• 11 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    I’m deeply concerned about the actions of the National Park Service and
    U. S Fish and Wildlife Service. These federal agencies intend to control how much new development happens in North Kona it seems.

    For example, the National Park Service wants the State of Hawaii to
    designate the Keauhou aquifer as a water resource management area and
    the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service wants to assign nearly 19,000 acres of land in North Kona as a critical habitat area.  In addition, the
    National Park Service was the first entity to intervene in the stalled
    Queen Kaahumanu Highway phase 2 widening project’s section 106 process
    in early 2011.

    These requests, if approved, will impact all new developments in North
    Kona. It strips home rule authority from the County of Hawaii and adds
    an additional layer of bureaucracy to the entitlement process.

    I firmly believe the County and State of Hawaii are in a better position to manage our resources than a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington D.C.

    Aaron Stene

  • 11 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    By Richard Ha

    Here is the single most important need facing Hawai‘i today. Everything else radiates from it:

    We need cheaper electricity.

    It can be done. Recently the Big Island Community Coalition, along with others, helped stop some fairly significant electricity rate hikes from showing up on everybody’s HELCO bills.

    And we are very lucky to have resources here, such as geothermal energy, that we can use to generate much cheaper electricity.

    Here’s why this is so important:

    • We need enough food to eat, and we need to grow it here, instead of relying on it coming to us from somewhere else.

    Food security – having enough food to eat, right here where we live – is truly the bottom line. We live in the middle of an ocean, we import more than 80 percent of what we eat, and sometimes there are natural or other disasters and shipping disruptions. This makes a lot of us a little nervous.

    • To grow our food here, we need for our farmers to make a decent living: “If the farmers make money, the farmers will farm.”

    The price of oil, and of petroleum byproducts like fertilizers and many other farming products, keeps going up, which raises farmers’ costs. They cannot pass on all these higher costs, and they lose money.

    We use oil for 70 percent of our electricity here in Hawai‘i, whereas on the mainland they use oil for only 2 percent of theirs—so when the cost of oil increases, anything here that requires electricity to produce is less competitive. And farmers in Hawai‘i also pay four times as much for electricity as do their mainland competition, which puts them at an even bigger competitive disadvantage. Fewer young people are going into farming and this will impact our food security even further.

    HELCO needs to be a major driver in reducing the cost of electricity. We believe that HELCO is fully capable of providing us with reliable and less costly electrical power, and ask that the PUC reviews its directives to and agreements with HELCO. Its directives should now be that HELCO’s primary objective should be making significant reductions in the real cost of reliable electric power to Hawai‘i Island residents.

    At the same time, we ask that HELCO be given the power to break out of its current planning mode in order to find the most practicable means of achieving this end. We will support a long-range plan that realistically drives down our prices to ensure the viability of our local businesses and the survivability of our families. All considerations should be on the table, including power sources (i.e., oil, natural gas, geothermal, solar, biomass, etc.), changes in transmission policy including standby charges, and retaining currently operating power plants.

    This is not “us” vs. “them.” We are all responsible for creating the political will to get it done.

    Rising electricity costs act like a giant regressive tax: the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder get hurt first, and hardest. If our energy costs are lower – and we can absolutely make that happen – our farmers can keep their prices down, food will be cheaper, and consumers will have more money left over at the end of the month. This is good for our people, and for our economy.

    We have good resources here and we need to maximize them. Geothermal and other options for cheaper for energy. We also have the University of Hawai‘i, the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center and others that help our farmers.

    To learn more about achieving cheaper electricity rates, consider joining the Big Island Community Coalition (bigislandcommunitycoalition.com; there’s no cost). We send out an occasional email with information on what we’re doing to get electricity costs down, and how people can help.

    Remember the bottom line: every one of us needs to call for cheaper electricity, and this will directly and positively impact our food security.

    Richard Ha is a farmer on the Big Island’s Hamakua coast, a member of the state’s Board of Agriculture, and chairman of the Big Island Community Coalition.


