Letters — About Gov. Abercrombie and Native Hawaiian Issues Related To Queen K Highway Widening

Gov. Abercrombie made several inflammatory and counterproductive
statements at a recent Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce event. He blamed the Native Hawaiian Organizations, who’ve intervened in the Queen Kaahumanu Highway phase II widening project, for holding it up.

Federal funds will be used to widen Queen Kaahumanu Highway
between Honokohau harbor and Kona Int’l Airport, so the FHWA and
HDOT is required to conduct Section 106 consultations (National Historic Preservation Act) when significant archaeological sites are found

These issues could’ve been addressed earlier, if they did a supplemental
environmental assessment. However, the HDOT and FHWA relied solely on an
assessment completed back in 1996 instead. This decision is the root
cause for these recent delays, not the actions of these Native Hawaiian
Organizations.

The widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway between the harbor and Kona
Int’l Airport is an important infrastructure project for West Hawaii.
The project stakeholders need to find common ground, so this important
roadway project can finally move forward.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

Laupāhoehoe News — $7,000 In Computer Equipment Taken From The School

(Media release) — Big Island police are investigating two burglaries at Laupāhoehoe Elementary and High School.

The first occurred sometime between Thursday, March 8, and Monday, March 19, during Spring Break. The second occurred sometime between Wednesday, March 21, and Thursday, March 22. In both cases locked classrooms were entered and computer equipment was taken. The items taken have a value of more than $7,380.

Among the items removed were Lenovo Thinkpad L412 laptop computers, IBM and Lenova desktop computers and monitors, and HP printers.

Police ask that anyone with information about this case call Officer Robert Panem or Amacias Valdez at 962-2120 or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Puna News — Police: Man Robbed on Roadside; Victim’s Backpack Recovered

(Media release) — Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the suspects of a reported robbery in Puna early Friday morning (March 30).

A 39-year-old Pāhoa man reported that he was walking along Highway 130 near Pāhoa High School around 2:15 a.m. when he was accosted by five to six young men who were also walking in the area. One of them started a conversation with the victim. While the victim was distracted, the other men assaulted him and removed his backpack. They then fled the area.

The victim walked to Pāhoa town and notified police. He refused medical treatment for his non-life-threatening injuries.

Police recovered the backpack that was taken during the assault.

All the suspects were described as being in their 20s. One was described as “local looking,” approximately 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-7 with dark short hair, a medium build and a medium complexion. He was wearing a black T-shirt.

Another suspect was described as having a light complexion, reddish-brown short hair and a muscular build. He was wearing a black T-shirt and a ball cap.

A third suspect was described having dark shoulder-length hair, a goatee, a medium build and a medium complexion. He was wearing a T-shirt and ball cap.

The investigation is classified as a second-degree robbery and a third-degree assault.

Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed the incident contact Detective Norbert Serrao Jr. by phone at 961-2383 or by email at nserrao@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Letters — About A Geothermal-Related Community Meeting Saturday

Aloha

I want to remind everyone about our community meeting this Saturday, March 31s, 5 p.m. at the Puna Community Center.

Steve Hirakami has done a great job of putting together a forum for “our” community meeting this Saturday, I encourage you all to try and come. If we do not act the planned projects will transform lower Puna into an industrial area with all of the pollution, noise, and impacts of any oil refinery, chemical plant or other heavy industry. Make no mistake these plants are not clean or renewable they will leak, have accidents and be a threat to our families and our way of life, they will change Puna forever. By putting so many of them in the same area the problems we have had with just one little plant will pale in comparison. The impact will be compounded by the shear number of wells and operations to the point that there will be constant problems somewhere. There will be blow outs and uncontrolled events to go along with the everyday “acceptable” leaks and levels. There is no evacuation plan or way to mitigate what is coming. The sky will be lit up over a huge area, look at the light and noise from the one small plant and realize they are talking about hundreds of megawatts. So many they are scarred to even tell us what they are planning, but the mayor let it slip before he realized we were going to be asking these questions. “It’s not intermittent,” he said. “It’s cheap, renewable, clean power”. (that is not true) “How can we not have this opportunity to encourage investment and fully develop the island of Hawaii as a 100 percent renewable energy island?” That is not what he told us. These projects are incompatible in a residential areas they are not done in populated areas in other places. The mayor and the state have shown a total disregard for our health, welfare, and property values. They have ignored us completely while planning these projects. They are looking at everything except how this will impact us. Like my friend Pali likes to say they will protect the bugs and the birds but when it comes to us nothing.

