Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

A decorated Hello Kitty cabin at Kilauea Military Camp sports a bow and blue whiskers, hoping that spectators vote for her
during KMC's Holiday Challenge. Photo by Dave Berry
MAILE MEDEIROS DAVID, KA`U’S NEW member on Hawa`i County Council, followed her predecessor Brenda Ford in voting in favor of a ban on electronic smoking devices this week. Bill 302 prohibits use of the devices in all enclosed and partially enclosed places within the county where use of tobacco products are currently prohibited and also prohibits use of the devices at all county parks and recreational facilities.
      The bill passed its first reading prior to newly elected council members taking office. At that time, the bill passed six to two. On its second reading, the vote was five to four in favor.
     According to a story in the Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, a recent state Department of Health survey found that triple the number of high school students used e-cigarettes at least once from 2011 to 2013, and use quadrupled among middle school students during the same period.
      Opponents of the ban say there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are harmful and that people use them to help quit smoking.
Maile Medeiros David
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSIONS have given favorable recommendations to changing the approval process for Planned Unit Developments. Following approval with reservations by the Windward Commission on Dec. 4, the Leeward Commission gave approval yesterday. The issue now goes to the County Council.
      Currently, only the Planning director has to approve PUDs, and public notice follows the decisions. Decisions can be overturned by the Board of Appeals and the Third Circuit Court.
      Bill 281 calls for the Planning Commission that holds jurisdiction over the area where properties for which applications are sought to be responsible for review and approval of the application. Public notices and hearings would be required.
      Lands where the famous Moa`ula and Pear Tree Ka`u Coffee farms are located were set up for subdivision as a PUD several years ago, the decision made by the former county Planning director without public hearing or consideration by the Planning Commissions or County Council. The subdivision has not been carried out, but the potential is part of the marketing of the land, which has been put up for sale by Lehman Brothers Holdings, which foreclosed on former developers there. The coffee farmers, who have developed the Ka`u Coffee industry there for nearly two decades, no longer have leases and could lose their farms if the land is subdivided and sold off. The proposed PUD at Moa`ula and Pear Tree calls for many lots smaller than 20 acres for which the property is zoned, leaving the gulches and mountainsides and some other non-coffee land in bigger parcels.
      Chris Manfredi, former manager of owner WWK Holding’s Ka`u lands, recently told The Ka`u Calendar that the company’s subdivision goal “was to create family farms. All exiting tenants were to be offered 50-year terms and purchase options.” He also said, “No one in Ka`u has ever proposed such favorable terms.”
      While the original intent of PUDs was to make for better planning by avoiding simple cookie cutter developments, PUDs are sometimes used by developers to obtain smaller, more desirable lots for estates and houses.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Two fingers of lava are threatening Pahoa Marketplace, as shown by arrows
in regular and thermal photos. Photos from USGS/HVO
MERCHANTS AT PAHOA MARKETPLACE who are closing their businesses in advance of lava that is threatening the area plan to reopen as soon as possible, county Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira told the public at yesterday’s community update meeting. 
      Two fingers of lava are now possible threats to the shopping center, with the closest one .6 miles away as of 9 a.m. this morning. Hawaiian Volcano Observatory reported that one of the flow fronts is stalled, but the other is still active and could reach the center in five to nine days, depending on the flow rate.
      Gov. David Ige, who visited Pahoa yesterday, said it helps to see the flow with his own eyes. “It does give you a very different perspective to be on the ground and view it from the air and talk to people and actually see the flow itself,” Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, reported Ige saying.
      Ige said the state is prepared to continue working with the county on road access and other issues in the long term. “This is not something that’s going to disappear,” he said.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Marco Mangelsdorf
HAWAI`I ISLAND’S ROOFTOP PHOTOVOLTAIC industry may be in a state of terminal decline, according to Marco Mangelsdorf, owner of ProVision Solar in Hilo. Richard Ha, owner of Hamakua Springs Country Farms and a proponent of geothermal energy for grid-delivered electricity, reports Mangelsdorf’s findings on his blog at hahaha.hamakuasprings.com. Ha says Mangelsdorf is one of the most credible commentators he knows in the energy industry. 
      “It’s hard to see factors that would lead to a sustainable upswing (in the PV industry) at least in the next several years,” Mangelsdorf says. “With the federal tax credit scheduled to disappear for residential PV as of Jan. 1, 2017 and go down from 30 percent to 10 percent for commercial PV, grid-penetration issues and NextEra’s (the company that is buying Hawaiian Electric Co.’s) apparent preference for utility-scale PV over distributed generation, the skies seem unlikely to brighten in the near-term for the local PV industry. And forget any immediate relief coming from some magic bullet in the form of energy storage. Ain’t gonna happen no matter how much some commentators predict it along with a mass exodus from the grid. Said pundits have likely never spent any time, let along months or years, living off the grid and the considerable energy, time, resources and conscientiousness that off grid living entails.”
      According to Mangelsdorf, PV permits between January and November of this year dropped 51 percent from the same period last year.
      “The number one PV permit puller on the island, Vivint Solar, has seen their numbers take a substantial dive in October and November,” Mangelsdorf said. Their monthly average between January and September of this year was 92 PV permits. In October, they obtained nine permits and pulled 15 last month.

