Richard Ha writes:
On Saturday, I was on a geothermal panel at the Hawai‘i Island Democratic Party Convention, which was held at the Volcano Art Center.
Also on the panel were State Senator Russell Ruderman and former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.
It went very well and I'm very optimistic. I think most of us just want to do the best for all of us.
I made it a point to tell the audience that I went to O‘ahu on behalf of the Big Island Community Coalition and testified in favor of four geothermal bills. What the four bills had in common is that they all contained provisions for “home rule.” I told the audience: This was so you could have a say in the geothermal issue.
My main point was that we are competing with the world for oil. And we need to seek a competitive advantage for the Big Island, and this has to do with cost.
We all know that the price of oil price rise; it’s only a matter of when, and how high. So if we can find a lowest cost solution, this will protect us from a rising oil price. It does not matter what the alternative is, so long as it gives us a competitive advantage.
Right now, it’s geothermal that has the potential for giving us that competitive advantage, assuming we don’t drive up its cost so high that we lose that advantage. Whether or not we achieve its potential is up to our leaders and to the Puna community.
Here’s what I told the Democratic Party Convention:
We are on a search for "competitive advantage" for the Big Island. Organisms, organizations and civilizations do this – it is called “survival of the fittest.” It isn't the strongest or the smartest that survive; it's the ones that can adapt – Charles Darwin
My name is Richard Ha. I am a farmer here on the Big Island. Together with our 70 workers, we farm 600 fee simple acres at Pepe‘ekeo. We have produced multi-millions of pounds of bananas and tomatoes over the past 35 years.
In my search to find competitive advantage for my farm’s future, I've now been to five Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conferences.
Here is what I took away from these conferences:
ELECTRICITY ON THE BIG ISLAND
Education is the best predictor of family income. Yet the Big Island’s high electricity cost takes away from its education budget.
Rising electricity rates act like a giant regressive tax. The folks who are able to leave the grid for PV do so. The folks left behind pay more for the grid. Many of these folks are the ones already on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder: THE ONES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS CONCERNED ABOUT.
Rising electricity rates take away discretionary income. Two-thirds of our economy is made up of consumer spending. Bottom-up economics benefit all, from the rubbah slippah folks to the shiny shoe folks.
I asked Dr. Carl Bonham: What happens if the oil price hit $200 per barrel? He replied that it would devastate our tourism industry.
I asked Dr. Bonham: What if we used geothermal as our primary base power? Wouldn't we have a competitive advantage to the rest of the world as the oil price rose? He said, “YES.”
And, I asked, isn't it fair to say that our standard of living would rise? He said: "YES."
By giving the Big Island a competitive advantage in electricity rates, we can take care of all of us; not just a few of us.
WHERE ARE WE TODAY?
We are on a good track.
These 110MWs of stable, affordable electricity base power represent 60 percent of the Big Island’s peak power usage.
O‘ahu has 10 percent of its base power electricity coming from stable affordable sources.
If we all work together, to take care of each other, we can be on track to have a competitive advantageover the rest of the world.
Some good resources on this topic:
Geothermal Assessment & Roadmap is a report compiled by the Pacific International Center For High Technology Research (PICHTR) under contract to Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, University of Hawaii in January 2013.
Peak Oil Warning From an IMF Expert: Interview with Michael Kumhof is a modeling done by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) economic team. Although it is not an official IMF document, it was done by the team that does economic analysis and modeling for the IMF.
We are dependent on air transportation, and this video, Charles Schlumberger: Out of Gas: Implications for Transportation, gives a sobering view of what we can expect in the future. Dr. Schlumberger is head of the air transport division of the World Bank.
Richard Ha writes:
Our hydro is all hooked up and we are ready to throw the switch.
HELCO is meeting with whoever they meet with on O‘ahu on Tuesday, and we will get instructions for the Standard Inter Connect. We cannot wait.
We will have stable and low-cost electricity. This will give us the ability to refrigerate and consolidate produce for area farmers. We plan to expand the number of farmers and type of crops growing on our land.
We are looking into growing portabello mushrooms, and are in the process of growing our first batch. When we get into commercial production, we will end up with compost and that will allow us to get into organic food production. The electricity we generate will help the controlled atmosphere and sterilizing process.
We are also in the process of getting into aquaponic fish production.
Lots of exciting things going on.
Richard Ha writes:
Incidents of Banana Bunchy Top Virus (BBTV) have been increasing in this past year.
Fortunately, the Department of Agriculture has filled the slot that became open when Kyle Onuma retired. Kyle did an incredible job with the resources he had.