  • 10 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized
    SPACE zero waste station

    Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) display (courtesy of Recycle Hawaii)

    (Media release) — Recycle Hawai`i and Earth-Friendly Schools Hawai`i announce the recipients of the 2013 Keeping It Green Hawai`i (KIGH) awards. The KIGH program highlights projects and activities by organizations, businesses, schools and government agencies that promote recycling, resource awareness and sustainable practices in Hawai`i. The program recognizes the positive “green projects” that are being implemented in our community, thereby encouraging others to create projects that care for our environment and take action to address local and global issues.

    To be considered for a Keeping It Green Hawai`i award, nominees must meet at least three criteria established by Recycle Hawaii.  Criteria include practicing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle; protecting natural resources and native species; alternative energy and green building practices; respect for native Hawaiian gathering rights and cultural practices.

    Awardees for 2013 KIGH are The Green House Center for Sustainability and Going Green Recycling Community Clean-Up Program on Oahu, plus Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) and Hualalai Academy on Hawaii island.

    The Green House (TGH) Center for Sustainability educates children, adults, families, and communities in adopting living practices that build on traditional knowledge with respect for the `aina.  In 2009, TGH collaborated with the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to create training programs to prepare a workforce for “green” jobs. Green Basic Training (GBT) is an introductory organic gardening program, while Green Sleeves Training (GST) is an advanced organic farm and plant production program. These programs provide hands-on experience plus job-ready skills for prevocational and vocational needs of persons experiencing homelessness, and empowers participants to be self-supporting by advancing their employment skills while helping to feed shelter residents.

    Going Green Recycling Community Clean-Up Program is a monthly one-stop drop off event held on Oahu and Maui usually on Saturdays at schools, churches, community organizations or government agencies. Private businesses as well as federal, state, and county agencies donate resources for collection of recycling materials. Everything collected is recycled or reused and not going into the landfill.  The host organization receives cash for certain items like scrap metal, cell phones, printer ink cartridges, lap top computers, used cooking oil, lead acid batteries, shredding of confidential document, and HI-5 containers.  This program also supports youth service learning projects designed to protect our natural resources while practicing the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.

    Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (S.P.A.C.E.) is a multi-purpose facility used as a school, farmers market, performance arts education center and community meeting place.  Owned and operated by Hawaii’s Volcano Circus (HVC), a non-profit organization, SPACE was built using ohia and mango wood harvested from their own land in Puna district.  Windows, doors, flooring and other materials were recycled or repurposed from other building projects. SPACE uses a solar power grid tie electrical system and has a 22,000 gallon water catchment system.  Natural lighting and ventilation eliminates the need for any daytime lighting or air conditioning.  Restrooms use sanitary reusable cloth towels rather than disposable paper towels, and bathroom tissue made from recycled paper.

    Hualalai Academy empowers students grade K to 8 through an integrated curriculum and experiential learning to develop academic, artistic, social, and physical skills. In an effort to improve environmentally sustainable practices on campus students formed the C.R.E.W. (Clean, Renewable Elimination of Waste) Committee.  They determined that 61% of their trash could be reused, recycled, or composted.  With financial support from the William H. Hurt Foundation, they purchased recycling bins, recycling stations, and compost bins to place around campus. Students grades K to 5 served as recycling and compost monitors to collect and sort recyclable materials from every office and classroom on campus.  Within two months, a follow-up waste stream analysis found that 35% of the trash could be reused, recycled, or composted. Significantly, paper went from 20% down to 2%. C.R.E.W. aims to divert 100% of recyclable, reusable, and compostable materials from the waste stream, as well as to reduce their overall landfill waste by 20%.

    For more information on Keeping It Green Hawai`i, go to www.recyclehawaii.org or call 808.969.2012

  • 10 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    (Media release) — Online registration is now available for a weeklong series of educational events for school garden educators, teachers, and others passionate about improving student wellness, cognitive development, and engaging deeper learning.

