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

A free program tomorrow at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park introduces participants to Hawaiian goddesses Hi`iaka and Pele and the natural phenomena they represent. Photo from NPS
HAWAI`I LOST 400 SOLAR JOBS IN 2014, according to a report released by an independent nonprofit, the Solar Foundation. The report compares the loss with Hawaiian Electric, which some refer to as Hawai`i’s largest private employer. HECO had 2,764 employees in 2013. The solar job loss is equivalent to a loss of 15 percent of the largest private employer’s workforce.
      Robert Harris, spokesperson for the Alliance for Solar Choice, said, “It’s outrageous that Hawai`i – with all of its abundant sunshine – is losing the economic and environmental benefits of a vibrant solar industry. The blame for this loss rests on Hawaiian Electric. For almost two years now, Hawaiian Electric held up the solar industry on a false premise. The solar industry consistently maintained, and now Hawaiian Electric finally admits, that vastly higher amounts of rooftop solar can be installed on the grid.
      “But there’s ‘more of the same’ on the horizon. Instead of simply working to allow more of their customers to install cleaner and cheaper sources of electricity, HECO followed the national utility playbook of trying to eliminate net energy metering. It is our hope that the Public Utilities Commission will see HECO’s plan for what it truly is: an effort to stop competition and to eliminate rooftop solar in Hawai`i. We need to prevent even larger job losses in 2015.” 
      HECO recently announced plans to increase the number of customers it will allow to connect solar systems to its electric grid.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Henruy Curtis
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HAWAI`I Public Utilities Commission’s history, more than 30 entities have sought party status in a single regulatory proceeding, according to Life of the Land Executive Director Henry Curtis. PUC Docket Number 2015-0022, considering the purchase of Hawaiian Electric Co. by NextEra Energy, has 32 potential parties: four applicants, 27 interveners and the Consumer Advocate. 
      Potential interveners include Hawai`i County, Hawai`i Island Energy Cooperative, Ulupono Initiative, Blue Planet Foundation, Tawhiri Power, Hawai`i Gas, state Office of Planning and state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
      According to LOL Executive Director Henry Curtis, the organization “asserts that all interests should be at the table, should be able to present their positions and should be able to ask questions to NextEra.”
      The utilities recently sent a letter to the PUC asking commissioners to reject LOL’s motion to intervene.
      Randy Iwase, Gov. David Ige’s nominee to chair the PUC, told a state Senate committee that if confirmed, he plans to hold public meetings regarding the merger, according to a report in Civil Beat by Nathan Eagle.
      See ililanimedia.blogspot.com and civilbeat.com.
      See puc.hawaii.gov for more information about and documents in the docket.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u Learning Academy's founder is seeking county approval to open the charter
school in Discovery Harbour at the current site of Gilligan's Cafe.
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY is on the Windward Planning Commission’s next meeting agenda. KLA founder Kathryn Tydlacka applied for a Special Permit to allow establishment of the charter school and related uses for 65 students. The site is currently Gilligan’s Café, where founders are raising funds for the school by serving meals Friday and Saturday evenings on a nonprofit basis. The facility is on 3.69 acres of land within the state Land Use Agricultural District at 94-1572 Kaulua Circle in Discovery Harbour. 
      The meeting takes place Thursday, March 5 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. Public statements are welcome.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Gov. David Ige
GOV. DAVID IGE IS IN WASHINGTON, DC for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. 
       Governors at the meeting are expected to focus on collaboration to solve national issues. Ige serves on the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee and will be participating in a panel discussion on Sunday. The governors will also meet with President Obama at the White House.
       In addition to the NGA meetings, Ige will be meeting with federal transportation, health and housing administration officials to maximize Hawai`i’s share of federal dollars. Elizabeth Kim, Ige’s appointment to serve as a Special Advisor, will attend these meetings with him. Ige will also meet with Army officials to reiterate his commitment to strengthening the state’s relationship with the military. 
      Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui is Acting Governor until Ige’s return the evening of Wednesday, Feb. 25.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve is seeking advisory
council members. Photo from Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument
NOAA’s NORTHWESTERN HAWAIIAN ISLANDS Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, part of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, is seeking applicants for two seats on its advisory council. The council ensures public participation in reserve management and provides advice and recommendations to the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries regarding the reserve. 
      “Community representatives on our advisory council are an extremely important part of our team,” said David Swatland, acting superintendent for the monument. “Their input is an integral part of managing this special place.”
      The reserve is accepting applications for alternate Native Hawaiian elder and alternate Native Hawaiian.
      Candidates are selected based on their expertise and experience in relation to the seat for which they are applying, community and professional affiliations and views regarding protection and management of marine resources. Applicants who are chosen as members or alternates should expect to serve a two-year term or until a different advisory body is created pursuant to the monument’s management plan.
      The advisory council consists of 15 primary and alternate members representing a variety of public interest groups, including conservation, education, research and ocean-related commercial and recreational activities, as well as the Native Hawaiian community.
      Applications are due March 31. To receive an application kit, or for further information, contact Hoku Johnson, acting deputy superintendent, at hoku.johnson@noaa.gov or 808-725-5800. Application kits can also be downloaded at http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov/council/.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A Hawai`i Island high school student
learns about farming as an intern.
Photo from The Kohala Center
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS interested in learning more about farming, ranching, food production and sustainability can apply for The Kohala Center’s spring cohort of its High School Agriculture Internship Program. Internships offer paid stipends for participants to take field trips to island farms, gain hands-on experience in organic and natural farming methods and learn more about career opportunities in agriculture. The program runs March 16–20, during spring intersession, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with each day beginning and ending in Honoka`a.
      For more information and to apply, visit koha.la/farminterns. Application deadline is Wednesday, March 11.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK offers a free program tomorrow from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Participants discover the Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pele and Hi`iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent through epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on an easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in the park.

`Ohi`a Forest Path
by Patti Pease Johnson
FROM THE SUMMONS OF ART opens tomorrow at Volcano Art Center Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Patti Pease Johnson’s exhibit of silk, clay, pastel and watercolor creations explores colors and shapes of Hawai`i's splendor. A reception takes place at 5 p.m. The gallery is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
      Free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-8222 for more information. 

KA`U SCHOOL OF THE ARTS holds a meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. and a celebration from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Old Pahala Clubhouse.
      Lunch is at 12 p.m., with kanikapila and heavy pupus at 6:30 p.m. Workshops, music and hula presentations take place throughout the day. See kauarts.org.

KA`U RESIDENTS CAN HELP Dr. Claire Horwell with her study on how people cope with vog during a survey at Ka`u Farmers Market in Na`alehu next Wednesday. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/421925067973152/ for more information about her research.

FREE VISION SCREENINGS are available for Ka`u residents when Project Vision’s mobile unit comes to Pahala and Na`alehu next month. Along with screenings, keiki receive free UV protection sunglasses. Adults receive retina screenings for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes, cataracts and more. Adults can also get free reading glasses.
      Health insurance information and education and guidance to follow up eye-care are also provided.
      Events are scheduled for Wednesday, March 4 at Na`alehu Community Center and Thursday, March 5 at Pahala Community Center. Sponsored by Tutu & Me, Project Vision Hawai`i and Hawai`i Health Connector.
      For more information, call Jessica Steele at 808-464-2676 or Betty Clark at 929-8571.


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