Hawai`i Fire Department has announced sale dates for fireworks permits.
Photo by Kris Brakken
HAWAI`I FIRE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES that fireworks permits will be available for purchase beginning Friday, Dec. 26 and ending at midnight on New Year’s Eve at the following locations for the upcoming New Year’s celebration: 
  • Fire Administration Office, Hilo County Building, 25 Aupuni Street, Suite 2501, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Dec. 26, 29, 30, and 31; and 
  • Kona Fire Prevention Office, West Hawai`i Civic Center, 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Bldg E, second floor, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Dec. 26, 29, 30, and 31. 
      Fireworks permits will also be sold at the following firecracker vending outlets:
  • TNT Tent, Waiakea Center Parking Lot, 325 Maka`ala Street, Hilo; 
  • TNT Tent, Kona Crossroads Parking Lot, 75-1027 Henry Street, Kailua-Kona; 
  • KTA Puainako, 50 E. Puainako Street, Hilo 
  • Pacific Fireworks Kona, 75-5629 Kuakini Hwy, Kailua-Kona; 
  • KTA Kona, Kona Coast Shopping Center, 74-5594 Palani Rd. Kailua Kona; 
  • Long’s Drug Prince Kuhio Plaza, 111 E. Puainako St., Hilo. 
      Each permit costs $25 and will entitle the holder to purchase 5,000 individual firecrackers. Multiple permit purchases are authorized. Permits shall only be issued to persons 18 years of age or older and are non-transferable and non-refundable. Permits are not required for purchasing novelties and paperless firecrackers. Setting off of fireworks are allowed between the hours of 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Permits shall be visibly displayed at the site of use during the time of the firing.
      For more information on purchasing fireworks permits or use of fireworks, call the Fire Prevention Bureau at 932-2912 in Hilo or 323-4760 in Kona.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sammie Fo performed during Ka`u School of the Arts Christmas concert
at Pahala Plantation House. Photo by Julia Neal
OCEAN VIEW COMMUNITY CENTER hosts holiday events today and tomorrow. 
      Ka`u School of the Arts, which presented a concert at Pahala Plantation House Sunday following the Christmas parade through town, offers another free Christmas concert today at 5 p.m. Featured are Ka`u `Ohana Band, Halau Hula O Ka `Imina Na`auao Kahiko, Hannah’s Makana `Ohana, Sammie Fo and a sing-along with Ka`u Community Chorus. Potluck refreshments are welcome.
      Ocean View Community Association’s annual keiki Christmas party is tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The free event includes gifts, a visit from Santa Claus, food, fun and celebration. Call 939-7033 to volunteer.

PARTICIPANTS BRING LUNCH AND LEARN about the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a lehua tree and its flower during a free program Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 985-6011


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2014.swf.

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