    Taking place June 7–12 in Waimea on Hawai‘i Island, the four professional development events focus on the effectiveness of school gardens as an instructional strategy for both nutritional education and hands-on learning in core subject areas. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 10 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

     Students continue to pay fees for services no longer provided by the college

    “There is no practice of refunding fees when students only partially or do not utilize services.” — Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Jason Cifra

    (Editor’s note: Stephanie Shor is the news editor for Ke Kalahea, the University of Hawaii student newspaper, and an intern with Big Island Chronicle. A version of this article will appear in the next edition of Ke Kalahea.)

    By Stephanie Shor

    Three Student Council members at the Hawai’i Community College (HCC) have been removed from their positions after they say they were repeatedly denied requests for financial records of expenditures over the course of more than two years.

    Along with missing receipts and fiscal documentation of money spent by the administration, questions had also been raised in regard to tuition fees collected for services no longer available to HCC students after the 2013 separation from UH Hilo, and never available to students at the Hawai’i Community College’s West Hawai’i Campus.
    At an emergency meeting called on March 14, HCC Student Activities Vice-Chair Brian Kelii made motions to remove Student Government President Eric Aranug and Student Activities Treasurer Marieta Carino “based on misconduct and violations as outlined in the Hawai’i Community College Student Council Bylaws,” according to agenda records.
    After several fruitless attempts to obtain records from Advisor Larissa Leslie on the spending of budget funds and the location of rollover money from previous semesters, Aranug and Carino say they unsuccessfully appealed to Interim Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Jan Javinar for assistance.  Because of this, Aranug says he was informed he and Carino had failed to approach the council with their concerns before consulting an outside authority, and were therefore removed from their positions.

    Carino provided this reporter with multiple letters and emails exchanged with Leslie, attempting to procure financial reports for her records on the council, however, neither receipts from expenditures over the last five years nor documentation of the approximately $282,082 balance from the Fall 2013 budget have been accounted for to date. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 10 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    monkey pod 2By Syd Singer

    A small community in a picturesque part of Puna is in shock, reeling from the loss of majestic monkey pod trees, their lacy leaves and hundred foot tall branches having graced this area for decades. They was cut down and reduced to chips on conservation land, where the road meets the sea in Opihikao, along Highway 137, locally called the Red Road.

    The property owner wanted to build, as the law allows. Since this is conservation land, he needed to consult the Department of Land and Natural Resources about his plans to clear the area of these expansive monkey pod trees. The DLNR’s policy is to encourage the removal of “invasive” species, so the property owner had the green light to cut them down.

    You would think that the purpose of having conservation lands was to protect our precious, natural resources, such as beautiful trees like these monkey pods. But to the DLNR, nonnative species are all invasive, and therefore have no resource value. Monkey pod trees are now defined as invasive, regardless of their beauty, or how many people value and enjoy them. It is a black and white judgment, prejudicial against non-natives, made by bureaucrats in Honolulu, and affecting people, plants and animals throughout the islands. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 08 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Do you know that our Mainstreet Pahoa?? library only has SIX parking spaces, and we have 5,000 active library users? It is just unbelievable how underserved this area is… Those are the figures I learned today, standing in line at the bank, hearing a woman complaining about people who invent parking spaces in the neighborhood in order to access the library.  We desperately need our state representatives to pursue a new and improved library for Pahoa. It is imperative. The existing library should be reserved for the school, and students should be able to access that library during school and after school. The community library should have ample parking and should be art center as well  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

  • 08 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    (Media release) —  On Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm the Breadfruit—From Tree to Table workshop will be held at Ho‘oulu Lahui, the site of  Kua O Ka La Public Charter School adjacent to the Ahalanui County Park warm ponds in Puna. The workshop is $12 per person and advance registration online is required. Theworkshop will be followed by a luncheon featuring breadfruit prepared by Chef Casey Halpern from Café Pesto.


