Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015

A large breakout from the flank of Pu`u O`o continues to pour lava onto the Puna landscape. More breakouts are also active downslope. Photo from USGS/HVO
KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY IS MOVING FORWARD, with the charter school planning to begin classes for 65 third- through sixth-grade students on July 29 at Discovery Harbour Clubhouse, according to Nancy Cook Lauer, of West Hawai`i Today. Another 35 home-schooled students will get support from the school.
Kathryn Tydlacka
      To raise funds for the school, KLA organizers have been operating Gilligan’s Café at clubhouse. KLA plans to build a more permanent structure at Discovery Harbour within two years. It also has plans to offer kindergarten through eighth-grade classes as well as have another school in Ocean View.
      KLA will have a “highly academic focus,” Tydacka told Cook Lauer, because Ka`u students typically are among the lowest-performing in the state.
      “They’re still failing a whole lot of kids,” Tydlacka said, referring to Hawai`i Department of Education. “We already know that most of them are going to be behind.”
      KLA seeks Windward Planning Commission approval to operate at the clubhouse, which is in the state land use agricultural district. The meeting takes place Thursday, March 5 at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. Public testimony is welcome.
      For more information about the school, see kaulearningacademy.com.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A RECENT LARGE LAVA BREAKOUT from the flank of Pu`u O`o that continues to be active is part of the June 27 flow and not a separate event, according to USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Janet Babb, who handles public information and education outreach for HVO. Video of the breakout filmed by Mick Kalber is available at bigislandvideonews.com
      David Corrigan, of Big Island Video News, reported that Babb described the breakout as a “pulse” of lava and said that if a change were to be caused by a breakout, “we would normally expect to see it within two days.”
      Babb explained to Corrigan that when lava first breaks out of an inflated flow, it can do so with some impressive vigor, but “the impressive vigor is often short-lived – until the next breakout.”
      According to HVO, breakouts continue in both downslope and upslope flow areas. One along the north margin of the stalled flow tip approximately one mile from Hwy 130 is sluggish and has not advanced since Monday.
      See hvo.wr.usgs.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira
INTERNET, PHONE AND CELLULAR SERVICE will be more reliable once a 22-mile gap in the island’s ring of fiber optic cable from Pahala to Volcano is closed. At a Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Tuesday, Civil Defense chief Darryl Oliveira said Hawaiian Telcom, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Hawai`i Electric Light Co. and the county are working closely together to find a way to close the gap, reported Bret Yager, of West Hawai`i Today
      The gap from Volcano to Pahala causes blackouts when there is a break in the cable elsewhere on the island, which has happened twice recently.
      The estimated $6 million project would require running cable through the national park.
      See westhawaiitoday.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I ELECTRIC LIGHT COMPANY has selected Ormat to provide an additional 25 megawatts of geothermal energy for Hawai`i Island. The decision follows a review of bids submitted as part of a competitive bid process. The next step is to begin contract negotiations with Ormat, with an agreement to be submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for approval.
Ormat supplies HELCO with up to 25 MW of energy at Puna Geothermal Venture.
Photo from Ormat
      “We have continued to pursue ways to increase our use of renewable energy and lower costs to our customers, while also ensuring reliable service,” said Hawai`i Electric Light Company President Jay Ignacio. “Ormat was selected based on numerous criteria, including attractive pricing, technical design and capability, financial soundness, as well as commitment to resolving all environmental issues and to working with our Hawai`i Island communities.”
      According to HELCO, geothermal technologies provide renewable, controlled dispatchable energy and firm capacity that allow it to schedule and control output from the geothermal plant to its islandwide grid. Firm energy sources like geothermal support the integration of intermittent renewable resources, such as wind or solar, while maintaining reliable service for Hawai`i Island customers.
      A draft geothermal request for proposals was issued in early November 2012. The PUC also selected an independent observer, Boston Pacific Company, to monitor and advise on all steps of the competitive bidding process to ensure that the process is fair and adheres to the PUC Framework for Competitive Bidding.
      Ormat currently supplies up to 38 MW of energy to HELCO through Puna Geothermal Venture, and more than 47 percent of electricity on Hawai`i Island is already generated from renewable resources, including hydro, wind, distributed solar and geothermal.
      According to Tom Callis, of Hawai`i Tribune-Herald, Ignacio declined to say where the new plant would be located, citing a non-disclosure agreement. He did confirm, however, that it would be in East Hawai`i.
      Ormat was one of six bidders for the new contract that proposed projects in Puna. Ignacio told Callis that because none of the bidders offered to build plants in West Hawai`i, where power use is highest, HELCO cut the proposed expansion in half.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Hawai`i PUC Chair Randy Iwase
RANDY IWASE IS THE NEW CHAIR of Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission. The state Senate voted unanimously to approve Gov. David Ige’s choice to replace Mina Morita, who resigned last month after four years as chair. 
      Iwase, a lawyer and former state legislator, told Duane Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News, that the top three cases he would be dealing with are the purchase of Hawai`i Electric Co. by NextEra Energy, the importation of liquefied natural gas and organizing the PUC.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I SENATE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE considers bills related to agriculture tomorrow. SB375 would authorize growing industrial hemp for certain purposes under specified conditions. It appropriates funds for Department of Agriculture staff to assist in registration of industrial hemp growers and seed testing.
      “The Legislature finds that mankind has cultivated hemp as a source of food and fiber for thousands of years,” the bill reads. “Modern production methods have utilized hemp’s oilseed to make high-grade food and beauty products. The stalks produce fiber and cellulose for everything from automotive parts and fine clothing to building materials and fuel.”
      SB 376 establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawai`i farm-to school-program and two farm-to-school coordinator positions.
      The program’s goal is to “improve the health of children through the support of school gardens, health and nutrition education, agriculture and the procurement of locally grown foods for school meals and snacks. A successful farm to school program can increase students’ physical activity, school meal participation and preference for fresh fruits and vegetables and improve academic achievement and student behavior.”
      The vast majority of testimony received so far by the state Legislature is in favor of the bills. Ka`u residents can testify at capitol.hawaii.gov.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Mycologist Zach Mermel
ISLAND MARKET IN NA`ALEHU holds an auction tomorrow at 10 a.m. Doors open at 8 a.m. Equipment in the store is being sold before the store’s official closure on Saturday. A sale of merchandise continues through Saturday.
      For more information, see http://honolulu.craigslist.org/big/for/4901673180.html.

MUSHROOMS IN THE LANDSCAPE is the title of a program tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Volcano Art Center’s Nialani Campus in Volcano Village. Hawai`i Island mycologist Zach Mermel discusses how to use fungi to restore degraded environments. The lecture is free, and donations are appreciated.

PATTI PEASE JOHNSON, WHOSE ART is currently on exhibit at Volcano Art Center Gallery, teaches two workshops next month. The first is Experimental Watercolor, Saturday, March 7 from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Johnson guides students in creating paintings on hot press paper using pre-broken glass to spark creativity.
      Soft Pastel Still Life workshop takes place March 14 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. when Johnson shares her knowledge of color, composition and correcting problems. Participants begin with a set-up still life using charcoal on newsprint to get the flow of arm movements to keep loose, and they’ll complete a 10x12 inch project.
      Another of Johnson’s workshops this month, Paint Your Own Silk Scarf, is full.
      The workshops, held at VAC’s Niaulani campus in Volcano Village, are open to both beginning and intermediate students.
      See volcanoartcenter.org or call 967-8222 for more information and to register.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and
See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_February2015.pdf

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