Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, March 10, 2014

Access to Kawa is open to foot and vehicular traffic daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Photo by Julia Neal
PUBLIC COMMENT ON AGENDA ITEMS IS WELCOME at Ka`u Community Development Plan Steering Committee meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center. 
      Chair Leina`ala Enos and planner Ron Whitmore will provide an update on the status of the CDP project, including progress made on the draft CDP and next steps in the process.
      Whitmore will provide an overview of plans to identify vilable strategies for achieving Ka`u’s community objectives.
      The committee will also discuss recent correspondence between Ocean View Community Development Corporation and the county Planning director which raised questions and concerns related to project administration, draft CDP appendices and CDP’s purpose, process and roles.
      For more information about the Ka`u CDP and the Steering Committee, see kaucdp.info. Steering Committee members and Community Planning assistant Nalani Parlin are available to answer any questions. Contact information is available at kaucdp.info.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i County Director of Finance is authorized to negotiate to acquire all, a portion of,
or a conservation easement for 16,000 acres around Pohue Bay.
HAWAI`I COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT has issued updates on several projects of interest to Ka`u residents.
  • Na`alehu Wastewater Facility: There is no final decision on the location of the wastewater treatment and disposal facility. The Wastewater Division plans to hold a community meeting in the near future to discuss the project, but the date of this meeting has not yet been established. 
  • Sale of Lehman Brothers Land: Lehman Brothers Holdings is selling the 5,800 acres that includes prime coffee land as well as ranch land mauka of Honu`apo and Waikapuna. The onsite representative for Lehman Brothers is Hayden Akamu, and Joel LaPinta (lapinta.com) is the local representative of Kennedy Wilson, which is marketing the parcels. 
  • `Aina Koa Pono Biofuels Facility: The Public Utilities Commission (puc.hawaii.gov) did not approve the revised contract submitted by `Aina Koa Pono (ainakoapono.com) and HELCO to produce biofuel at a new facility near Pahala. 
  • Kawa Stewardship Plan: The Mayor’s office is working with local families and community members to draft a stewardship plan. An inventory of archaeological resources is completed and is being used to inform planning. Access to the bay is open to foot and vehicular traffic daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Solar Farms in Ocean View: In 2012, building permits were issued to install commercial solar photovoltaic systems on various lots in Ocean View makai. Solar energy facilities are permitted in the state land use agricultural district with soil classified by the land study bureau’s detailed land classification as overall (master) productivity rating class B, C, D or E. All of Ocean View makai is in the SLU agricultural district, and the LSB in this area is E, so solar energy facilities are a permitted use. 
  • Lehua Court: A state land use boundary amendment and change of zone application has been submitted for a 54,000-square-foot commercial center on four lots between Lehua Lane and Mamalahoa Highway in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates. The application may come to the Windward Planning Commission soon for review and recommendations. 
  • Kahuku Village and Pohue Bay: The owner is exploring alternative proposals for the parcel where Kahuku Village was proposed. The County Council authorized the Director of Finance to enter into negotiations to acquire all, a portion of, or a conservation easement for the 16,000 acres around Pohue Bay. 
  • Road to the Sea: The County Council authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the state of Hawai`i for the acquisition of the parcel at the end of the Road to the Sea adjacent to Manuka Natural Area Reserve. 
  • Ocean View Transfer Station: The land allocation process is complete, and right-of-way access is being secured through the state Department of Transportation. Work is expected to begin after several other solid waste facilities island wide are completed. 
      These items are not on the agenda of tomorrow’s Ka`u CDP Steering Committee meeting and will not be discussed. Planner Ron Whitmore suggests discussing the topics with Steering Committee members during meeting breaks, before or after the meeting or at another time by phone or email. Steering Committee contact is available at the registration table or at kaucdp.info under the Steering Committee link.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING VOTES TODAY until approximately 9 a.m. EDT tomorrow, senators from the U.S. Senate Climate Action Task Force will be holding the Senate floor to urge action on climate change. A significant number of senators are expected to participate throughout the night, including Sen. Brian Schatz.
      “Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable,” said Schatz. “Congress must act. On Monday night we’re going to show the growing number of senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change.”
      Senators will be actively participating on social media as well throughout the night, using the hashtag #Up4Climate.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Residents in China saw these lights in the sky 30 minutes before an earthquake.
Image from YouTube
HISTORIC AND LEGENDARY REPORTS OF LIGHTNING before earthquakes, which are usually dismissed as hearsay or fodder for UFO enthusiasts, are now being confirmed by scientists, according to a report by BBC News
      Professor Troy Shinbrot, of Rutgers University, reported findings at a recent American Physical Society meeting in Denver. Shinbrot and other scientists experimented with containers of flour and other granular materials, tipping them back and forth until cracks appeared. They found that the action produced volts of charge. Shinbrot speculates that sliding and cracking of soil grains along geological faultlines could generate millions of volts of electrostatic charge and seed lightning in the air above, creating what he calls a natural early-warning system for impending earthquakes.
      With the advent of YouTube and other similar websites, videos of luminous orbs seen during the Fukushima and other earthquakes have been widely shared online and studied by scientists.
      According to Shinbrot, not every major earthquake is preceded by lightning, and not all clear-sky lightning is followed by earthquakes.
      Scientists in Turkey who have erected towers to measure voltage fields in the air over earthquake-prone regions found that there seem to be precursors for some large earthquakes of magnitude five or higher. “But the voltage signal is not always the same; sometimes it’s high, and sometimes it’s low,” Shinbrot said.
      See bbc.com/news/science-environment-26462348.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Many of Hawai`i's papaya crops are genetically engineered to battle
ringspot virus. Photo from UH-CTAHR
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI`I COLLEGE OF TROPICAL AGRICULTURE and Human Resources has developed a website with information about Agricultural Biotechnology. The stated goal of the site is “to provide an unbiased source of information” so that the public can make informed decisions about biotechnology. 
      The website defines biotechnology as “the application of scientific techniques to modify plants, animals and microorganisms. Agricultural biotechnology applies genetic engineering methods to agricultural products. These procedures directly change the DNA of the plant, usually by inserting genetic material from another organism.”
      Topics covered on the website include a comparison of classical breeding to genetic engineering, genetically engineered crops in Hawai`i and their economic impact, issues including benefits and risks, labeling, culture, co-existence and regulation.
      The website also offers resources for education of students and a game that presents some of the opinions about genetically engineered crops.
      “The use of biotechnology in food production, specifically the use of genetically engineered crops, is a controversial topic, with equally vocal advocates and opponents,” the website states. “Perceptions about foods from transgenic crops range from the belief that they have potential to eradicate world hunger to the perception that they are ‘unnatural’ products that may be hazardous to humans and the environment.”
      The college also produces a newsletter entitled Biotech in Focus.
      See ctahr.hawaii.edu/biotech and ctahr.hawaii.edu/biotechinfocus.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

`Ohe kapala, or bamboo stamps are used to make designs on fabric.
Photo from NPS
A FLASH EXHIBIT AT VOLCANO ART CENTER’S Ni`aulani Campus in Volcano Village continues through tomorrow, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with art by Margaret Stanton and Randy Takake. 

KEIKO MERCADO DEMONSTRATES HOW `OHE (bamboo) are carved and used to make designs on fabric Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Samples and hands-on learning opportunities will be available. Free; park entrance fees apply. 

A STAFF MEMBER FROM U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office meets with constituents and assists with casework and other issues Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. Call 987-5698 for more information.

SEE THE MARCH ISSUE of The Ka`u Calendar newspaper online at kaucalendar.com.


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