Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A state House bill that would privatize Maui County's state-run hospitals could indicate the future of Ka`u Hospital. Photo by Julia Neal
KA`U HOSPITAL SISTER HEALTH CARE CENTERS, Maui Memorial and Kula and Lana`i Community Hospitals, could be peeled off from the state hospital system, according to a Kevin Dayton story in this morning’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
      The state House Finance Committee yesterday approved HB 1075, which would authorize the Maui regional system of Hawai`i Health Systems Corp. to enter into an agreement with a private entity to transition one or more of its facilities into a new private Hawai`i nonprofit corporation. Hawai`i Pacific Health, which operates hospitals on O`ahu and Kaua`i, would take over the Maui hospitals, as well.
      Terms of the transition include continued employment for no less than six months for current employees who fill qualifications of Hawai`i Pacific Health.
Randy Perreira
      The terms also call for continued subsidies “pursuant to a subsidy schedule in which the guaranteed maximum annual subsidy shall not exceed the 2014 fiscal year subsidy and may be lowered based on operating performance.” Also, for the first ten years, the state would jointly fund capital expenditures with Hawai`i Pacific Health.
      In testimony supporting the bill, HHSC CEO Linda Rosen said, “The involvement of a private nonprofit entity has been identified and recommended by several previous studies, including the requested report to the Legislature delivered in 2010 by Stroudwater Associates. …
      “Allowing experts in the healthcare industry to assume more of the responsibility for healthcare in our state can allow precious government dollars to be spent for other needed services. Support of this measure can optimize access to high quality healthcare services and thus contribute to the general economic growth of our state.”
      Randy Perreira, executive director of Hawai`i Government Employees Association, expressed concern to Dayton. He said the bill “would obligate taxpayers to pay operating losses and construction costs for a private operator for years to come.” He also said he is concerned about job losses for the union’s employees at the hospitals. "We’re their advocates, and the fact that so far there has been no promise of any job security beyond six months is very troubling,” Perreira said.
      See staradvertiser.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC COMPANIES HAVE BEEN honored for work in applying research and development by the Electric Power Research Institute, an independent, nonprofit national organization that works to improve electric service to utility customers.
      The award honors “exceptional efforts to document research case studies in conjunction with the EPRI Smart Grid Demonstration Projects” by Hawaiian Electric’s Grid Technologies Manager Darren Ishimura, Smart Grid Program Manager Shari Ishikawa, Project Manager Demetrio Bucaneg and Maui Electric’s Renewable Energy Projects Director Steven Rymsha.
      The EPRI gives awards annually to those who have led technology transfer efforts on behalf of their companies and the electric utility industry at large. For 2014, Technology Transfer recognition went to 46 individuals from 29 electric power companies.
      “The Smart Grid research and development led by these engineers promises significant benefits to customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawai`i Electric Light Company, including better service, faster repairs and more control over their bills,” said Shelee Kimura, Hawaiian Electric vice president for corporate planning and business development. “Another benefit of a modern smart grid will be to help us maintain reliable service for all customers as we integrate more low-cost renewable energy, like wind and solar, which will reduce Hawai`i’s dependence on expensive imported oil.”
      Hawaiian Electric Companies plan to deploy Smart Grids across Hawai`i Island, Maui County and O`ahu in the next few years, pending filing of a full program application and approval from the Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION has approved all 28 parties that requested to participate in its investigation of NextEra Energy’s purchase of Hawaiian Electric Companies. NextEra had filed memoranda in opposition to all parties except Hawai`i and Maui Counties, the state Office of Planning and the state Energy Department.
The state PUC has accepted Hawai`i County's request
to intervene in the HECO/NextEra merger.
      “The commission finds that it is in the public interest to ensure that a broad spectrum of interests are represented in the proceeding,” the decision stated. “Moreover, the commission observes that it has, in the past, granted intervention in investigatory and policy proceedings. Consistent with these conclusions, the commission finds, based on its review of the motions to intervene, and any opposition thereto, that each of the … entities has demonstrated that its property, financial and/or other interests are or may be affected if the proposed transaction is approved, and that each of the entities can assist the commission in developing a sound record.”  
      NextEra’s based its opposition to many of the applicants on possible attempts to broaden the issues or to unduly delay the proceeding. The commission stated that it will reconsider any interveners participation “if, at any time during the course of this proceeding, the commission determines that any intervener is attempting to unreasonably broaden the pertinent issues established by the commission in this docket, is unduly delaying the proceeding, or is failing to meaningfully participate and assist the commission in the development of the record in this docket.”
      Interveners are Hawai`i County, Hawai`i Island Energy Cooperative, Renewable Energy Action Coalition of Hawai`i, Tawhiri Power, Paniolo Power, Puna Pono Alliance, Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative, Hawai`i Water Services Company, Ka Lei Maile Ali`i Hawaiian Civic Club, Maui County, Hawai`i Solar Energy Association, Friends of Lana`i, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Ulupono Initiative, The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), Life of the Land, AES Hawai`i, Blue Planet Foundation, Sun Power, Hawai`i PV Coalition, Hawai`i Gas, Hawai`i Renewable Energy Association, Sierra Club, Sun Edison, Hina Power Corporation, Honolulu Board of Water Supply, state Office of Planning and state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. 
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION DENIED a motion by a coalition of seven groups and two individuals asking the commission “for a deferral of merger proceedings until the Public Utilities Commission defines Hawai`i’s energy needs and fashions a merger policy that defines the public interest.”
      The entities are Life of the Land, Big Island Community Coalition, Puna Pono Alliance, Friends of Lana`i, Community Alliance on Prisons, Ka Lei Maile Ali`i Hawaiian Civic Club, I Aloha Moloka`i, Pahala resident Lynn Hamilton and Maui College Professor Richard Mayer.
Black Belt Francisco Villa, Jr., center, with Cliff Field (Sensei)
and Susan Field (Senpai) Photo from Cliff Field
      According to Brian Shimogawa, of Pacific Business News, the PUC ruled that matters addressed by the petition “have been rendered moot” by its decision to move ahead with its review of the proposed acquisition.
      See bizjournals.com/pacific.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.  