    Read the rest of this entry »

  • 06 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized
    20140321_usgs_flow_map_400The Mountain View Village Center Planning Group will meet again on Thursday, April 10th, 6 p.m. at the Mountain View School Cafeteria.
    Special guests from Civil Defense, Director Daryl Olivera and from Hawaii Volcano Observatory, Jim Kauahikaua will update us on the Kahauale’a 2 lava flow and emergency response/resources in the Mountain View area. An additional special guest will be candidate for Council District 5, Tiffany Edwards Hunt. We will have an opportunity to meet and talk with Tiffany.
    Our main agenda item will be to review and approve the revised 10 question community survey for publication in Representative Richard Onishi’s June newsletter.  Everyone is invited to attend. — Susan Langer

  • 06 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized
    imageThe Pahoa Booster Club will showcase all athletes at Pahoa schools,
    both regular DOE and charter schools at the Pahoa Spirit Parade planned for
    9:30 a.m., Saturday, May 17. The County of Hawaii Band will be there. A steak
    fry and vendors are being planned in Pahoa town after the parade. Lineup for
    the parade begins at 9 a.m. on Apa’a Road, or Rubbish Dump Road. The parade
    will end at Pahoa High and Intermediate School. Come with good cheer and
    community spirit, wearing school colors for Pahoa, HAAS or Kua O Ka La
    schools. Anyone with a classic car who would like to transport athletes
    and/or coaches and/or alumni of Pahoa schools is most welcome. Call Tiffany
    at (808)938-8592.

  • 06 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Tiffany Edwards Hunt(PR) — Hawaii Island writer Tiffany Edwards Hunt has filed nomination papers for the Hawaii County Council District 5 seat, representing Puna.

    Hunt, who is the editor of the 6,000 circulation monthly, Big Island Chronicle, sees transportation, growth and development, waste management, and public health and safety as key issues that Puna is facing. She is committed to tackling these initiatives and others in representing the district that spans Glenwood to Kalapana and Opihikao.  Hoping to open up the line of communication between the Hawaii County Council and the Puna constituency,  Hunt intends to offer regular office hours in Puna at no additional expense to taxpayers.

    Hunt has covered Hawaii County politics for 13 years, and hopes to offer quality leadership that will result in positive change for Puna.  Hunt has published her free monthly newspaper since 2012 and has had bigislandchronicle.com up and running since 2008.  She has served as a writer for Stephens Media, namely West Hawaii Today and Big Island Weekly, Hawaii Island Journal and Hawaii Business magazine. Hunt, along with publishing her newspaper, is the editorial advisor for the University of Hawaii Hilo student newspaper Ke Kalahea and works part time helping Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences public charter school students develop their yearbook.   She also helps her surfboard shaper husband, Jeff Hunt, with the family’s retail business in Pahoa Village.

    Tiffany Edwards Hunt also serves as the president of the Mainstreet Pahoa Associaton and the secretary of the Pahoa Booster Club, focused on supporting athletics in both regular DOE and charter schools in the Pahoa area. She is past president of both the Puna Community Medical Center board and Big Island Press Club.

    Hunt will be at the following community events this week, to visit with her in person:

    — Pahoa Booster Club Pahoa Spirit Parade planning meeting, 3 p.m., Monday, April 7, Pahoa Neighborhood Facility also known as Pahoa Community Center

    — Ainaloa Community Association meeting, 6 p.m., Monday, April 7, Ainaloa Longhouse

    — Uncle Robert’s Awa Club, 3 p.m., Keliiho’omalu property in Kalapana

    — Mountain View Village Center Planning Group, 6 p.m., Thursday, April 10, Mountain View Elementary School Cafeteria

    — Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education farmers market, 8 a.m., Saturday, April 12, 12-247 West Pohakupele Loop, Seaview neighborhood in Kalapana

    For more information on Hunt’s candidacy or to invite her to your Council District 5 neighborhood, contact Tiffany Edwards Hunt at (808)938-8592, or email tiffanyedwardshunt@gmail.com.  Check out the Friends of Tiffany Edwards Hunt website at tiffanyedwardshunt.tumblr.com , or follow Hunt on Facebook (Tiffany Edwards Hunt) and Twitter (Tiffany Hunt). Or, Google #Hunt4Puna.

