Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Friday, July 17, 2015

Ka`u's County Council member Maile Medeiros David and state Rep. Richard Creagan, sitting at left, were among those listening to Ocean View-area residents during yesterday's meeting about a proposed solar project makai of Hwy 11. Photo by Julia Neal
SOLAR FARMS AT HAWAIIAN OCEAN VIEW RANCHOS, a project apparently sold to Chinese investors, received a bashing at Ocean View Community Center last night. The founder of South Point U-Cart, Stan Troeller, who provides propane and home improvement and construction equipment, supplies and services in Ocean View, said the project is an example of “a large corporation blindsiding a little subdivision.”
Native lama trees are found on lots proposed for ground-mounted solar arrays.
Photo from Native Plants Hawai`i
      The investment group has purchased and arranged to use numerous agricultural house lots by clearing and covering them with solar panels. Hawai`i Electric Light Co. plans to build a substation in Ranchos and buy the electricity from the company.
      Concerns coming from many speakers included probable loss of archaeological sites, mature `ohi`a trees and the endangered native lama tree, also called Hawaiian ebony or Hawaiian persimmon, as lots are bulldozed. Another issue: loss of opportunity for Ranchos and other Ocean View residents to install solar to sell power to HELCO, should the project take up all the capacity for the utility to receive solar energy into its system in the neighborhood. Residents talked about losing the residential feel of the community should numerous lots be cleared, fenced and covered with panels. Some houses would be bordered by solar farms and their fencing. They talked about traffic associated with the project damaging roads they work hard to maintain themselves. Community security is another issue. Some said it is a certainty that thieves will steal solar panels, fencing and copper in the remote locations.
      When asked whether anyone could come up with any redeeming value to the community from the project, one person said perhaps fewer power outages. When asked if residents have a problem with power outages, no one raised a hand. When asked how many people opposed the project, most raised a hand. Any benefit to local residents? Another called out, “Not unless we sell our souls.” Several stated that the project would not provide local jobs or any discounts in electric rates.
Most residents found no redeeming value in the proposed solar project.
Photo by Julia Neal
      The group talked about signing up an attorney. West Ka`u state House of Representative member Richard Creagan said he would look onto the Public Utilities Commission’s role in the issue and would speak to the governor this morning. He said he would look into whether the number of lots and land area to be used for the solar project taken as a whole would trigger an Environmental Assessment requirement and also the idea of finding other, state land for the solar project. He said the situation is an example of unintended consequences of policy aimed at making Hawai`i more self-sustaining in energy production. He said to change the law that allows such projects in housing areas would take years, “like turning around a big ship.”
      The Dolittle estate, adjacent to Ranchos, was also mentioned as a place with more than 400 acres with permits that would allow felling `ohi`a and lama trees and covering it with solar panels.
      County Council member Maile Medeiros David encouraged Ocean View and Ranchos residents to organize and said she would look into ways for the community to have more input in such situations. Since solar is allowed on ag land, and Ranchos is zoned ag, it is an allowable use, even though the community is considered residential by its occupants. If the county had required the project to go before the Planning Commission, “you would be entitled to a contested case," the council woman said, promising to look into the issue at the county regulatory level.
      Ocean View resident Ralph Roland said that if communities were allowed to incorporate in Hawai`i, these issues could be handled locally. He predicted more problems on the horizon from outside decision-making.
      Ocean View Community Association offered a place to meet, and committees were formed to study the issues and come up with an action plan. Acting Ocean View Community Association President Sandi Alexander said the biggest problem “is that we found out only recently about how far along the project had come without involvement of the community. We don’t want this coming into the community without our input.”
      Anyone wanting to be involved with the issue can call Ocean View Community Association at 939-7033.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Ka`u public schools are preparing for opening day. Photo from KHPES
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OPEN SOON. Ka`u Learning Academy in Discovery Harbour has scheduled its inaugural opening for Wednesday, July 29 for grades three through six. At Na`alehu Elementary, pre-k through sixth grade starts on Thursday, July 30. In Pahala, school begins for student preschool, kindergarten, seventh and ninth grades on Friday, July 31. Grade eight and all other classes in Pahala start school on Monday, Aug. 3. 
      Pahala and Na`alehu classes start at 8 a.m. Ka`u Learning Academy classes start at 8:45 a.m.
      Call the Pahala public school campus at 928-2088, Na`alehu at 939-2413 and Ka`u Learning Academy at 808-213-1097.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

PUBLIC SCHOOL UNIFORM PICK-UP has been scheduled for Pahala and Na`alehu Schools in communities around the district.
      For the Pahala campus, students choose between black and white T-shirts for ninth through 12th grades and maroon and grey for pre-k through eighth grade. In addition to the T-shirt, students are able to wear shorts, long pants or skirts of their own to complete their uniforms for school.
      On Saturday, July 25, Ka`u High, Intermediate and Elementary school uniforms that were pre-ordered will be available at Ocean View Market from noon to 2 p.m. and Na`alehu Shopping Center from at 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. In Pahala, uniforms will be distributed at the campus office starting Monday, July 27, weekdays until school begins. Some extras are available for those who did not pre-order. The cost of each T-shirt is $7 for most sizes. Double- and triple-XL cost $8.50.
      For Na`alehu Elementary School, students choose T-shirt colors between Kelly green, lime green and goldenrod. Cost is $7, $8.50 for double- and triple-XL. Pick-up is at the school office weekdays starting July 25.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

School meals include a variety of foods. Photo from Hawai`i DOE
PUBLIC SCHOOL BREAKFAST AND LUNCH PRICES for Ka`u have been announced. The charter school, Ka`u Learning Academy, provides free breakfasts and lunches. In other public schools, for students pre-k through eighth grade, lunch price is $2.50. For ninth- through twelfth-graders, lunch costs $2.75. For students on a reduced price program, lunches will be 40 cents. 
      Breakfasts for regular students pre-k through eighth grade will cost $1.10. For ninth- through 12th-graders, breakfast will be $1.20. The reduced cost breakfast is 30 cents.
      For breakfast and lunch, bottled water costs 60 cents each. Milk is free for the first carton; each additional costs 50 cents. Breakfast starts at 7:15 a.m. at Na`alehu, 7:20 a.m. at Pahala and 8 a.m. at Ka`u Learning Academy.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

GOV. DAVID IGE HAS COMPLETED ACTION on bills the state Legislature sent to him. Ige signed 239 of the measures and vetoed eight. Four bills became law without Ige’s signature.
      HB541 requires each University of Hawai`i campus to prepare an operations plan to be reviewed by the President and VP for Budget and Finance and CFO of UH for each fiscal year.
      SB1092 repeals or reclassifies various non-general funds in accordance with the Auditor’s recommendations in Auditor’s Report Nos. 14-05 and 14-13.
      SB1297 amends the cigarette tax and tobacco tax law by changing the amount allocated to the trauma system special fund and establishing maximum dollar amounts that shall be distributed among certain non-general funds after June 30, 2015.
      SB118 requires and appropriates funds for Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, with assistance of DOTAX, to study the impact of real estate investment trusts in Hawai`i.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

People & Land of Kahuku explores the area's human history.
NPS Photo by Julia Espaniola
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES National Park offers free programs this weekend. 
      Participants learn about the vital role of `ohi`a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the `ohi`a tree and the lehua flower. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The one-hour program takes place tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.
      People and Lands of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Participants learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped and restored this land on Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
      For more information, call 985-6011.


See kaucalendar.com/KauCalendar_July2015.pdf.
See kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.swf
and kaucalendar.com/Directory2015.pdf.

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