right of the public to have a fair and balanced Land Use Commission,” said Robert D. Harris, director of Sierra Club of Hawai`i. “Hawai`i’s citizens and future generations deserve a Land Use Commission that is fair, balanced, and duly-appointed.”
      See sierraclub.org.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

REAP IS THE RURAL DEVLOPMENT ENERGY PROGRAM that is helping farmers, from taro growers making taro burgers to cattlemen needing power to pump water.
      U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development state director Chris Kanazawa, based in Hilo, said this morning that “the REAP program is Rural Development’s flagship renewable energy program. As part of President Obama’s energy strategy, Rural Development continues to work with farmers, ranchers, and rural businesses to help save energy and improve their bottom line.”
      He gave the example of taro farmer Holbrook Beck, who operates a 20-acre farm to supply Taro Burgers for local and mainland customers. Whole Foods is requesting them by the container-full, Beck said. He said his taro is non-GMO and pesticide free. Kanazawa announced today that Beck and one other Hawai`i agriculturalist recently received REAP funding.
      Under the REAP program, qualified applicants may receive a 25 percent grant and 50 percent low-interest loan to either increase energy efficiency for existing systems or to create new energy efficient systems.
Holbrook Beck, who grows taro for taro burgers, receives REAP funding.
Photo from USDA
      The Rural Energy for America Program, authorized through the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, provides assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to complete a variety of projects. Offering both loan guarantees and grants, the REAP program helps eligible applicants install renewable energy systems such as solar panels or anaerobic digesters, make energy efficiency improvements such as installing irrigation pumps or replacing ventilation systems, and conduct energy audits and feasibility studies.
      Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack noted that today’s funding announcement is another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy. He called it one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
      “President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities,” he said. “Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.”
     For more information on how Ka`u residents can apply for REAP grants, contact Kanazawa at 933-8302 or chris.kanazawa@hi.usda.gov.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Colleen Hanabusa
HAWAI`I STATE TEACHERS ASSOCIATION’S executive board has voted unanimously to recommend Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s candidacy to its 3,500 members, said HSTA president Wil Okabe. Hanabusa is challenging Sen. Brian Schatz for the seat Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed him to after the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye. 
      Okabe cited Hanabusa’s support of education and teacher issues.
      To comment on or “like” this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.   

A CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION IN PAHALA begins today at 6 p.m. around the Christmas tree next to the gas station on Kamani Street. In memory of the late Keala Kailiawa, who started the tradition, the event features gifts for keiki and music and food for everyone, with caroling led by Keoki Kahumoku and his `ukulele kids.

NA`ALEHU UNITED METHODIST CHURCH across from the post office invites the public to Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. The service includes Word, carols and music, ending in candlelight with the singing of Silent Night.
      Call 929-9949 for more information.

HOLIDAY MEALS ARE AVAILABLE at several Ka`u venues.
      Hana Hou Restaurant in Na`alehu offers Christmas Eve dinner today from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dinners include starters and special desserts. Tomorrow, breakfast begins at 7 a.m., holiday lunch starts at 11 a.m., and Christmas dinner is available from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call 929-9717 for reservations.
      South Side Shaka’s in Na`alehu is open for breakfast and lunch today, closing at 4 p.m. Regular hours on Christmas Day offer breakfast beginning at 7 a.m. and regular menu items until 8:30 p.m. Call 929-7404.
      Kilauea Military Camp’s Crater Rim Café in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers Christmas Day Buffet from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8356 for more information.

KA`U HOSPITAL URGES RESIDENTS to complete its Community Health Needs Assessment at surveymonkey.com/s/93HQ5MX. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 31.

SEE THE DIRECTORY 2013 from the Ka`u Chamber of Commerce at kauchamber.org.


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