This Saturday there will be an energy expert at “our” meeting with many years of experience, Pali Kapu Deadman president of the Pele Defense Fund will also be there. For those of you who do not know PDF was instrumental in helping us stop them the last time and they have been working on this again with me and other groups recently also. Pali will be talking PDF’s position on the geothermal issue. People in the community have shown a lot of interest on the geothermal issue and in this meeting our second meeting. This will be a good opportunity for us to identify and organize around the issues we are facing and look at how we can best address them.

We also need to talk about how we are going to hold the mayor to his promise to the community that he is going to bring the state officials here to answer our questions. That meeting needs to happen ASAP, we can see they are moving very fast on this and continue to stall us and play dumb on the one hand while saying within three years these projects will be built and operating when talking to proponents. How can anyone say these plants will be built in three years and then turn around and tell us I don’t know nothing about this?

Again the meeting is this Saturday at 5:00pm at the Pahoa community center. Please tell your friends and ask them to tell them to tell their friends. This is the second in a series of grass roots community organizational meetings we are planning. We are depending on you and the coconut wireless for the moment and the internet of course to get the word out. A lot of people have been helping spread the word and sending information on legislation and other things like the article I posted her about what the mayor said outside of Puna. I want to thank you all for your help, it really has made a huge difference already. We have come a very long way in less than 1 month and we are growing everyday. Look forward to seeing you all Saturday.

Mahalo

Bob (Petricci)
Here is a list of documents from Manoa for anyone interested in geothermal history and permitting there is a lot here. These are industry documents, many are geared to promote the projects but there are some on rules and things like that also. Keep in mind they have amended and changed many of the rules over the last few years, particularly this year.

Browsing The Geothermal Collection by Title
 
http://evols.library.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10524/12279

Photo Of The Week — The Mayor’s Delegation For Recent Philippines Trip

Image courtesy of Mayor Billy Kenoi via Facebook.

Mayor Billy Kenoi and his delegation returned this week from their two-week trip to Ormoc, the Big Island’s sister city in the Philippines.  Depicted are those who took the trip:

Randy Kurohara, Director of County Research & Development (back left); Richard Ha and Wally Ishibashi of the Geothermal Working Group; Rose Bautista, County Immigration Specialist; Mike Kaleikini of Puna Geothermal Venture; Jane Clement of the Kona Visayan Club; Councilman Angel Pilago and his wife Nita; Jay Ignacio of HELCO; Paulette Cainglit, the Sister City coordinator; Dr. Bruce Matthews of UH Hilo; and Dutch Kuyper of Parker Ranch. Also in the delegation but missing from this photo was Will Rolston, County Energy Coordinator, and Dr. Sonny Genio of the Kona Visayan Club.

Politics — Councilwoman Brittany Smart To Run For State Representative District 3

Brittany Smart

Brittany Smart  Hawaii State House of Representative District 3 seat being vacated by Bob Herkes. “Due to Mr. Herkes’ announcement to run for the Hawaii State Senate, there is now an open House seat. District 3’s representative at the State legislature needs to have an understanding of the unique challenges that this community faces. Due to my experience as a councilmember, I believe I am able to accurately represent this area.”

Smart wanted to sincerely thank all of her constituents for their support throughout her Council term. At the encouragement of her constituency, Smart seriously began considering a run for the State House. “I am deeply humbled by the outpouring of requests for me to continue representing my constituents at the next level.”