  • 03 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Applications are now being accepted for the First Nations’ Futures Program (FNFP) 2014-2015 Hawai‘i cohort.

    FNFP was initiated in 2006 by Kamehameha Schools, working in partnership with another First Nations Institution in Te R?nanga o Nga? Tahu (Aotearoa – New Zealand) to establish a world-class fellowship program focused on building indigenous capacity through developing values based leadership and more integrated solutions for managing natural and cultural resources.

    “Our intent was to catalyze more culturally aligned land and resource management,” says Neil Hannahs, Kamehameha Schools Land Assets division director and one of the founders of FNFP. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 03 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    community training workshops on albizia control on the second Saturday of April and May, in Black Sands, Puna.

    When:        Saturday, April 12th &May 10th, 8:30am-12:00pm

    Where:       Meet at the Corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Road, in Black Sands (map).

    Directions from Highway 130: Turn right onto One Ele`ele Road. Take the first left onto Ocean View Parkway. Park on the side of the road near the BIISC tent at the corner of Ocean View Parkway and Aloha Rd (12 minutes from Pahoa Town).

    What:        Participants will learn how to estimate tree height and the “Incision Point Application” control method, developed by the University of Hawaii and the U.S. Forest Service. Through hands-on training, volunteers will apply their skills to trees endangering the Keauohana Forest, roads, homes and power lines in Black Sands Subdivision.

    Who:          Anyone interested in learning about Albizia control. Volunteers under 18 years old must have parental consent.

    Sign-up:     Space is limited, please sign-up by emailingbiisc@hawaii.eduyour name and phone number byWednesday, April 9th(for April workshop) and Wednesday, May 7th (for May).

    What you should bring:

    Volunteers are asked to wear sturdy shoes, pants, a long-sleeved shirt, hat, bug repellent, and sunscreen. Gloves, hatchets, herbicide, safety gear, hand-washing stations, and refreshments will be provided.

    Why in Black Sands?

    BIISC identified the Black Sands area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods. Read the rest of this entry »

  • 03 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Hi Tiffany,

    As The Big Island Chronicle is one of the primary news sources for Puna, we wanted to let you know that the Big Island Invasive Species Committee is holding two Community Training Workshops on albizia tree control on Saturday 4/12 and 5/10 in Black Sands, Puna.
    These workshops are part of BIISC’s “Albizia Demonstration Project” which aims to educate the public about albizia control, coordinate stakeholders to control albizia in a 500-acre area, and develop “best practices” to be duplicated statewide.
    (In the next post) is a press release on the upcoming workshops and the work in Black Sands. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like more information.

    Dayva Keolanui

    Outreach Coordinator

    Big Island Invasive Species Committee

  • 02 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    Dear Chamber and Community Members,


    We have received word that the Senate Committee on Ways and Means (WAM) has removed the designated $2.8 million for Program ID HTH212 Hawaii Health Systems Corporation for Hilo Medical Center Primary Care Residency Program as stated in the Governor’s Budget Bill H.B. 1700 H.D. 1.


    This funding is crucial to help us further establish and sustain this much-needed program. The Primary Care Training Program is a unique solution to the complex and growing problem of physician shortage on our neighbor island communities. We need your voice to help us build momentum and ask our legislators to reinstate the budgetary line item of $2.8 million back into the governor’s budget.


    We need you to email or write a letter to the Delegates below by sharing any personal story related to the need for a primary doctor for your family, friends, or employees. Please voice your support for full funding of $2.8 million for the Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center; otherwise known as the “Residency Program.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • 02 Apr 2014 /  Uncategorized

    imageAt 3 p.m. today there is a meeting at Pahoa’s Sacred Heart Catholic Church Parish Hall to plan a May 17 Pahoa Spirit Parade, hosted by the Pahoa Booster Club. The parade will showcase all athletes at Pahoa schools, regular DOE and charter. The County of Hawaii Banis will be featured as well. Anyone with classic cars who would be willing to transport players, coaches, and school administrators should please call Tiffany at (808)938-8592.