FRANCISCO VILLA, JR. SUCCESSFULLY TESTED for his Black Belt rank in karate on Feb. 20. Villa has been training in International Karate since 2009 when the dojo first opened in Pahala. International Karate League is a traditional Shorin Ryu style karate that was founded by Walter Nishioka Shihan.
       IKL trains every Tuesday and Friday beginning at 5:30 p.m. at Pahala Community Center. It is open to enrollment year-round.
      For information about the league, call Cliff Field at 333-1567.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u High boys volleyball team warmed up for tomorrow's season opener
at Christian Liberty's pre-season tournament. Photo from KHPES
KA`U HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SPORTS are beginning. The tennis team travels to Kea`au today for a match at 2 p.m., and boys volleyball team’s regular season begins tomorrow, hosting Kea`au at 6 p.m. 

WALK-INS ARE ACCEPTED by Project Vision for free vision screenings tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Pahala Community Center.
      Call 929-8571 for more information.

KA`U LEARNING ACADEMY seeks Windward Planning Commission approval tomorrow to begin teaching classes at Discovery Harbour Clubhouse, which is zoned open by Hawai`i County and is in the state land use agricultural district. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. at Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo. Public testimony is welcome.
KA`U RESIDENTS CAN GET IMPORTANT information about rainwater catchment systems, safety, monitoring and proper maintenance at workshops this week. Water quality testing kits and instructions will be provided to workshop attendees free of charge.
      Workshops take place Friday at Ocean View Community Center 
from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
 and Saturday at Na`alehu Community Center 
from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
 and Cooper Center on Wright Road in Volcano from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
      For more information on these and other professional workshops, see arcsa.org.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and

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