• 22 Jun 2015 /  news

    The Pahoa Senior Ceter, closed since September of 2014 because of the lava crisis, will re-open on Monday, June 29. Services returning to the Center will include the Hawai‘i County Nutrition Program (HCNP), Elderly Recreation Services (ERS), Coordinated Services for the Elderly (CSE), and the P?hoa Senior Club.

    The Center wad been closed in order to use the building as a temporary fire station for Lower Puna when an advancing lava flow threatened to inundate P?hoa last year.

    “The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the public for its patience and understanding while the P?hoa Senior Center was closed for emergency purposes,” read a press release announcing the re-opening.

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  • 19 Jun 2015 /  commentary, Energy, environment

    On the Island of Hawai‘i, where I live, I have witnessed the best of what renewable energy has to offer – geothermal, wind, water and sun. I was a member of the State Senate when the original statute on the renewable energy portfolio standards, Act 272, was approved in 2001. At that time, we were the only state to propose such a program. As the recently appointed Chair of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, I look forward to learning what other technologies and resources are available to help wean ourselves off fossil fuels and to showcase to the world that the state of Hawai‘i is a leader when it comes to embracing the power of clean energy.
    That is why I was encouraged when Gov. David Ige last week signed into law with great and well-earned fanfare House Bill 623 (Act 97), which sets new targets for Hawai‘i’s renewable energy portfolio standards. These standards were strengthened in 2004, 2006 and 2009. The new law now takes the standards to a more aggressive goal of 100 percent by the year 2045. Hawai‘i, once again, is blazing trails when it comes to setting targets that are good for the environment and good for the state overall.
    I commend all State Legislators including the bill’s sponsor, Representative Chris Lee and Senator Mike Gabbard, for shepherding the legislation through the process. These are aggressive goals and the right thing to do.
    But then I learned of a bit of irony.
    Within a couple of days of the signing of the bill, the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission (PUC) took adverse action against eight solar farms – one was denied and seven were deferred. These projects are designed to add 240 megawatts of clean solar energy to the grid. But the PUC’s decisions put these projects at risk of going away. That’s 240 megawatts of solar energy — which could get us 6 percent closer to the goal — that could simply disappear.
    Why? Did the PUC think these projects were not worthy?
    Not at all.
    What the PUC signaled in its orders was that Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) did not do its job in addressing the commission’s questions and concerns regarding costs and benefits to the state. In other words, HECO’s unresponsiveness to the PUC was holding us back from achieving our renewable energy goals.
    I am glad that the PUC took the steps necessary to hold HECO accountable, and the good news is that the PUC’s efforts seem to be working. Subsequent filings by HECO provide the analysis necessary to show these 240 megawatts can help us achieve our renewable goals and help lower HECO’s electricity rates at the same time.
    Things are heading in the right direction but we need to keep moving. Any further delay will place our renewable energy future – and projects like these – in jeopardy. A dire consequence of a delay: missing a critical deadline by the end of 2016 in order to qualify for federal tax credits. The tax credits are what allow the projects to offer unprecedentedly low prices to HECO’s customers. If the projects aren’t started in time to meet the deadline, they might never be started.
    Not to mention, Hawai’i’s business reputation will be tarnished when investors wanting to help finance clean energy projects will simply go somewhere else. This puts a chilling effect on future investment. Companies wanting to come here could again say, “It’s too difficult to do business in Hawai‘i.”
    Also at stake: hundreds of local construction jobs. This means less money in the pockets of carpenters, electricians, heavy equipment operators and other construction workers. This is the cash they use to pay mortgages and rents, food and other bills.
    With the higher renewable portfolio standards, we need to send a strong message that we welcome more clean energy investment to the state — especially when the investment helps lower and stabilize our electricity rates. That’s why I’m asking the Commission to move quickly. Let us start by giving the green light to solar projects that will move Hawai‘i forward towards a more sustainable future.

    State Senator Lorraine R. Inouye represents Senate District 4, which includes Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona. She is the chair of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee.

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  • 12 Jun 2015 /  commentary, Hugh-isms, news, Obituaries

    Hugh Clark, former Big Island bureau chief for the Honolulu Advertiser and, later, columnist for the Chronicle, passed away from cancer this morning. He was 73.

    Clark, who reported for the Hilo Tribune Herald for five years before before joining the Advertiserand staying for over three decades, was a old-fashioned hard-news journalist. Although he could and did write passionately about sports, he was most in his element when covering a court case or dissecting a political race.