Smart has represented Council District 6, which, up until the recent redistricting, streteched from Hawaiian Acres to Middle Ke’ei Road in South Kona.  In the 2010 election, the University of Hawaii Hilo unseated Guy Enriques

Politics — Bob Marx: ‘Rail Project Will Cost Neighbor Islands Jobs’

Bob Marx

(Media release) — Bob Marx, the lone neighbor island candidate for Hawai‘i’s 2nd Congressional District, calls the proposed Honolulu Rail Project (HART) irresponsible.

“I stand with former Governor Cayetano in his opposition to the proposed Honolulu Rail Project,”  said Marx, speaking to a group of students near the University of Hawai‘i – Hilo. “Increasing the debt for Honolulu and writing it off on rural Oahu, the neighbor islands, and our future generations is not only fiscally irresponsible but impractical.”

According to newly released Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Services, Hawai‘i ranks first in the amount of debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and second in debt per capita: almost $8000 for every man, woman and child in the state.

“As usual, the City of Honolulu will again ask the rest of the State to pick up its tab on bloated spending projects. Importing steel from Europe will not create jobs for Hawai‘i. Working class people on Oahu have been hit hard enough already by the economic downturn, and raising taxes on them is not the solution. As a small business owner, I know the devastating effect that even a 1/2 percent excise tax increase can have on a business.”

General excise taxes are paid by businesses on gross receipts, not on revenue, Marx noted.  “Therefore, even businesses that are losing money would be asked to pay more.” Documents presented by former Governor Cayetano and his supporters at a press conference yesterday outlined the questionable nature of the project’s proposed job creation statistics. Read more

Waimea News — Who Stripped The Bark Off The Trees Earlier This Month?

Image courtesy of Hawaii Police Department

(Media release) — Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person or persons who damaged trees at Waimea Ānuenue Park earlier this month.

Sometime between the evening of Friday, March 2, and the morning of Saturday, March 3, two koa trees were stripped of most of their bark, and five calliandra trees were partially stripped.

Police ask that anyone with any information about this case call Officer Kristi Crivello at 887-3080, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.) 

Letters — To Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando, Regarding Air Tours And Other Aviation Concerns

 TO:  Superintendent Cynthia Orlando
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

RE:  Mission Critical Administrative Aviation Plan/Environmental Assessment

Dear Superintendent Orlando,

Once again, I am extremely disappointed that Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park planners have chosen not to take responsibility for the pollution you are forcing your neighbors to endure.  By limiting the scope of this assessment to park airspace you are failing to acknowledge the destruction park-sanctioned, low-flying aircraft do to the surrounding countryside.  This circumvents the entire point of the environmental review process.

What I can’t seem to get through to you is that the Big Island is, in fact, quite small and that any loud and intrusive activities you sponsor will affect not just the park, but the entire island ecosystem.  You have a moral as well as legal obligation to deal with the pollution you generate that devastates the neighboring homes, businesses, schools, churches and conservation land.  Any federal action regarding overflights must include not just what goes on after flights pass inside your boundaries, but also the destruction done to the neighborhoods located between airports and your park.  Please understand that the following suggestions apply not just in the park, but everywhere on the Island of Hawaii. Read more

Hawaii News — Michael Tokunaga And Constance Cate Are U.S. Small Business Award Recipients

Sen. Gilbert Kahele (L), Constance Cate and Michael Tokunaga.

(Media release) — State Sen. Gilbert Kahele, along with his colleagues, today honored Hawai‘i recipients  of the United States Small Business Administration’s 2012 Awards with a Certificate of Recognition. Big Island residents Michael Tokunaga received the 2012 Small Business of the Year Award and Constance Cate received the 2012 Home-Based Business Champion of the Year Award.    They were among several small business leaders honored by the Senate.

“Small businesses are truly at the economic heart of the Big Island community, helping to serve our communities which resonates a sense of pride,” said  Kahele, who represents District 2, encompassing Ka‘u, Puna, Hilo. “Thanks to strong leaders like Michael Tokunaga and Constance Cate, our community continues to strive.”

