Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dark smoke from Sunday's brushfire at South Point rises into white, sunlit clouds. Photo by Isaac Davis
FIRE CREWS CONTINUE MOP-UP OPERATIONS after a brushfire consumed more than 1,000 acres at South Point Sunday. Rain throughout Sunday night and Monday morning helped firefighters gain control of the fire, which began Sunday afternoon near Ka`alu`alu Bay and quickly spread as brisk trade winds fanned the flames.
      Tissy Kaniho, whose family ranches on Department of Home Lands property at South Point, said, “Because Wally Andrade knows what he’s doing,” losses to their ranch were kept to 300 to 400 acres.
Kaniala Young used a bulldozer to create
firebreaks. Photo by Tissy Kaniho
      Mahalos came from several Ka`u News Briefs readers on Facebook. In response to Wally and Les Andrade and Kaniala Young using bulldozers to create firebreaks, Cheryl Wahn Vos wrote, “Mahalo Wally & Team,” and Carol Anthony wrote, “Thank you, guys!”
      Ginger Cook wrote, “Thanks to all the fire crews one of whom is my Pops, a volunteer Fire Captain in Discovery Harbor for putting your lives on the line and enduring God-awful circumstances. Scares me to death but makes me one very proud daughter.”
      Rick Ward wrote, “Mahalo to Hawai`i County Firefighters – job well done!”
      Cindy Boltz Eilerman wrote, “I could see the glow from our house in Discovery Harbour. Good job, firefighters!”
      Jason Fox wrote, “This is bad for the land after because the soil will wash away. Planting the fireproof grass vetiver after would preserve it.”
      Crews are still working in the area, with fire suppression equipment along South Point Road. The Fire Department asks drivers to exercise caution.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ELECTRIC RATES ARE GOING UP ON HAWAI`I ISLAND. The state Public Utilities Commission has approved rate increases requested by Hawaiian Electric Co. and its subsidiaries, including Hawai`i Electric Light Co.
      For a Hawai`i Island household using 500 kilowatts of electricity per month, each bill would increase by $3.92, according to the PUC.
      The PUC refers to the increases as sales decoupling tariffs. The sales decoupling mechanism is comprised of two tariffs, which serve different purposes. The Revenue Balancing Account tariff is designed to decouple or break the link between sales and total electric revenues, removing the utilities’ disincentives to increase energy efficiency and integrate customer-sited generation, such as rooftop photovoltaic systems. The Rate Adjustment Mechanism is a formula-driven mechanism intended to compensate the HECO Companies for changes in utility costs and infrastructure investment between rate cases and thereby reduces the frequency of rate cases.
      These increases, the PUC said, are largely due to increased capital expenditures by the utility and declines in sales over the past year.
      This is the third consecutive annual filing for HELCO.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE WHITE HOUSE HAS RELEASED NEW RULES under the Clean Air Act governing what existing power plants must do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The rules provide states flexibility to utilize energy efficiency and renewable energy, such as outlined in the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, as compliance measures.
      The rules requiring carbon dioxide emissions reductions from power plants were issued pursuant to Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. During the extensive process to hear from stakeholders throughout the nation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reached out to Hawai`i. The state submitted a set of consolidated comments developed by the Hawai`i Department of Health, Hawai`i State Public Utilities Commission and DBEDT regarding state plans to meet federal carbon emission reduction targets for existing electricity generation units.
      The new EPA rules allow states to employ a range of measures to meet carbon emission targets, including renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. In Hawai`i, numerous such 

initiatives are underway in the power generation sector under the umbrella of the HCEI. 

Ongoing PUC dockets include those relating to energy efficiency portfolio standards, requests for proposals for renewable energy production and interconnection matters. In addition, the PUC and DBEDT are working with the Hawaiian Electric Companies to better align the utility’s business model with consumer interests and the state’s public policy’s goals.
      Gov. Neil Abercrombie applauded the new rules, stating, “Hawai`i is at the forefront of responding to climate change through our Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative, which serves as a substantial economic driver while reducing our dependence on imported oil. By building such flexibility into the rules, President Obama is encouraging the rest of the country to follow Hawai`i’s lead in pursuing clean energy.”
      New financial tools are under development by DBEDT to increase deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures and to empower the state’s energy consumers to contribute to greenhouse gas reductions through use of renewable energy like rooftop solar. 
“Hawai`i’s Green Energy Market Securitization financing tool, or GEMS, will expand low-cost 

financing to clean energy solutions while helping the state gain credit for reducing carbon 
through lesser use of petroleum products to generate electricity,” said DBEDT Director Richard Lim. 

 Proposed by the governor in his 2013 State of the State address and signed into law later that year, GEMS is a financing program designed to make clean energy improvements affordable and accessible to Hawai`i consumers, especially underserved markets such as low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and nonprofits.
      Abercrombie added, “Hawai`i is working with the Obama Administration to align our state’s commitment to go beyond 40 percent renewable energy in the electrical power sector by 2030 and our federal and state policies to reduce our carbon footprint. As a leading test bed for clean energy, Hawai`i can demonstrate to the world how to stimulate our economy while improving the environment for future generations.”
Ka`u's U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has served two tours of duty in the Middle East.
Photo from Office of Rep. Gabbard
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar. 


“MANY OF OUR VETERANS URGENTLY NEED MEDICAL CARE, and they should not have to go another day without it,” said Ka`u’s U.S. Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard has sent a letter to President Obama urging him to use his executive power to allow veterans to immediately access private medical care outside of the Veterans Affairs system.
 “I have seen the wounds, both visible and invisible, of veterans I served with. To make any veteran wait for medical care is not only an emergency, it is a travesty.

      “President Obama and Congress have the power to ensure that our veterans do not wait another week for care,” said Gabbard, a veteran who has served two tours of duty in the Middle East. “They can’t afford to wait for a new head of the VA or for the systemic problems of the VA to be fixed. Nor should they. We must take action immediately.
      “Furthermore, I plan to introduce legislation that will give our veterans the right to obtain private medical care using their VA cards over the next 12 months, at which point we can re-evaluate whether the VA problems have sufficiently been fixed.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

FRIENDS OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is seeking donations for its annual Fourth of July Silent Auction at Cooper Center in Volcano Village. “We want it to be more successful and more fun than ever!” said FHVNP spokesman Ab Valencia. “We are passionate for our park, and our members have always been generous in their time and talents. We are asking again this year for donations to fill Cooper Center with fabulous items that may be “someone’s must-have treasure!”
Seniors can learn origami every Thursday this month.
      In past years, donations to the Silent Auction have included artwork, photography and jewelry; backpacks, bicycles, and telescopes; fishing gear, lounge chairs, and lamps; golf packages and gift baskets; hotel and B&B stays; land, sea, and air adventure tours; retail store and restaurant gift certificates; tools and wheelbarrows and much more.
      To donate or volunteer, call 985-7373 or email admin@fhvnp.org or fhvnp@icloud.com.
      More information is available at fhvnp.org.

CLASSES ON ORIGAMI BASICS are scheduled every Thursday from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. this month at Pahala Senior Center. Seniors aged 60 and up are welcome to join the free, informal, hands-on classes. 
      For more information, call Julie Pasquale at 928-3101.

HA`AO SPRINGS & MOUNTAIN HOUSE AG WATER CO- OP meets Thursday at 4 p.m. at Wai`ohinu Park. See haaosprings.org for information about the co-op.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.
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