Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Protection and enhancement of natural and cultural resources is one of the intentions of the Ka`u Community Development Plan. The draft CDP is now available for public review. Photo from The Ka`u Calendar
THE DRAFT KA`U COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PLAN is now available for public review by community members and other stakeholders. The draft includes revisions recommended by Ka`u CDP Steering Committee.
      “None of the CDP strategies are set in stone,” said project planner Ron Whitmore. Comments and feedback are welcome through June 1.
      Informal drop-in listening sessions called speak-outs are scheduled throughout the district. They are organized as open houses where residents can find visual displays about parts of the CDP they are interested in, discuss CDP strategies with people familiar with the plan and provide feedback. Listeners and recorders will be on hand to document comments. There will not be any presentations or formal testimony at the speak-outs.
      Four identical speak-outs are scheduled. Two on Saturday, April 11 are from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center and from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. On Sunday, April 19, residents can attend from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Pahala Community Center and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Discovery Harbour Community Center.
      Residents can also submit feedback online or in writing by email, fax, or mail.
      For community organizations wishing to offer feedback, Whitmore suggests having comments officially recorded in meeting minutes and submitted in writing to Ka`u CDP Steering Committee, c/o Planning Department, 101 Pauahi Street, Suite 3, Hilo, HI 96720.
      According to Whitmore, the CDP is intended to direct future conservation and development patterns; protect and enhance natural and cultural resources; strengthen infrastructure, facilities and services; and build a resilient, sustainable local economy. The CDP will become a county policy document when adopted by County Council. It also guides state and federal agencies as well as community-based action.
      Copies are available at www.kaucdp.info, with review reference copies at local libraries and community centers as well as the Hilo and Kona Planning Department offices. Two versions of the CDP are available: a shorter “clean” copy and a longer version that includes brief explanations for each CDP strategy. The CDP includes an executive summary and a more detailed introductory section.
       The CDP Planning Team is available to discuss specific topics or sections of the document. On May 9 at Nāʻālehu Community Center, discussions will focus on agriculture at 9 a.m. and coastal management at 1 p.m. Contact Whitmore to schedule a discussion about another topic at 961-8137 or ron.whitmore@hawaiicounty.gov.
      The Steering Committee will review all feedback and make final decisions about revisions before recommending that the county adopt the CDP. As always, committee meetings are open to the community, and public testimony on agenda items is welcome.
      Whitmore said he, Steering Committee members and Community Planning Assistant Nālani Parlin are happy to answer any questions. Contact information is available at www.kaucdp.info.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

