Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kamehameha Schools invites Ka`u students to register for Kamehameha Scholars, leading to college scholarships.
Photo from Kamehameha Schools
`AINA KOA PONO made a Honolulu Star Advertiser editorial page yesterday when its editors praised the Public Utilities Commission stating that the PUC, “always in a position to affect consumers, has in recent years seemed more attuned to the first word of its name. The public interest in proposals for utility initiatives and rates has figured prominently in some of its recent decisions.”
     The editorial noted that the three members of the PUC turned down the AKP proposal for the biofuel operation that was planned in Ka`u and gave credit to PUC chair Mina Morita who is possibly at risk of losing her job. The Star Advertiser stated that “former lawmaker Hermina Morita has chaired the commission since her appointment in 2011, so much of the credit for a clearer consumer focus should go to her.
     “This, as well as the fact that Hawai`i is in the midst of several complex developments, makes this an awkward time to replace Morita on the panel, absent a compelling reason from Gov. Neil Abercrombie. 
AKP would have displaced cattle and cleared land of trees and brush to use for a
microwave biofuel factory on the edge of Wood Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
     “The governor is on the verge of deciding whether Morita, a 14-year veteran of the state House of Representatives, should be reappointed to the commission once her term expires at the end of June. Reports have swirled that she won't be tapped for another term, spurring a number of lawmakers to offer testimonials in her favor. The state Senate must confirm whoever is named.”
     The Star Advertiser editors noted that “Abercrombie himself appointed Morita in 2011 to fill out the last three years of the former chairman, Carlito Caliboso. Appointment to a full term means another six years on the commission.
     “Many of her backers point out that the team now in place offers a range of skills that support strong decision-making. Morita would rejoin the other two commissioners: attorney Lorraine Akiba, with a background in environmental law and business litigation; and Michael Champley, a former Maui-based energy consultant and utility executive."
Mina Morita, praised by the governor
when he named her to the PUC.
Photo from hawaii.gov

     The editors quoted Life of the Land executive director Henry Curtis who described the three PUC members as “a great balance between legislative, utility and legal backgrounds. It seems to me the three commissioners work well together." 
    According to the Star Advertiser, however, “Morita has been in the crosshairs for decisions affecting `Aina Koa Pono, the biofuels company whose proposal for a contract with the Hawaiian Electric Light Co. on Hawai`i island has been turned down twice. AKP has some highly placed supporters that made this a particularly sticky decision to make, politically. For example, the biofuel company was represented by William Kaneko, Abercrombie's campaign manager.
       “But the PUC's decisions on this cited concern that costs would drive up rates for consumers — and that principle should prevail.”
     The editors further praised Morita, quoting the governor: "’Hawai`i has made good progress addressing energy issues, and Rep. Morita has been instrumental as one of the key lawmakers in making that happen,’ Abercrombie said upon appointing her three years ago. ‘She is clearly committed to advancing clean energy, and she will bring credibility, knowledge and leadership to improve the Public Utilities Commission.’"
    The Advertiser also pointed out that the governor said, “The PUC is the key to Hawai`i's energy future and connecting our islands so we can build a sustainable economy."
    The Advertiser editorial board concluded: “That was the correct assessment at the time, and it's still correct. If the governor believes another person would be better suited to the post, he'll owe an explanation to the public on why that is.”  See more at www.staradvertiser.com
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

CLEAN, MODERN AND EFFICIENT WASTE REDUCTION TECHNOLOGY are the words Mayor Billy Kenoi’s administration uses to describe the planned waste-to-energy plant with the release this week of Stage 1 of the county’s request for proposals.
      “The RFP process will allow the county to select a proven, economically viable and environmentally friendly process for managing solid waste from East Hawai‘i for at least the next 20 to 30 years,” according to the statement from the county administration.
    The mayor said that “For the past two decades this county engaged in study after study to determine the best way to cope with the required closure of the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill. It is now time to act. We are inviting the best and brightest in the industry to submit their proposals for a state-of-the-art facility that will benefit our community, and allow us to transform our solid waste from a liability into an asset.”
The county promises to continue green waste and
composting programs, after its builds a waste-to energy
plant to take the place of Hilo landfill.
Image from County of Hawai`i
     Kenoi promised that the county will also continue its commitment to recycling, including a program to provide mulch made from green waste for agricultural and other uses. In 2013 the county recycled more than 217 tons of materials per day, including metals, glass, plastics and green waste. The waste reduction project will not affect those efforts, said the mayor.
     The design-build-operate RFP calls for a facility that can accommodate about 300 tons of solid waste per day. The facility will be built near the existing county Sort Station, and will be privately financed. Stage 1 of the RFP will identify the most qualified teams and technologies for the project.
     Kenoi briefed the Hawai`i County Council Committee on Environmental Management on the county plan on Feb. 4, and briefed the county Environmental Management Commission on the project and process on Feb. 26.
     Communications from potential vendors regarding the project must be directed to county Purchasing Agent Jeffrey Dansdill at jdansdill@hawaiicounty.gov. Responses to Stage 1 of the RFP are due on April 15. 
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DISCOVERY HARBOUR VOLUNTEER fire department is searching for one more member to make a complete crew. Anyone interested in joining or wanting more information can call Captain TJ James at 895-8133.The organization will hold a rummage sale fundraiser Friday and Saturday, March 21-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, March 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Discovery Harbour Community Clubhouse and volunteer fire department. The fundraiser will raise money for brush pants and boots, flashlight batteries, water and other supplies. Discovery Harbour volunteers also welcome a fire truck, courtesy of the U.S. Forestry Service, an upgrade from “their faithful yellow vehicle,” a statement from the volunteers says.

JAPANESE LANGUAGE CLASSES are  each Wednesday at 4 p.m., at Na`alehu Hongwanji. Space is limited. Contact Maiki at 989- 4259 or hawaiiislandlife@gmail.com.

THE KAMEHAMEHA SCHOLARS PROGRAM is open for enrollment for students entering grades 9 through 12 in Fall 2014 who are not currently enrolled full-time at one of Kamehameha Schools’ three campuses, and who live in Ka`u.
     Kamehameha Scholars is a year-round supplementary educational enrichment program with a focus on college and career guidance. The mission of the Kamehameha Scholars program is to support Native Hawaiian students in achieving a higher education degree, entering the career of their choosing and cultivating their ability to be servant leaders. 
    Students who complete the program will earn a college scholarship. 
     Applications are must be postmarked by March 31 and can be downloaded at www.ksbe.edu/admissions. Families may also call the Admissions Office at 808-842-8800 or toll free at 800-842-4682 ext. 8800 to have an application mailed to them. Kamehameha Schools’ policy on admissions is to give preference to children of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.
     Additional program information is available at http://apps.ksbe.edu/kscholars or by calling 808-534-8355 or toll free at 800-842-4682. Information and help with the application process is also available at the Kamehameha Schools Resource Centers. Visit their website at http://apps.ksbe.edu/ksrc/ for hours and contact information of the KSRC nearest you. 
To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

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