Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015


A tangle of downed power lines and tree limbs prompted caution tape to be placed in front of Wood Valley Temple until HELCO crews could repair lines going into the valley, where many residents spend several days and nights without electricity. Photo by Julia Neal
ELECTRIC COMPANY CREWS WORKED through the night to restore service to customers affected by a storm system that passed through the islands last Friday and Saturday. As of 4 p.m. yesterday, Hawai`i Electric Light Co. reported 120 customers remained without power primary in Wood Valley and Hamakua.
Miguel Schwab drives his equipment to fix a water line after last weekend's storm
in Wood Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
      About 46,000 customers were without power at one time or another during the storm, according to HELCO. When the storm passed through Hawai`i Island, the company received about 6,700 outage calls over a two-day period. The company normally receives an average of 50 calls daily. Some employees from around the island were reassigned to help answer phones, manage outage reports and follow up with customers.
      “Hawaii Electric Light employees are committed to safely restoring service as quickly as possible,” said spokesperson Rhea Lee. “We live here, we work here, and we raise our families here. We understand the responsibility we have to our community, and we will do our best to serve our customers.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

WITH THE APPROACH 2015’s state Legislative Session opening on Wednesday, Jan. 21, the Legislature’s Public Access Room has information to share.
Albizia, eucalyptus silver oak and a few cedar were the
majority of trees that fell in Wood Valley. Native koa
and `ohi`a stood strong. Photo by Julia Neal
      The Senate Ways and Means and House Finance Committees have scheduled informational briefings over the next few weeks to explore the Executive departments’ budget requests. Most of them will be scheduled for broadcast. Meeting notices for the briefings appear under Current Hearings in the central column of the Legislature’s home page at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      For video information, use the Broadcasts link. Then select Capitol TV Broadcasts for the schedule of upcoming broadcasts.
      Select Senate Webstreaming or House Webstreaming to watch previously televised events. Contact the Public Access Room with any questions.
      Applications and instructions for 2015 Grant-in-Aid requests have been posted. A link currently appears under Recent Updates on the Legislature’s home page or by clicking on the Legislative Information bar.
      Ka`u residents can contact PAR with questions relating to the Legislature at par@capitol.hawaii.gov or toll-free at 974-4000 ext. 7-0478.
      More information about the upcoming Legislative session is available at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Piles of tree trunks fill the front yard of Wood Valley Temple. Photo by Julia Neal
USDA HAS FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES for small businesses and farmers/ranchers for energy efficiency and renewable energy. 
      The Rural Energy for America Program has two funding deadlines for Fiscal Year 2015. For applicants requesting $20,000 or less who wish to have their applications compete in the Grants of $20,000 or less set aside, complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. local time on April 30. For applicants requesting grant funds over $20,000 (unrestricted), complete applications must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on April 30 or 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2015.
      For guaranteed loan only projects, applications will be reviewed and processed when received with monthly competitions on the first business day of each month for those applications ready to be funded.  
      Eligible entities are agricultural producers directly engaged in the production of agricultural products that obtain at least 50 percent or of their gross income from their agriculture business, or a rural small business. SBA small size standards can be found at http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table(1).pdf. Also, the business headquarters must be in a rural area.
Shallowly rooted eucalyptus, albizia and silver oak toppled along
Wood Valley roads, taking out electric lines. Photo by Julia Neal
      Nonprofit organizations and public entities are not eligible.
      For proposed projects to be eligible, they must:
  • Be for the purchase of a renewable energy system or to make energy efficiency improvements; 
  • Be for a pre-commercial or commercially available and replicable technology (no Research and Development, demonstration or pre-demonstration projects); 
  • Have technical merit; and 
  • Be located in a rural area. 
      Applicants must be owners of the projects (no leasing of systems).
      Technologies that are eligible for funding include biomass, anaerobic digester, geothermal – electric generation, geothermal – direct use, hydrogen, small and large wind, small and large solar, ocean (including tidal, wave, current, and thermal), hydroelectric and energy efficiency improvements.
      See more at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_ReapResEei_Eligibility. East Hawai`i residents may contact Lori Nekoba at 933-8312 or lori.nekoba@hi.usda.gov, and West Hawai`i residents may contact Denise Oda at 933-8323 or denise.oda@hi.usda.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sunset did not keep HELCO crews from
continuing to work on downed lines in
Wood Valley. Photo by Julia Neal
HAWAI`I’S U.S. SENATORS ARE APPLAUDING President Barack Obama’s intention to nominate former Bank of Hawai`i Chief Executive Officer Allan R. Landon to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. 
      “The Federal Reserve is responsible for regulating nearly every aspect of our banking industry, and it is critical that its members reflect the diversity in the industry,” Sen. Brian Schatz said. “I am thrilled that President Obama has nominated … Mr. Landon to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Drawing on his experience at Bank of Hawai`i, Mr. Landon will bring an essential community banking perspective to the Board. This perspective will be very important for states like Hawai`i that depend on a vibrant sector of community banks to serve their banking needs.”

