Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs April 30, 2013

Miss Ka`u Coffee Tiare-Lee Shibuya will entertain with Keoki Kahumoku and reign over Ka`u Coffee Festival events this week.
 See www.kaucoffeefest.com Photo by Julia Neal
THE 5,700 ACRES OF KA`U LAND to be auctioned off at an O`ahu courthouse on May 21 will be bundled, according commissioner Geroge Van Buren. That means that two houses, as well as small residential and farm lots included in the properties, will be unavailable for individual farmers and local residents to acquire through the auction to be held at the First Circuit Court building in Honolulu.
      The 5,700 acres include a parcel of approximately 2,000 acres where Ka`u Coffee farmers at Moa`ula grow their famous crop on under 400 acres. It also includes Waikapuna, a large stretch of coastal land south of Honu`apo that is now in pasture and open space and is the site of much archeology and pristine coastal conditions. Additional land being auctioned rises above Honu`apo above Hwy 11 and is largely in pasture. 
Moa`ula coffee farms are on the land to be auctioned off on May 21. Photo by Julia Neal
      The acreage is caught up in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy of 2008. Entities that bought the property include Windwalker, Hawai`i and WWW Hawai`i Holdings, which borrowed $44.7 million from Lehman for a high end development on agriculturally zoned land. Before additional money could be loaned, Lehman fell into bankruptcy and loans were halted. Developers said stopping the additional loans made it impossible to finish their project, sell off the development and pay back the money. 
Waikapuna lands, south of Honu`apo, are in the bundle of properties up for auction.
      Since 2008, Lehman Brothers has been allowed to reorganize its real estate business and is foreclosing on Windwalker and auctioning off the property. With an all-or-nothing auction for such large acreage, however, it is unclear as to whether anyone will bid. In fact Lehman could end up with the property and then sell it off in sections or raise money and continue the development.
      The value of the real estate for county property taxes is $13.6 million. The money owed with interest is $59.7 million, according to foreclosure documents. However, there is no upset price listed for the property. The commissioner for the property is George Van Buren, who can be reached at 808—522-0420 or email gvb@vcshawaii.com.

