Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

Registration is still available for `O Ka`u Kakou's seventh annual Keiki Fishing Tournament coming up Saturday at Punalu`u Beach Park. Photo from Fred & Mary Ramsdell
KA`U’S STATE REP. RICHARD CREAGAN, of Na`alehu, has announced his priorities for this year’s legislative session that starts tomorrow. Creagan is a member of House committees on Health, Consumer Protection & Commerce, Housing, Human Services and Judiciary.
      Capital improvement projects Creagan supports include a second potable water well for Ocean View, Kona Judiciary Building, a new hospital for Kona and the next phase of Hawai`i Community College’s Palamanui Campus.
       Creagan, who is a doctor, wants to expand indications for medical marijuana use to include anxiety, insomnia and post-traumatic-stress disorder. He also wants to pass a law allowing dispensaries of marijuana and provide more explicit permission of cooperatives and collectives for medical marijuana. Creagan also supports decriminalization of non-medical marijuana use.
Rep. Richard Creagan
      Creagan also wants to require hospitals to provide instruction and basic medical training to caregivers.
      Creagan also supports legislation to enact Hawai`i County’s resolution regarding truth-in-labeling of coffee blends. Hawai`i County Council in October unanimously passed the resolution calling for state legislation to require a minimum of 51 percent Hawai`i-grown coffee in any coffee package labeled as a blend. Ka`u’s County Council member Brenda Ford introduced the resolution that also asks the state Legislature to pass a law requiring that labels on packages of Hawai`i coffee blended with foreign coffee include prominent identification stating the country or region of origin of the non-Hawai`i portion, along with percentages.
      Creagan also has ideas for what he calls rural revitalization. He wants to expand opportunities for housing on rural and agricultural land. Examples he listed are elderly, vacation rental, farm-stay and workforce housing. He also wants to reduce restrictions on farm-based businesses including overnight campgrounds, hostels, bed and breakfasts, farm-stay units and cottage industries.
      Increased funding for monitoring and eradication of invasive species and tax credits for solar panels and battery backup for solar systems are also on Creagan’s agenda.
      He also wants to create a task force to decide on proper use of cesspools, septic systems and composting toilet systems. Durig a candidate forum for the election, Creagan said, “We need to really examine the science. I don’t think the geology of the island mandates septic in the upper elevations. Along the shoreline, of course.” Creagan said that if new rules are adopted requirement replacement of cesspools with septic systems, he would support tax credits for composting toilets.
      Former Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Creagan as District V representative last January following the resignation of Rep. Denny Coffman. Creagan then won election in November.
      See capitol.hawaii.gov for information about the 2015 state Legislature.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A large breakout emits a river of lava upslope of Hwy 130 in Puna.
Image from Big Island Video News
WHILE LAVA ABOUT ONE-HALF MILE from Hwy 130 in Puna is moving sluggishly, it’s a different story upslope. Mick Kalber, of Tropical Visions Video, said a breakout 1.5 to two miles from the highway yesterday was “the largest, fastest moving flow we’ve seen in about a month or more, burning the brush to the north.” 
      Video of the flow shot aboard Paradise Helicopters is posted at bigislandvideonews.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

GOV. DAVID IGE HAS CONCERNS about the amount of money Hawaiian Electric Industries executives would receive if Florida-based NextEra Energy’s $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. goes through, according to a story in Pacific Business News.
      “The parties are paying a significant premium to executives of HEI,” Ige told PBN. “So where is this significant premium paid to ratepayers? I hope the PUC and Consumer Advocate (take that into account).”
      Reporter Duane Shimogawa said that according to a recent NextEra Energy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HEI executives would receive a total of about $17 million after approvals are received to finalize the transaction.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Richard Ha is grateful to former PUC Chair Mina Morita for blocking `Aina Koa Pono's
proposal to create biofuel in Ka`u. Image from AKP
MINA MORITA, WHO HAS RESIGNED from her position as chair of Hawai`i’s Public Utilities Commission, is a “true consumer advocate,” wrote Hamakua Country Farms owner and Big Island Community Coalition Steering Committee member Richard Ha on his blog at hahaha.hamakusprings.com. Ha and BICC, which advocates for reduction of the island’s dependence on foreign oil, were critical of `Aina Koa Pono’s proposed 20-year contract with Hawai`i Electric Light Co. that would have refined biofuel at a facility off Wood Valley Road from feedstock grown between Na`alehu and Pahala. 
      “We should be thanking her (Morita) for blocking the `Aina Koa Pono project, not criticizing her over it.”
      “After noting ‘many in the energy industry had applauded (then-Governor Neil) Abercrombie’s appointment of Morita, who is known as a strong advocate and expert on clean energy,’ Pacific Business News wrote: ‘But some questioned her leadership in a PUC decision denying’ the AKP biofuel supply contract.
      “I just can’t let that slide. Who’s that questioning her leadership? Who thought `Aina Koa Pono was a good decision for Big Island ratepayers? Certainly not anybody here on the Big Island.
      “If `Aina Koa Pono had been approved by the PUC, we Big Island ratepayers would have been saddled with subsidizing AKP to the tune of $175/barrel of oil by 2015 — this year. Today, oil costs less than $50/barrel. We would have been subsidizing the difference through our bills. We would have been screaming every month when we saw our electric bills… .
      “It’s because of her `Aina Koa Pono didn’t succeed and this didn’t happen.
Paul Okubo Photo from USGS
      “We in the Big Island Community Coalition applaud her leadership. We do not question her leadership in the slightest, and we regret that she is resigning… .
      “It is solely because of Mina Morita’s leadership that the `Aina Koa Pono project didn’t go through, and that is a good thing. That’s true leadership.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY GEOPHYSICIST Paul Okubo talks about the relationship between earthquakes and eruptions on Mauna Loa today at 7 p.m. at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium. He also provides updates on the volcano’s current status and how HVO’s seismic network has evolved over the past century.
      This After Dark in the Park program is part of Volcano Awareness Month.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

KUPUNA OF HAUNANI’S ALOHA EXPRESSIONS present a hula performance at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at Kilauea Visitor Center Auditorium in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. 
      Free; park entrance fees apply.

KA`U NATURAL FARMING WORKSHOP has changed dates to Saturday, Jan. 24 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Earth Matters Farm at South Point and Kama`oa Roads.
      Topics include learning how to make and apply indigenous microorganisms to your farm and garden; learning how to develop inputs, including fertilizers, soil amenities and pest control with ingredients found in Ka`u area; developing healthy soil and its importance; and soil testing, including how to interpretation results and remedies. 
      Instructors are Richard Perea, certified Korean Natural Farming Instructor and founder of Ka`u Natural Farming; Bill Shock, D.V.M. Research biologist specializing in bio-energetics and its application for the farm and garden; and Greg Smith, owner of Earth Matters Farm.
      $100 for both days includes garden lunch. Register at 939-7510 or gailandgreg@mac.com.

KEIKI CAN STILL REGISTER at local schools and businesses for `O Ka`u Kakou’s seventh annual Fishing Tournament & Canned Food Drive coming up Saturday at Punalu`u Beach Park. Ages one to 14 check in between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. for fishing from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. OKK provides poles, bait and free lunch. Registration is available.
      Call 217-2253 or 937-4773 for more information.


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