Now Kamran Fujimoto has been placed in Kyle’s slot. He is good! It’s been just a few weeks since Kamran came on board, and he’s already treated 14 BBTV sites in the Hilo area, consisting of 38 banana clumps and 167 infected plants.
This video describes the disease, and the method of control.
"Three Minutes on Banana Bunch Top Virus: What You Need to Know"
Once the Hilo area is done, Kamran will turn his attention to the Kea‘au/Puna area. The BIBGA will help Kamran do a survey of the subdivisions. We will be sure to notify the community associations to coordinate.
Also, the Big Island Banana Growers is planning an education program about the virus. It will consist of printed materials, social media, County Fair info and working with people who supply or sell banana plants. If you see an infected plant, call the Department of Agriculture at 974-4145.
People seeking banana keiki should make sure that the source is not infected. Be especially careful when sourcing from the Kea‘au/Puna area. We are finding that many new infected plantings are originating from there.
Our approach is a collaborative one, and we are very grateful to homeowners who have been willing to help us. This is not only beneficial to commercial growers – if we work hard at eradication, homeowners will be able to continue raising bananas. If not, bananas will become very hard to grow at home.
O‘ahu is a good example of runaway BBTV in neighborhoods. Commercial growers are still growing bananas there, but for some homeowners, growing their own bananas is becoming only a memory.
This video, “Bananas at Risk in Kea‘au, Hawai‘i,” was taken just a short time ago, but the land has been bulldozed since.
The plants there must be eradicated, though, or the land will continue to serve as a reservoir from which BBTV can be spread.
Richard Ha writes:
Yesterday I testified before the Hawai‘i County Council. I was testifying against Act 79, which would prohibit GMOs not already growing on the Big Island.
Note: We do not grow any GMO on our farm.
But the point I was wanting to make is that farming used to be an honorable profession where you could make a living. Now farmers are losing money right and left, wondering whether they will continue to farm, and they are not encouraging their children to do so.
If we farmers are going to survive, we are going to need access to the most modern techniques and technologies. This Act would cut off our ability to use modified crops that are resistent to disease, if needed. It would mean foregoing potential help, like when the banana industry faced a virus 15 years ago. At that time, they started working on genetically modified techniques that would have helped the banana industry greatly, though ultimately it didn't happen.
Genetic modification also saved the papaya industry here in Hawai‘i; without the Rainbow papaya, we would no longer have a papaya industry at all.
Jason Moniz also testified yesterday. He was representing the Hamakua Farm Bureau and requested the bill be killed, saying it threatens the “well-being” of farmers and ranchers.
“Frankly, I’m sick and tired of having to defend my life’s work,” he said.
This feeling is increasingly being discussed at dinner tables in the farming community. They are asking themselves, “Is it worth it" to continue farming?
What will happen when all our farmers get out of the business?
My name is Richard Ha, and I’m representing Hamakua Springs Country Farms.
Hamakua Springs Country Farms is a 600-acre, fee simple, diversified Ag farm. We have produced multi-millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables over the years. We have 70 workers who work with us and have more than 30 years of experience in producing food
1. Farmers are being pitted against each other. This is not good. We need all farmers to help provide food for an uncertain future.
2. Farmers have been losing ground, not gaining ground. Even if you give farmers free rent, it is not guaranteed that they will make money. A UHERO report shows that ag, as a percentage of GDP, has been steadily declining. Food security depends on farmers farming. If the farmers made money, they would farm.
3. Farmers are right now making plans to quit and sell their lands. They cannot tell their children with a clear conscience to carry on, when all they see is conflict and no support.
Here is a solution. Cheaper electricity can give us a competitive edge. The mainland uses oil for only two percent of its electricity generation. We use it for more than 70 percent. That is why farmers have a hard time doing value-added. Any food manufactured on the mainland with electricity embedded in it has a competitive edge over us.
Seventy nine percent of the students at the Pahoa School complex take advantage of the free/reduced lunch program, and qualification is determined by family income. That means the Pahoa area has the lowest family income in the state! Pahoa is number one in the state. Ka‘u is second, and Kea‘au is third.
Our electricity rates have been higher than Oahu’s for as long as anyone can remember. That means less of our education dollar is going to actually teaching Big Island students. Yet, education is the best predictor of family income.
If we could lower and stabilize our electricity cost, farmers, distributors and retailers would have lower refrigeration costs. Food costs would go down. Farmers could manufacture value-added food products and increase their income stream. Lower cost electricity means people would have extra spending money to support local farmers. More of our education dollar would go to kids’ education, thereby increasing his/her chance of gaining a higher family income.