    “He was an old-school newspaperman, a mentor and a friend, and he will be missed,” wrote Tribune reporter John Burnett, announcing the death on the Big Island Press Club’s Facebook page.

    Clark “trained himself to remember arcane details of news stories and personalities, and what he couldn’t remember was contained in a remarkable filing system that half-filled his second-floor walkup office in the century-old Hilo Drug Building overlooking Hilo Bay,” wrote Advertiser reporter Jan TenBruggengate when Clark retired from the paper in 2002. “He is a journalist of the old school, and held out against computer technology for as long as he could, comfortable in the days when bureau reporters pounded on clattering teletype machines, a telephone cradled on one shoulder and a pencil behind the other ear.”

    “I am not a techy, and really have no desire to become one,” he once admitted in a letter to the editor.

    But Clark couldn’t get the ink out of his blood, even in retirement, even in the electronic age. He began writing his “Hugh-isms” column for for the Chronicle’s Web site in 2012 and learned to exercise a talent that he had kept carefully in check over his reporting years: a knack for expressing strong personal opinions, often with an acidic wit. Comparing the 2012 county elections with those in 1976, for instance, Clark noted that both elections featured “Plenty of ornery debate, threatening and juvenile conflict and… acrimony that seemingly never would end.” In another column, Clark groused that the Transportation Safety Administration had “done far more to terrorize American travelers than any Muslim group.” In an open letter to New West Broadcasting’s Chris Leonard, he wrote, “Just read you have fired [conservative commentator Rush] Limbaugh. I always liked you and now I know better why.” Commenting on an attack by the Tribune-Herald on alocal politician, he remarked, “Did (Hawaii Tribune-Herald editor David) Bock have the decency to forewarn you guys he was going to declare war? Or was this a Pearl Harbor event?”

    Cancer has finally stilled that curmudgeonly, honest voice. Rest in peace, Hugh.


    –Alan McNarie

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  • 10 Jun 2015 /  Crime, news

    Fortunately, it’s a Polaris Ranger utility vehicle, not a Polaris missile. At 9 a.m. on December 8, police responded to a report of a burglary at the Keaukaha Military Reserve on Kekuanaoa Street and  learned that the vehicle had been removed from a bunker on the base. Value of the vehicle is estimated at $16,000. It’s still missing, and the police are seeking the public’s help to find it.

    Police ask anyone with any information about this incident to call the Police Departments non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Dean Uyetake at 961-2379 or dean.uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov.

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.


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  • 09 Jun 2015 /  Economics, Energy, environment

    Governor David Ige has signed  four energy bills,  including one that could make Hawaii the first state in the Union to require utilities to generate 100 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy resources. That bill, HB623, will phase in the use of renewable electricity sources until 100 percent of electrical utilities’ power output is generated from such sources by the end of 2045. Other bills would require the University of Hawaii to use renewable energy, would make it easier for consumers to purchase solar-generated power from sites away from their homes, and would create the post of state administrator to promote hydrogen-based energy technologies. The bills now become law.
    “As the most oil dependent state in the nation, Hawai’i spends roughly $5 billion a year on foreign oil to meet its energy needs. Making the transition to renewable, indigenous resources for power generation will allow us to keep more of that money at home, thereby improving our economy, environment and energy security,” Ige said.
    “Setting a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard will help drive investment in Hawai’i’s growing clean energy sector,” Luis Salaveria, Hawai’i’s director of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, who noted “Our commitment to clean energy has already attracted entrepreneurs and businesses from around the world.”
    “Renewable energy projects are already producing cheaper power than new fossil fuel projects in Hawai’i, and it’s only going to get cheaper as renewable technology advances, unlike fossil fuels which will only grow more expensive as they become more difficult to extract from a shrinking supply,” said Representative Chris Lee, Chair of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee. “The faster we move toward renewable energy, the faster we can stop exporting billions from our local economy to import expensive fossil fuels.”
    Ige also signed bill SB1050, which will set up a framework to allow renters, condominium owners, and others to purchase electricity generated at an off-site energy facility, such as a large-scale solar farm. The new law will also provide relief to homeowners and businesses located on highly saturated circuits that cannot accommodate additional photovoltaic installations.
    “As of March 2015, there are about 56,000 PV/Solar systems on rooftops. These folks are saving tremendously on their electricity bills. That’s great, but what about the 44 percent of Hawai’i residents who don’t own their homes? And those without roof space? SB1050 allows people to form a hui, find a piece of land, and purchase or lease however many PV panels they want and then get a credit on their electricity bill for the energy they produce. We spend $3-5 billion annually buying fossil fuels; this is an awesome concept that will keep some of the money here to help our economy,” commented Senator Mike Gabbard, who chaired the Senate Committee on Transportation and Energy when bill SB1050 was created.

