Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hawai`i State Legislature adjourns tomorrow.

HAWAI`I STATE LEGISLATURE HAS DECIDED THE FATE of many bills before it adjourns tomorrow: 

KA`U COFFEE GROWERS ARE GETTING HELP from the state in their battle against the coffee berry borer. The state Legislature passed House Bill 1514 yesterday, which appropriates $500,000 toward the purchase of Beauveria bassiana. The naturally occurring fungus kills the pest by causing called White-Muscardine disease, according to researcher Madeline Campbell. “When the spores of the fungus come into contact with the cuticle of the host insect, it slowly grows on the body of the insect, in its joints, through the cuticle, into the body and eventually kills the insect in a matter of days,” she said.
White-Muscardine disease on an insect similar to coffee berry borer.
Photo from Global Citizen Year
      The program allows the Department of Agriculture to disburse funds on an annual basis to coffee growers for up to 75 percent of the costs of the pesticide before July 1, 2016, and for up to 50 percent of their costs after June 30, 2016 and before July 1, 2019.
      Ka`u’s Rep. Richard Onishi co-introduced the bill.

FUNDING TO RESEARCH LITTLE FIRE ANTS has been rejected by the state Legislature. Senate Bill 2920 would have established and appropriated funds for an LFA pilot project administered by Hawai`i County Department of Parks & Recreation, for an LFA canine detection team pilot project and for a public awareness and education campaign to address the LFA threat in Hawai`i.
      Ka`u’s Sen. Russell Ruderman co-introduced the bill.

A BILL CALLING FOR LATE VOTER REGISTRATION has passed the state Legislature. The House and Senate approved House Bill 2590, which allows voters to register at early voting sites beginning in 2016 or at their assigned polling places on Election Day starting in 2018.

MINIMUM WAGES WILL INCREASE WITH APPROVAL by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. The final version of Senate Bill 2609 increases the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 over the next four years. For workers who earn at least $7 more than the minimum wage, businesses can deduct a 75 cents tip credit. The current tip credit is 50 cents.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i PUC Chair Mina Morita
HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has announced major decisions and orders that collectively provide key policy, resource planning and operational directives to Hawaiian Electric Company and its subsidiaries. The orders require the HECO companies to develop and implement major improvement action plans to aggressively pursue energy cost reductions, proactively respond to emerging renewable energy integration challenges, improve the interconnection process for customer-sited solar photovoltaic systems and embrace customer demand response programs. 
      The PUC’s guidance and direction to the HECO companies were outlined in the following decisions and orders:
      Integrated Resource Planning (Docket No. 2012-0036, Order No. 32052, IRPOrder) rejected the HECO companies’ Integrated Resource Plan submission and, in lieu of an approved plan, has commenced other initiatives to enable resource planning and proffered a white paper entitled, Commission’s Inclinations on the Future of Hawai`i’s Electric Utilities. The white paper outlines the vision, strategies, and regulatory policy changes required to align the HECO companies’ business model with customers’ changing expectations and state energy policy; and provides specific guidance for future energy planning and project review, including strategic direction for future capital investments.
      Reliability Standards Working Group (Docket No. 2011-0206, Order No. 32053, RSWG Order) makes various rulings regarding the final work product of the working group and provides the PUC’s observations and perspectives regarding integrating utility-scale and distributed renewable energy resources in a reliable and economic manner. It also directs the HECO companies, and in some cases, the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative, to take timely actions to lower energy costs, improve system reliability and address emerging challenges to integrate additional renewable energy.
      Policy Statement and Order Regarding Demand Response Programs (Docket No. 2007-0341, Order No. 32054, Demand ResponsePolicy Statement) provides specific guidance concerning the objectives and goals for demand response programs and requires the HECO companies to develop a fully integrated demand response portfolio that will enhance system operations and reduce costs to customers.
      Maui Electric Company 2012 Test Year Rate Case (Docket No. 2011-0092, Order No. 32055, MECO Order) accepted the PUC consultant’s report reviewing MECO’s System Improvement and Curtailment Reduction plan and directs MECO to file a Power Supply Improvement Plan to address the SICR plan’s shortcomings.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

DICK ROSENBLUM, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF HECO, issued the following response to the PUC’s decisions and orders: 
      “In this challenging, fast-changing energy environment, we welcome the PUC’s clear direction and roadmap. We’ve been working on many of these initiatives, and these directives confirm the energy policy priorities that will guide our strategies and implementation.
      “We have many of the building blocks already in place, including our grid modernization work, the initial phase of our smart grid project and our progress in renewable energy - now at more than 18 percent. We’ve begun deactivating older fossil fuel plants, such as Honolulu Power Plant and others on Maui and Hawai`i Island. And we’re taking other steps to lower costs to customers, such as use of low-cost liquefied natural gas as a transition fuel.
      “We understand the importance of moving quickly and see this as an unprecedented opportunity to move aggressively on a shared vision for the utility of the future and on our role in meeting the needs of our customers.
      “We look forward to working with the PUC and the Hawai`i State Energy Office as we move forward to develop and execute these comprehensive plans.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Many Ka`u Coffee Festival sponsors are participating in the Buy Local, It Matters prize
drawing at the Ho`olaule`a.
KA`U RESIDENTS HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN a $1,000 check at the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a. It’s easy to enter the “Buy Local, It Matters” drawing. Bring in business cards, product labels or receipts from any participating Ka`u business by 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 10. “The more you collect, the better your chances,” said festival organizers. 
      Last year, Jeanette Howard took home a $1,000 check for winning the raffle, which is geared toward promoting the local economy.
      Winner must be present at the time of the drawing, scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Ho`olaule`a.
      A complete list of participating sponsors is available at kaucoffeefest.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

TODAY IS THE DEADLINE TO ENTER the Ka`u Coffee Festival’s Triple C Recipe Contest that takes place this Sunday at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Participants can earn up to $500 in prizes for the best recipes in adult and student categories. The registration form can be printed out from these Ka`u News Briefs or from kaucoffeefestival.com.
      For more information, call Ka`u Coffee Mill at 928-0550.

INTERESTED KA`U COFFEE GROWERS MUST SIGN UP today for CTAHR’s Spray Equipment Calibration and Calculation Field Day set for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Rusty’s Hawaiian Coffee Farm. The event covers available risk management measures to manage the coffee berry borer, demonstrates calibration of various types of spray equipment and shows growers how the establish field trials. 
      Contact Gina at 322-4892 or ginab@hawaii.edu.

HA`AO SPRINGS & MOUNTAIN HOUSE Agricultural Water Cooperative meets tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. Information about the organization is available at haaosprings.org.

FRIDAY IS THE PA`INA OPEN HOUSE at Pahala Plantation House. The Miss Ka`u Coffee Scholarship fundraiser includes music, hula, refreshments and house tours. Candidates for Miss Ka`u Coffee and Miss Peaberry are introduced. Performers include Bolo presenting his new CD, Keoki Kahumoku and his `Ukulele Kids and Halau Hula O Leionalani. New Ka`u products, including Ka`u Coffee Mill’s Ka`u Coffee Singles and Alan Moores’ Iki Art, are introduced. Co-sponsored by Ka`u Chamber of Commerce, the event takes place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park hosts a Dinner & Guitar Night Friday at 7:30 p.m. Dinner is available at Crater Rim Café, followed by Hawaiian slack key and Italian finger-style guitar playing at KMC Theater. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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