Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014

Javier, a coffee farm worker in Wood Valley, hauls ice to his worksite where water and power have been cut off since Tropical Storm Iselle hit the valley last Thursday night and Friday morning. Photo by Julia Neal
WATER AND ICE CAME TO WOOD VALLEY yesterday in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle, with county workers distributing the water to individuals and leaving cases of bottled water at gates of farms and homesteads. Bags of ice provided by the county were available at sundown at Wood Valley Temple following the opening of the intersection of Wood Valley and Kapapala Ranch roads.
      At the urging of the county, Hawai`i Electric Light Co. sent a crew yesterday to determine that the wire in the tangle of trees and utility polls at the Wood Valley intersection had been live, on the ground, since the storm. They turned off the power and posted a sign on pole number 123 on the Pahala side of the gulch stating “Danger, Do Not Operate this Switch.” After the power was turned off, road crews quickly cleared tree trunks and other debris, making all of the access roads in Wood Valley passable.
Switch at the stream crossing leading to the Wood Valley
and Kapapala Ranch intersection cut off power that was
live in a wire from downed utility poles. The main road
is now open, with downed trees and wires removed.
Photo by Julia Neal
      The ice and water came in handy for the community that is still without water and power. A coffee farm worker named Javier said he thanks the county for bringing him ice, which was also picked up for the Mizuno and Reha farms and others. The truck continued to Puna to distribute more ice, where the number of people without power is much greater.
      Cyrus Sumida, who takes care of water for the county, joined Wood Valley Water Cooperative volunteers, after hours, to assess their ongoing repairs to mend breaks and clear mud and other debris from the lines, as individuals worked on pipes on their own properties. The Wood Valley spring water could be back in service within the next few days, water cooperative members said. Electricity could take longer, with lines and poles down along valley roads.
     Reed Flickinger and Sissy Pittulo, executive assistants to Mayor Billy Kenoi, and Deputy Planning Director Bobby Command came to Wood Valley to meet victims of the storm and to help assess damage. Annie Bailey, with the Office of Housing & Community Development, also came to Wood Valley, as did a group from the National Guard.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PERSONS WHO SUFFERED DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES in the Conservation District from Tropical Storm Iselle are encouraged to contact Office Of Conservation and Coastal Lands at 808-587-0377.
      OCCL is responsible for overseeing approximately two million acres of private and public lands that lie within the state Land Use Conservation District. In addition to privately and publicly zoned Conservation District lands, OCCL is responsible for overseeing beach and marine lands out to the seaward extent of the state’s jurisdiction.
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“IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT ALLOWANCES BE MADE to address the concerns and rights of eligible voters to be allowed to participate in our elections process,” wrote Ka`u’s state Sen. Russell Ruderman, who also represents Puna. Ruderman questions state Office of Elections plans to open precincts in Puna Friday to residents who were unable to vote on Election Day because Tropical Storm Iselle forced closure of the precincts. “Why was a decision so hastily made … for the two affected areas, when so many residents along Red Road, in Pohoiki and other areas of Puna are still trapped by fallen trees?” Ruderman asked.
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      “We still have the time and resources necessary to make amends and avoid the inevitable lawsuits that will be forthcoming should the decision to hold the voting on Friday stand,” Ruderman said. “It is incumbent on officials to take the necessary actions to guarantee that all are afforded their Constitutional rights under law to that participation.”
      Ruderman also said, “These are my constituents, whom I know to be astute, active and vocal when it comes to the political process. They are now being effectively disenfranchised by the unwillingness of election officials to take them into account. This is one more example of the unfairness of someone in Honolulu making a decision that unnecessarily punishes the people on a neighbor island without knowing, or seemingly caring, what the real conditions are on the ground.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

U.S. SENATE CANDIDATES HAVE DIFFERING VIEWS of the Office of Elections’ decision to open polling places in Puna Friday. The plan was made after Tropical Storm Iselle forced two polling places to close on Election Day last Saturday.
      Currently, Sen. Brian Schatz is leading Rep. Colleen Hanabusa by 1,635 votes in the Senate Democratic primary.
      Tom Callis, of West Hawai`i Today, reported that Hanabusa sent a letter to Chief Elections Officer Scott Nago requesting that the election be further delayed for the two precincts. “I ask that you not rush for the sake of convenience,” she wrote. “The Hawai`i statue allows for a period of twenty-one days in which to conduct this postponed election. Please use this time to put the needs of the Puna residents ahead of the election.”
      According to Callis, a Schatz spokesperson said, “The independent nonpartisan experts at the Office of Elections and the County Clerk from Hawai`i Island are in a far better position to evaluate how to proceed with this election than anyone else.” 
      Both candidates have visited Puna to view damage and speak with storm victims.
The public can learn about research conducted in Punalu`u ahupua`a this
summer at a ho`ike tomorrow at Pahala Plantation House.
Photo from Wahi Kupuna Internship Program
      Data from the state Office of Elections shows that, at polling places that remained open in Puna on Election Day, Pahoa Community Center had a 12 percent turnout; Pahoa High and Intermediate School, 12.3 percent; Kea`au High School, 11.5 percent; Mountain View Elementary School, 14.3 percent turnout; and Cooper Center in Volcano, 20.9 percent.
      Islandwide, voter turnout on Election Day was 14.2 percent. The statewide figure was 18 percent.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

THE PUBLIC IS INVITED TO THE HO`IKE for Wahi Kupuna Internship Program tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Plantation House, The presentation gives the community an opportunity to learn about research that students have been conducting in Ka`u this summer, when they conducted an archaeological reconnaissance survey of the entire coastline of Punalu`u ahupua`a.

VOLUNTEERS MEET AT KILAUEA VISITOR CENTER in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park to help remove invasive Himalayan ginger from park trails Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Late registration and packet pick-up for Saturday's Volcano
Rain Forest Runs take place Friday.
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers its new Pu`u o Lokuana program Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This free, moderately difficult 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone features the formation, various uses of the hill over time and a breathtaking view of lower Ka`u. Call 985-6011 for more information.

COOPER CENTER IN VOLCANO VILLAGE HOSTS a Dine & Dash Pasta Buffet Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Participants in Volcano Rain Forest Runs and others can carbo-load for Saturday’s events. Cost for the buffet is $15 for adults and $7.50 for children.

Sign up for a backyard
composting workshop.
Photo from Recycle Hawai`i
VOLCANO RAIN FOREST RUNS are coming up this Saturday. Half Marathon begins at 7 a.m., followed by the 10K at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K at 8 a.m. Keiki runs begin at 10 a.m. Registration is available at volcanorainforestruns.com.
      Late registration and packet pickup is available Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Niaulani Campus in Volcano Village. No race day registration for Half Marathon.

VOLCANO GARDEN ARTS IN VOLCANO VILLAGE hosts a backyard compost workshop Saturday, Aug. 23 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
      “Help keep Hawai`i green by composting home and yard green waste, said Recycle Hawai`i Executive Director Paul Buklarewicz. “Learn the easy way to reap benefits of improved soil in Recycle Hawai`i’s ongoing compost workshops.”
      The session is open to beginners with no composting experience as well as those wanting to learn more. Fee is $10 per adult, with no charge for children.
      A voucher for a free Earth Machine backyard composter is given for each household completing the workshop. Earth Machines are ready for pick-up by voucher holders at Kea`au and Waimea Recycling and Reuse Centers on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.
      Master composter/recycler Ann Hassler teaches the workshop and covers basic composting techniques plus composting with worms. Worm bins and worms are available for purchase at the workshop. 
      To register, call 985-8979.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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