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  • 09 Jun 2015 /  Crime, environment, news

    The “bullet hole” in the Subaru Telescope’s door was actually made by a bolt, and the staff knew about  six months ago.

    The alleged bullet hole was widely  reported by the media, including the Honolulu Star Advertiser, two days ago, after after an unidentified source reported the hole to the Hawaii County Police Department.   But when a police detective investigated the scene on Monday, June 8,  he determined that the hole in a door to the observatory was caused by a bolt from an adjacent wall and that it had been there for approximately six months.

    The police said that the case the case of the bullet-pierced observatory “will be closed as unfounded.”

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  • The Big Island Press Club invites the public to a luncheon talk on Thursday, June 18, from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Restaurant Kenichi to hear about The Grassroot Institute’s Transparency Initiative.

    The  initiative has broken new ground in shedding a light on holding government in Hawaii accountable. Grassroot has been able to uncover amazing information, which will be uploaded for journalists and the public at OpenHawaii.org.

    Among the findings:
    ? The top ten highest state public pensions for retirees last year.
    ? The average pension and base salary for every state department.
    ? The salaries, overtime, and bonus pay, and other information for every county.

    Through a series of open records requests, and with the help of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, and the Office of Information Practices, Grassroot President Keli’i Akina and policy analyst Joe Kent will review the work that Grassroot Institute has done for a better government, economy, and society in Hawaii.

    The institute’s speakers also will share of its struggles to advance transparency in Hawaii, especially with regard to Hawaii County, which has been one of the least transparent counties in terms of salary and overtime pay. In addition, the speakers will review their transparency work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Employee Retirement System, among other agencies.

    “A society built on democracy rests on an informed public. Now more than ever, it’s important that we say “E Hana Kakou, let’s work together,” toward an open and transparent government.,” Akina said.

    The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit 501(c)3 public policy think tank, dedicated to advancing individual liberty, the freemarket, and limited, accountable government.

    Reservations are required. The cost of the buffet lunch (chicken katsu, furikake panko salmon, yakisoba, salad, vegetable, beverage) at Restaurant Kenichi, 684 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, is $20.

    Register with a credit card at https://bipcgrassrootinstitute.eventbrite.com ($2.09 processing fee) or contact Robert Duerr surf77@mac.com or 808-937-9104. Those interested may also send check to BIPC P. O. Box 1920, Hilo HI 96721, to arrive no later than June 16. Parking is available at Aupuni Center, across the street, for 25 cents per hour.

    The Big Island Press Club has been dedicated to journalism and the public’s right to know about the workings of government, business and communities on Hawaii island since 1967.

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  • 04 Jun 2015 /  Uncategorized

    If you’re looking for swim classes for your Keiki this summer, check in with the Department of Parks and Recreation.

    imageRegistration for swim lessons is happening this week at the Pahoa Aquatic Swimming Pool. If you are interested, show up at the pool today. Sign-up starts at 2 p.m., but parents start lining up as early as three hours beforehand. Staff at the Pahoa Aquatic Swimming Pool day there are double the amount of swim classes this summer, due to the number of swim instructors increasing from one to three. I can offer a personal testament to the Department of Parks and Recreation swim instruction. One of my children participated last year. She got so involved in swimming she signed up for the novice swim team afterward. Swim classes are two weeks per session and run $15 per session. Bring cash to the sign-up today. Classes run through July. There are shorter, one-week sessions in July that cost $10 per session. There is also a learn-to-dive class offered, and mommy-and-baby swim classes offered. These classes will not disappoint. Hats off to our pool lifeguards! And a special thank you to our Pahoa team for increasing the number of swim instructors and classes this summer! Any questions? Call the Pahoa pool at (808)965-2700.  — Tiffany Edwards Hunt

  • 03 Jun 2015 /  environment, letters

    Dear Editor,

    Why did the dolphins disappear?

    At the last Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) meeting on Hawai’i Island, economist Paul Brewbaker presented a dizzying array of charts and graphs showing the billions of dollars TMT would generate.