Tokunaga was honored for his demonstration of outstanding skills and ability to create successes in the small business community.  After taking over S. Tokunaga Store, a fishing and ocean sports store in 1991, Tokunaga continues his family’s legacy of hard work and determination through the diversifying of product lines and adopting a 21st century integrated marketing strategy.  As a result of his efforts, Tokunaga has successfully grown the store’s operation, provided steady employment, and generated growth in sales.

As the Director for the East Hawai‘i office of the Hawai‘i SBDC Network, Cate continues to be a powerful advocate and leader for the home-based business sector.  She carefully reviews regulations that impact home business operators and educates community members on important issues.
(Submitted by Caroline Julian.)

Ka‛ū News — Coffee Festival Is In May

(Media release) — The Ka‘ū Coffee Festival kicks off 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 5, 2012, with Ka‘ū Farmers’ Table: A Feast for the Senses hosted by Kalaekilohana Bed and Breakfast. The event features an intimate evening of music with world-renowned Hawaiian entertainer Robert Cazimero and the culinary magic of Executive Chef Morgan Starr of Mi’s Italian Bistro. The locally sourced fare includes a paired five-course gourmet meal and a Ka‘ū coffee dessert bar. Tickets are $100 in advance. The event is being sponsored by Mi’s Wine and Cheese Shop, Hana Hou Restaurant and Kalaekilohana. For information and tickets, contact Kalaekilohana at (808) 939-8052.

Second, the Triple C Recipe Contest, hosted by Ka‘ū Coffee Mill on Wood Valley Road above Pāhala, is 2 p.m. Sunday, May 6. Triple C stands for cookies, candies and crackers made with Ka‘ū coffee. Judges include local chef Brad Hirata. Listen to Hawaiian music with Keoki and Moses Kahumoku, tour the new Ka‘ū Coffee Mill, cheer on the recipe contest entrants and sample the delectable entries as they vie to become a signature Ka‘ū Coffee Mill product. Grand prize is $500; other prizes will be awarded in each category. The contest is co-sponsored by Pahala Plantation Cottages, OK Farms and Edmund C. Olson Trust. For contest rules, visit kaucoffeemill.com. or call (808) 928-9811.

Third, on Saturday May 12, get set for the 4th Annual Ka‘ū Coffee Festival Ho‘olaule‘a featuring the Ka‘ū Coffee Experience in the heritage town of Pāhala.  Read more

Hawaii News — 33 People Arrested For Drunk Driving In The Last Week

(Media release) — During the week of March 19, 2012, through March 25, 2012, Big Island police arrested 33 motorists for drunk driving. Six of the drivers were involved in traffic crashes. Two were under the age of 21.

So far this year, there have been 341 DUI arrests compared with 326 during the same period last year, an increase of 4.6 percent.

There have been 349 major accidents so far this year compared with 322 during the same period last year, an increase of 8.4 percent.

So far this year, there were seven traffic fatalities on the Big Island compared with six during the same period last year, an increase of 16.7 percent.

To date, two fatalities were related to drugs only (2), alcohol only (0), or a combination of both (0).

DUI roadblocks and patrols will continue island wide.
(Submitted by Hawaii Police Department via Nixle.)

Guest Column — Charter Schools Face The Financial Axe — Again

By Poochie Harrington

Senate Bill 2115 has now passed through both houses without opposition and will be heard by the Finance Committee this Thursday (March 29th) at 5:30pm.

What is SB2115 I hear you ask? It is a bill relating to charter schools which the Hawaii Legislature website describes as “Establishes a new chapter governing charter schools based on the recommendations of the charter school governance, accountability, and authority task force established by Act 130, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011. Repeals chapter 302B, HRS. Maintains the charter school administrative office until July 1, 2013. Transfers all funds in the charter schools account established pursuant to section 302B-12(i), HRS, to the general fund. Makes housekeeping amendments. (SB2114 HD1).”

To make sense of that, this will take the power and funding AWAY from charter schools, dissolve the CSAO, and create a new advisory body on Oahu, using those much needed funds.

The State budget is discussed at the Finance Committee hearing and it is crucial to make the point that charter students should not be discriminated against when it comes to funding and facilities. In fact, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 clearly states that you cannot create subclasses in education. Read more