Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015

Jr. Volcano Choy, singer Betsy Curtis, drummer Bruce David and acoustic bass player Brian McCree perform at a jazz fundraiser for a new music program at Ka`u Intermediate School. Photo by Julia Neal
CATASTROPHIC FOR HAWAI`I is how Stanford-educated attorney and energy expert William Pentlandite describes the possible outcome of the proposed NextEra merger with Hawaiian Electric Co., the parent company of Hawaiian Electric Light Co. and Maui Electric Co. The Forbes magazine contributor wrote last week that “Hawaiians should think long and hard about NextEra’s track record in the Sunshine State (Florida) before approving any merger.” 
      Pentlandite writes about NextEra’s subsidiary Florida Power & Light’s “notorious reputation for self-dealing in Florida.” He quotes David Cruthirds, a regulatory lawyer who writes for RTO Insider and publishes The Cruthirds Report:
      “FPL designs RFPs (Requests for Proposals) that could only be won by one entity – FPL. ... To the best of my knowledge, FPL has won every major power supply RFP it has issued in the past 15 years.”
      Writes the Forbes contributor: “FLP’s self-dealing on power supply projects has been systemically ignored by utility regulators in Florida. The Florida Public Service Commission is supposed to balance the interests of customers and utility shareholders. Last year, Nancy Argenziano, who served as a Commissioner from 2007 to 2010, described the current PSC as “a wholly-owned subsidiary of the state’s biggest power companies.”
     The Forbes article states that “Argenziano, a Republican state legislator from 1997 to 2007, was not reappointed for a second term as a commissioner after she rejected a requested rate increase from FPL. She has remained an outspoken critic of the PSC’s treatment of utilities.”
      The article quotes her saying, “It’s up to the Commission to regulate (utilities) so they don’t gouge customers. In the last several years, it’s been like an episode of Utilities Gone Wild – getting everything they want from the commissioners – extra-favorable rate increases, gutting of efficiency efforts and walking away from their own incompetence unscathed. That means the heaping of unnecessarily high costs onto customers, to the benefit of power company shareholders.”
     The author writes that one watchdog group reported that “Florida’s state Legislature is nearly as compromised by the influence of utilities as the PSC. Florida’s four largest utility companies hired one lobbyist for every two state legislators and contributed more than $18 million to state political candidates between 2004 and 2012.”
      Pentlandite concludes: “It is by no means certain that NextEra Energy would behave in Hawai`i in the future as it has behaved in Florida in the past. On the other hand, if it did, the consequences could be catastrophic for Hawai`i.”
      The author also writes about utilities having little federal oversight in Hawai`i and about the proposed cable that would carry electricity along the seabed between the islands. See more at http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2015/01/30/what-is-at-stake-for-hawaii-in-nextera-energy-heco-merger/2/.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
THE DIRECTORY 2015, KA`U’S BUSINESS and community guide, is online through kauchamber.org. It can be reached directly at 
kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf and also at kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.
      Printed versions of the 80-page digest will be circulated throughout the district at post offices, financial institutions and stores, as well as government and commercial offices. The annual publication, a partnership between Ka`u Chamber of Commerce and The Ka`u Calendar, raises money for scholarships for Ka`u residents seeking higher education. Ka`u Chamber president Dallas Decker said that annual scholarships follow students year after year as they complete college and technical courses. The idea is to help keep them funded and for them to return to work in Ka`u with their new skills.
      The Directory features a “yellow pages” style section of ads and listings for local businesses. It has a calendar section for daily and weekly activities in Ka`u and a listing of regional events for the year. It features maps of Ka`u communities, contact information on government officials, community organizations, parks and churches.
      There is a section on Emergency Preparedness and others on schools, libraries, hospitals, clinics, animal shelters and county and volunteer fire departments.
      Features include the winning 2015 Ka`u Chamber of Commerce Ken Wicks Scholarship essay and the annual Ka`u Chamber Art Contest that decides the cover image for The Directory. Ka`u Coffee contest winners, the winning Ka`u Eight-Man Football Team, the French honoring Ka`u WWII 442nd veterans and Chamber Endorsements are other stories in The Directory.
      The entire book is illustrated in color photos about the people and places of Ka`u by such artists as Peter Anderson and photographers for The Ka`u Calendar newspaper and www.kaunewsbriefs.blogspot.com.
      To make The Directory even more accessible than being online and in print, said editor Julia Neal, is the plan to put all of the information and illustrations on an app, accessible through many electronic devices. That project, headed by Chamber board member Lee McIntosh, is expected to go live early this year.
      To add a business or community listing or advertising and scholarship support, call 928-6471.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i County Civil Defense map shows paths lava has taken toward Hwy 130.
A MORATORIUM THAT LED SOME PUNA residents to look for housing in Ka`u will be lifted tomorrow. Section Eight housing assistance vouchers will once again be useable in Puna, where they have been restricted since October, when lava threatened to cover Hwy 130 and cut off access to the area. 
      According to Bret Yager, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, Mayor Billy Kenoi said the moratorium will be lifted “since it remains unclear when lava could sever the main road and because plans have been put into place to maintain services to the region if it does.”
      Kenoi told Yager another moratorium could go into effect in the future, depending on lava activity. While lava from the June 27 flow has approached the highway several times, it has stalled each time before reaching it and began flowing in other areas.
      The federal Housing and Urban Development program provides the vouchers.
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Keoki Kahumoku and Moses Espaniola, along with Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, join in the concert to raise money for after-school band for junior high students. Photo by Julia Neal

KA`U INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL STUDENTS can take free music lessons on Mondays at 4 p.m. and Fridays at 3:30 p.m. on the Pahala public school campus. The program, sponsored by Volcano Art Center, is taught by Jr. Volcano Choy, a pianist, vocalist and player of numerous brass and other instruments. After a long jazz career on the mainland, the Hawai`i native now lives in Volcano and has agreed to visit the public school campus twice a week to give classes and build potential for a school band. 
      Choy said he is inspired by the enthusiasm of the boys and girls attending the classes, their musical talents that are encouraged by their families and their willingness to learn.
      The project also involves restoration of band instruments that have been stored in the school’s band room for about a decade.
      Yesterday, Choy, jazz singer Betsy Curtis, stand-up bass player Brian McCree and drummer Bruce David gave a fundraising jazz concert on the grounds of Pahala Plantation House. Also joining in were Keoki Kahumoku and Moses Espaniola, Jr., both of them Hawaiian music teachers for youth in Ka`u, and Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder. The event raised more than $700 in donations. A separate grant raised $4,500 to restore the band instruments through the state Foundation on Culture & the Arts.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Sign-up deadline is tomorrow for a Kahuku forest restoration project.
Photo by Carol Johnson
KILAUEA MILITARY CAMP’S LAVA LOUNGE in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park hosts a Super Bowl XLIX party today, with door prizes every quarter. Open to authorized patrons and sponsored guests. Park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8365 for more information.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK is the site of Friends of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park’s next Forest Restoration Project on Friday, Feb. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will be planting native seedling trees in a fenced enclosure where plants will be protected from grazing animals.
      “We will learn about the park’s native forest restoration program at Kahuku and be able to see the start of natural recovery of the forest,” said Executive Director Elizabeth Fien.
      Friends’ goal is a crew of 12 people, and pre-registration is required. To sign up, contact Patty Kupchak at forest@fhvnp.org or 352-1402 by tomorow evening, Feb. 2. Include first and last name, email address and a phone number.

See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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