    Someone asked: What do you consider sacred? He paused. Then he recalled a special place where he used to see spinner dolphins—till, one day, they disappeared.

    How much money would an economist sell his mother for?

    If Mauna Kea were not here, could we imagine it, or build it?

    Can we know the right answers before we know the right questions?

     Why did the dolphins disappear?

     Cory (Martha) Harden

    Hilo, Hawaii

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  • 03 Jun 2015 /  Uncategorized


  • With news that the National Weather Service expects a more severe hurricane season than usual, Big Island residents–especially those in lover Puna–may be recalling the purgatory created by albizia trees during Tropical Storm Iselle, when the large, invasive, brittle trees fell by the thousands and isolated entire neighborhoods.

    With the prevention of similar future experiences in mind, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee is hosting a series of workshops on how to lessen the albizia menace.

    “At the workshops, we focus on providing information to teams and individuals who want to take action on a specific area of their neighborhood,” notes the BIISC announcement for the workshops.   “Working with the community organizer, these leaders will address both hazard and non-hazard trees in their selected area.  Trees that directly threaten roads, structures or utility lines should only be removed by a certified arborist.  At the workshops, you will be provided with resources to help you contact private landowners to notify them about hazard trees.  You will also learn how to safely and effectively use small amounts of herbicide to treat non-hazard trees and stop the spread of the “keiki” albizia that are popping up.”

    In addition to the informational session, the BIISC albizia  control crew will give residents hands-on training to community volunteers. Those who wish to participate in the training should wear sturdy, closed toe shoes, long pants, and a long sleeved shirt, and bring their own water bottles (Water refills will be provided).  Also recommended, in case the crew runs into little fire annts:   “a hat and towel or cloth you can use to protect your neck and collarline,”  since disturbed ants may fall out of the trees.


    May 9 Hawaiian Shores Community Center (“The Stables”) 9 a.m.-12 p. m.

    June 6 Leilani Estates 9 a.m. Community Center- Info Table / 10 a.m. – Demo & Workshop

    June 20 Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center – 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

    June 20 Nanawale Estates – 9 a.m. The Longhouse


    Those who wish to sign up for a workshop or need more information can contact biisc@hawaii.edu.

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  • 02 Jun 2015 /  Crime, news

    From the Hawaii Police Department:

    Hawai’i Island police are investigating the theft of weed whackers over the weekend from Hawai?i County’s Pana`ewa Zoo.

    Sometime between 6:45 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Sunday (May 31), 10 red Shindaiwa model T282X weed trimmers, valued at $600 each, were removed from the zoo’s premises. One of them was later recovered from nearby bushes.

    Police ask anyone with information about this case to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

    Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 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.

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  • 01 Jun 2015 /  Uncategorized


  • The Natural Farming Hawai’i June potluck meeting will be about looking through the microscope to understand the benefits of natural farming down to their smallest detail.

    Soil isn’t just a dead medium in which crops grow; it’s a matrix of living things, some beneficial, some harmful.  In healthy soil, microorganisms interact in complimentary ways, but pesticides herbicides fertilizers can disrupt that balance.  The presentation at the meeting will cover how to use the microscope, how to identify bacteria, fungus, and nematodes, and what all this means for soil health.

    The potluck meeting takes place on the second Tuesday of each month–in this case, June 9, June 9th, 2015, at  6-8 p.m at the Komohana Ag Research Center in Hilo, Hawai’i.


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  • 31 May 2015 /  news
    From the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office:
    The Hawai’i Supreme Court today dismissed a legal challenge raised by
    four individual plaintiffs to the Hawai’i Marriage Equality Act of 2013. The 2013 law
    changed Hawaii’s statutes regarding marriage so that same-sex couples could marry.
    The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs were not harmed or injured by the Marriage
    Equality Act and therefore did not have standing to challenge it.
    “The most important part of the Supreme Court’s ruling was its conclusion that the
    ‘legislature’s decision to extend the right to marry to same-sex couples did not, in any
    way, diminish the right to marry’ for the plaintiffs or anyone else,” said Attorney General
    Doug Chin, quoting the opinion.
    “This is an exciting time for marriage equality in our country, as we await the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that will govern so many other States,” said Deputy Attorney General Deirdre Marie-Iha, who argued on b ehalf of the defendants. “We hope that the United States Supreme Court will recognize, as our Supreme Court did today,
    that those who oppose marriage equality are ‘harmed not at all when others are given the liberty to choose their own life partners and a re shown the respect that comes with formal marriage.’ ”