KA`U FARM BUREAU elected new officers last night. The new President, succeeding Ralph Gaston, is Brenda Iokepa Moses, of Ka`u Coffee Mill. Vice President is Phil Becker, of Aikane Plantation Coffee. Treasurer is Michelle Galimba, of Kuahiwi Ranch, and Secretary is LAyla Abellera, of Kehau’s Coffee Co. Board members are Jeff McCall,  Lorie Obra and Ralph Gaston. Also attending were Mac Farms of Hawai`i manager Dan Springer and Sue Springer, coffee farmers Leonardo and Joseph Castaneda and `Ua Galimba, of Kuahiwi Ranch.
      Gaston said his main focus during his presidency was fighting the coffee berry borer. He said the organization needs more members to carry out its programs and encouraged all farmers to join.
Brenda Iokepa Moses is now President
of Ka`u Farm Bureau.
      The new president Iokepe Moses began working with Ka`u Coffee farmers in 1994 when she assisted Ka`u Sugar Co. in placing displaced sugar workers on agricultural plots to grow coffee as the sugar industry was shutting down in Ka`u. She has worked for C. Brewer, Ka`u Farm & Ranch, Olson Trust and currently Ka`u Coffee Mill. She is president of Hawai`i Association of Conservation Districts, chair of Ka`u Soil & Water Conservation and board member for the county water department and Ka`u Coffee Festival. She is a retired member of the U.S Army Reserves and is married to Ka`u firefighter Jack Moses, with three children, living in Pahala.
      Founding Ka`u Farm Bureau President Chris Manfredi, now statewide president, reviewed legislation of interest to agriculture that is making its way or has failed at the state Legislature.
         He said the Farm Bureau aims to strengthen existing Future Farmers of America programs and dormant ones like the one in Ka`u. He said the Farm Bureau has been lobbying for a pilot program on the Big Island that would put a special investigator assigned to agriculture in the prosecutor’s office. ‘Folks invest everything into a crop, and to have someone come and take it from you is not right,” said Manfredi.
        He talked about land exchanges to protect ag land and mentioned a possible swap on O`ahu where the state would exchange developable land for good farm land. He said that state money for Ka`u irrigation projects is still in the pipeline.
      A proposal to put an expert in the state ag department to deal with coffee berry borers did not advance in the Legislature, Manfredi reported; nor did a bill dealing with permitting to help farmers markets.
      Manfredi warned of the U.S. Department of Agriculture drafting new regulations for which it will be expensive for the ag industry to comply. He said that if the state Department of Agriculture could adopt best practices for agriculture, there could be some exemptions and possibly lower costs for compliances and lower regulatory costs.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Jim Robo
THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION has given its approval to the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Industries and NextEra Energy that was announced in December.
      “Approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission represents a significant step toward the completion of our merger,” said Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy. “Through our partnership, we will apply our combined expertise and resources to deliver significant savings and value to Hawaiian Electric customers. We will continue to work closely with our partners at Hawaiian Electric in pursuing the remaining necessary approvals to complete the merger and begin to deliver the more affordable clean energy future we all want for Hawai`i.”
      Connie Lau, HEI’s president and chief executive officer and chairman of the boards of American Savings and Hawaiian Electric, said “We are pleased with this substantial progress on our proposed merger. Hawaiian Electric is gaining a partner that is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, with a commitment to supporting rooftop solar in Hawai`i and a proven track record of lowering electric bills. This approval provides further momentum toward ultimately delivering that substantial value to our customers and communities.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

A REQUEST BY PARTIES EXAMINING the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra Energy for an extension of time should be rejected, the utilities stated in a memorandum to the state Public Utilities Commission.
      Ulupono Initiative, Hawai`i Gas, Paniolo Power Company, AES Hawai`i, SunEdison, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 1260, Hawai`i Renewable Energy Alliance and the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism had asked that the deadline to complete all discovery and file all testimony be changed from Aug. 31 to Oct. 30.
      According to the utilities, “If granted, the Motion for Reconsideration will unduly delay this proceeding. The Commission would be unable to review and complete its decision-making on the application in a 'just, speedy and inexpensive' manner, consistent with the purpose of its rules.”
      The utilities also noted that the motion “was untimely filed four days after the ten-day period for filing such motions for reconsideration expired.”
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT, in partnership with the County of Hawai`i, is hosting an energy workshop for East Hawai`i tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Office of Aging's Resource Center, 1055 Kino`ole Street in Hilo.  The primary focus of this workshop is to notify rural small businesses and agricultural producers of renewable energy loan and grant opportunities and to review new application requirements. Topics to be covered include eligibility requirements, application information and tips for submitting a better proposal. Interested businesses and farmers/ranchers are welcome to attend. This program does not allow residential use. T
      More information on the Rural Energy for America Program can be found at http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency
      For an accurate count on handouts, RSVP to Lori Nekoba, Business Programs Specialist at 933-8312 or lori.nekoba@hi.usda.gov.

HO`OMALU KA`U HOLDS A DINNER DANCE, Spice Up Your Spring, on Sunday, April 12 at Discovery Harbour Community Center from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The organization is raising funds to build a Ka`u Heritage Center on property in Manuka.
      “Come join us for a sumptuous spread of spicy and saucy Asian, Mexican and American foods, dance to the music of Full Tilt, the best dance band in Ka`u, drink beer and wine by donation, and enter your name in our lucky number drawing for great door prizes,” said Lehua Lopez. Tickets are $20 each.
      Buy tickets by calling 929-8526, or see Lopez at Na`alehu Farmers Market tomorrow and on Wednesday, April 8.


See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf and

See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_March2015.pdf.


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