      Sen. Mazie Hirono said, “Our nation’s economic policy should be focused on growing strong local economies that support local businesses, middle class families and vibrant communities. Allan Landon’s experience as a community banker and his record of service in the community make him a solid choice to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. His leadership at Bank of Hawai`i came at a time when our country went through the financial crisis, and he ensured the bank remained secure and sound. Allan Landon’s nomination demonstrates President Obama’s continued focus on strengthening the middle class.”
      In April 2014, Hirono joined a bipartisan group of senators in urging Obama to nominate someone with community banking experience to the Federal Reserve Board. She has also supported legislative efforts to ensure that one seat on the Federal Reserve Board be held by someone with community banking experience.
HELCO crews worked through last night to restore power
to Wood Valley residents. Photo by Julia Neal
      Landon served as Chairman and CEO of Bank of Hawai`i from 2004 to 2010. He also served on University of Hawai`i’s Board of Regents from 2005 through 2009 and was board chair from 2007 to 2009. After retiring in 2010, he served as a lecturer at UH-Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law.
      The Federal Reserve Board of Governors oversees the Federal Reserve System, which is made up of 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks. Hawai`i is served by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The Board is made up of seven governors who are nominated by the President and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Governors are confirmed to 14-year terms of service.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

ALOHA KIDNEY OFFERS FREE KIDNEY CLASSES online to Ka`u residents through Ka`u Rural Health Community Association, Inc. and University of Hawai`i TASI Scopia Desktop. The goal is for chronic kidney disease patients to understand the condition and allow them to work better with doctors, family and friends. Participants learn what their kidneys do, what happens if they fail and how they affect health of the heart, brain and circulation and immune systems.
      Contact Heanu at KRHCAI at 928-0101 if interested in signing up.

A volunteer participates in Stewardship at the Summit, continuing in 2015.
Photo from NPS
KA`U RESIDENTS ARE URGED TO RESOLVE to protect the Hawaiian ecosystem from invasive, non-native plant species by volunteering for continuing Stewardship at the Summit programs in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      Programs begin at 9 a.m. and end at 12 p.m. Scheduled dates are Jan. 9, 15, 24 and 31; Feb. 7, 11, 20 and 28; and March 6, 14, 21 and 27.
      Participants meet project leaders Paul and Jane Field at Kilauea Visitor Center. Wear sturdy hiking shoes and long pants. Bring a hat, raingear, day pack, snacks and water. Gloves and tools are provided. No advance registration is required, and there is no cost to participate. Park entrance fees apply.
      Volunteers spent more than 2,000 hours restoring more than 15 acres of native rainforest within the national park last year. Countless Himalayan ginger, faya, strawberry guava and other invasive, non-native plants that threaten the native understory have been removed. In their place, once-shaded `ama`u and hapu`u tree ferns have re-emerged, and pa`iniu, kawa`u and other important native plants are returning to the stewardship plots.


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