THE `AINA KOA PONO ISSUE is reaching O`ahu, with an op-ed piece submitted to The Ka`u Calendar and also for this morning’s Honolulu Star Advertiser. The opinion comes from the Big Island Community Coalition, which opposes the electric companies signing  a 20-year contract to purchase biofuel that would be produced at a refinery in Ka`u.
      Members of the Coalition include:
      Richard Ha, a member of the state Board of Agriculture and founder of Hamakua Springs Country Farms; Big Island Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee and Ka`u sugar mill site co-owner Robert Lindsey; geothermal proponent Ku`ulei Kealoha Cooper, of Kealoha Estate; John E.K. Dill, member of the state Contractors License Board; Rockne Freitas, vice president for student affairs at University of Hawai`i; Wallace Ishibashi, of the ILWU; D. Noelani Kalipi, a former military attorney and advocate of economic and energy development; Ka`iu Kimura, executive director of `Imiloa Astronomy Center; H. “Monty” Richards, of Kahua Ranch; Marcia Sakai, Dean of University of Hawai`i – Hilo School of Business and Economics; Kumu Lehua Veincent, principal of Big Island Kamehameha School; and Bill Walter, president of W.H. Shipman, Ltd.
       The Coalition submitted the following to The Ka`u Calendar. It was penned by Richard Ha:
`Aina Koa Pono is an O`ahu issue in the Honolulu newspaper this morning, following last fall's hearings in Hilo, held by the PUC.
Photo from Big Island Video News
      “The Public Utilities Commission is considering approving a contract between Hawai`i island's HECO-owned utility (HELCO) and a partnership known as `Aina Koa Pono (AKP). Its decision is expected soon.
      “Why should rate payers on O`ahu care about this proposed contract?
      “Because if approved, O`ahu residents would pay about 90 percent of the cost — even though the very expensive biofuel would be used only on the Big Island.
     “The contract between HELCO and AKP calls for HELCO — and you — to purchase fuel from AKP at about $200 per barrel. Today, a barrel of oil costs about half that: $107. If this contract is approved, there will be a surcharge, to cover the difference, on your monthly electricity bill.
     "Furthermore, note that whenever oil has reached about $120 per barrel, world economies have slowed precipitously. Many have gone into recession. This tells us that there is a natural economic ‘stop’ in place that keeps oil from getting anywhere near $200 per barrel.
      “And yet, HELCO/HECO is trying to guarantee AKP a fixed price of $200 per barrel.
      "While a discussion of using renewable energy, rather than primarily buying foreign oil, is warranted, when the cost of those renewables is so unrealistically high that any buyer would look for other alternatives, then that discussion has reached the point of absurdity.
       "What lower-cost alternatives exist for the island of Hawai`i`?
The site off Wood Valley Road where `Aina Koa Pono planned to put its refinery.
Photo by Julia Neal
* “The island has significant geothermal resources at the equivalent price of $57 per barrel. Right now, HELCO purchases only about 70 percent of the geothermal power available, meaning there is more geothermal available at well below the equivalent of $200 per barrel.
* “HELCO currently purchases power from biofuel and hydroelectric sources that make a reasonable profit at today's prices, and don't ask for $200 per barrel. Additional power plants are asking to come on line at today's prices.
* “HECO and HELCO currently buy solar power at prices well below the equivalent of $200 per barrel (in fact, from what we can tell, at less than half that price).
* “HECO and HELCO buy wind-generated power for far less than $200 per barrel, with more potential sellers lining up to sell to them.
     "AKP's plan has technical issues as well. The process AKP plans to use has never been proven at the scale it is proposing; the proposed yield of source material is many times more than ever grown anywhere. There are also cultural and environmental issues.
      “Finally, you might ask why O`ahu rate payers should pay for power consumed by rate payers on another island. Good question.
     "The simple answer is that if rate payers on Hawai`i island had to bear the burden, there is no way this could be approved. That kind of tells the whole story right there, doesn't it?
     "We suggest writing to the Public Utilities Commission if you oppose this contract — hawaii.puc@hawaii.gov — or contacting your state or county lawmakers,” the Big Island Coalition concludes.
Paniolo came from all over Ka`u and beyond to raise money for the Junior Class of Ka`u High School. Photos by Richard Taylor
THE RODEO AT NA`ALEHU held over the weekend to raise money for Ka`u High School’s Junior Class has submitted the results.
In Open Dally, first place went to Chris Awa and Bronson Branco, second place to Danny Joseph and Mike Smith, third place to Alex Gomes and Gilbert Smith, fourth place to Sam Auld and Kalai Nobriga, fifth place to Nahe Nobriga and Edwin Nobriga.
Wahine roping drew many women riders to the rodeo in Na`alehu.
     In Kane Wahine Dally, first place went to Arthur Lindsey and Kacy Boteilho, second to Frank Boteilho and Tatiana Boteilho, third to Kalai Nobriga and Chelsea Branco, fourth to Keola Loando and Tatiana Boteilho, and fifth to Macey Loando and Jr. Henriques.
      In Team 90's, first place went to Keith Gomes and Allen Gomes and second to Frank Boteilho and Billy Benevides.
     In the Po`owai`u, first place went to Ken Meranda, second to Bronson Branco, and third to Kalai Nobriga. 
     In Wahine Mugging, first place went to Chelsea Branco and Nahe Nobriga, second to Raisha Karratti and Cheyenne Fuerte, third to Macy Loando and Naomi Kamakau, and fourth to Laurel Yanagi and Raisha Karratti.
      In Double Mugging, first place went to Keola Loando and Devin Boteiho, second to Kalai Nobriga and Bronson Branco, third to Bronson Branco and Billy Benevides, fourth to Billy Benevides and Ken Moranda and fifth to Dave Borges and Aki Smith.         
     In Ribbon Mugging, first place went to Bronson Branco and Sam Auld, second to Kalai Nobriga and Bronson Branco, third to Shavonne Panglao and Jerry Benevides and fourth to Poch Nobriga and Troy Mandaloniz. 
       In Tie Down Roping, first place went to Ken Moranda and second place Aurthur Lindsey.
       In Youth Barrels, first place went to Daniel Moranda, second to Weston Joseph and third to Kilihea Mackchew.
       In Wahine Barrels, first place went to Nahe Nobriga, second to Hailey Onaka and thrid to Cheyenne Fuerte.
       In Keiki Dummy Roping, four years old and under, first place went to Kohl Pascual. In the five to eight year old Dummy Roping, first place went to Kalia Andrade, second to Blayke Hanoa, third to Stetson Branco, fifth to Khezain Nobriga.
     In Goat Undecorating, four and under, first went to Kohl Pascual, second to Teani Souza. In five-to-eight year old Goat Undecorating, first went to Dedrick Souza, second to Stetson Branco, third to Payton Hanoa
Team roping competition stretched the steer at the rodeo to raise funds for high school student activities. Photo by Richard Taylor
KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL CONTINUES tomorrow with a hike to old plantation water systems and the rainforest. Call 928-0550. On Friday is Coffee & Cattle Day at Aikane Plantation Coffee farm on the old cane road between Pahala and N`alehu. Call 808-927-2252 and Friday is Ka`u Star Gazin at Makanau. Call 928-0550. The full day of music, hula, food, crafts and coffee tasting is Saturday at Pahala Community Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An education day is set for Sunday. See www.kaucoffeefest.com

CINCO DE MAYO FESTIVAL will be held Friday at St. Judes Episcopal Church in Ocean View at 6 p.m. Includes dinner at $12 a person or two for $20. Call 939-7555.

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