Two-thirds of the economy is made of consumer spending. If the people had extra money, they would spend it. Businesses would benefit and there would be more jobs.
There is no free lunch. Let’s concentrate on finding out where we can give ourselves a competitive advantage and go do it. We need to look at the bigger picture. Not “no can.” CAN!
Richard Ha writes:
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) people are offering a summer "Observatory Career Exploration" session for West Hawai‘i high school students to learn about the range of observatory and other technical careers available here on the island. It will be held at Kealakehe High School in June.
2013 Akamai Observatory Career Exploration Looking for West Hawaii High School Students
TMT, in partnership with Akamai Workforce Initiative (AWI) and Hawaii Community College, encourages high school students to sign up for this summer's Akamai Observatory Career Exploration session, offered June 10th through June 21st at Kealakehe High School.
Developed to inspire students to explore the range of observatory and other technical careers available in Hawaii, this introductory course gives high school students an opportunity to meet with scientists, engineers, and staff from leading observatories and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority facility.
Students will improve scientific and technical problem-solving skills and leave with knowledge that could direct them to an observatory career path!
Approved by the DOE, each 60-hour course is equivalent to a 1/2 high school elective credit. Class sizes are limited, so early registration is encouraged.
To register or for more information, call Tiana at Office of Continuing Education & Training (OCET) 934-2696 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about the program, and registration information, in this brochure. Or you can contact Tiana Koga, who is coordinating the program at Hawaii Community College, at the number or email above.
Richard Ha writes:
Over the weekend, Scott Bosshardt of Kea‘au had an important letter to the editor of the Hawaii Tribune-Herald.
His point was that products produced and purchased locally shouldn’t be more expensive than the same product purchased abroad.
One extremely important fact that the “Think Local, Buy Local” proponents shouldn’t overlook is that local businesses need to “price local.”
Products produced and purchased locally shouldn’t be more expensive than the same product purchased abroad.
He also wrote:
“Price local” instead of as if our Big Island-grown tomatoes and coconuts were imported from half way around the world or some other planet, then people will be much more inclined to “buy local.” This holds true for everything we produce here. Think about it. When you live in Columbia, you don’t pay more for coffee than you do in San Francisco.
He’s right: Prices are higher here, and we need to lower them. It’s what I keep talking about. We need to find a way that we can lower our costs.
I first noticed our farm costs rising steadily back in 2005 and 2006. Rising costs affect every aspect of our farm, and it was very worrisome. Looking into it, I realized that the rise in price was due to the price of oil increasing.
Here in Hawai‘i, we are being squeezed extra hard. More than 70 percent of our electricity comes from oil. Compare this to the U.S. mainland – Hawaii’s primary competitor in many produce and food manufacturing categories – which relies on oil for only about two percent of its electricity generation.
As the price of oil rises, you can see how our local farmers and food manufacturers become less and less competitive with the mainland.
Farming is very energy intensive, and farmers’ refrigeration and water pumping costs have steadily gotten more expensive. Wholesalers’ and retailer refrigeration costs have gone up, too. This means food costs more.
Oil prices have quadrupled in the last 10 years, and this has put the economy into a continuous recession. Everything has been squeezed. Government workers’ pay has been cut. Electricity costs have gone up steadily. School budgets have been squeezed. Medical costs have risen.
I have so far attended five annual Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) conferences trying to figure out how to protect our farm from the rising price of oil. I don’t have a degree in chemistry or the sciences – but I am a farmer with common sense. So I spent my time figuring out who I can trust for good information
I determined that the folks at ASPO can be trusted because they have no other agenda than to produce good information. It is up to me to decide if their studies are valid or not, or whether I agree with their conclusion. On the other hand, I thought that people whose livelihood depends on putting on a happy face would probably just put on a happy face.
I have learned that the world has been using two to three times as much oil as it has been finding, a trend that continues. I’ve learned that the oil being produced now is much more expensive than what they found 50 years ago. It takes more energy now to get the energy. The cost of producing oil from shale and oil sands was $92 per barrel in 2011, and the floor price of oil is probably not much lower than that.
The era of cheap oil is over. And the stuff produced in the future will be even more costly, setting a higher floor as time goes by. Unless we do something, it will squeeze us all even more.
Look around: It is happening right now, even with a banner tourism year. Imagine what it will be like if we have a significant downturn.
Also important to note is that the rubbah slippah folks have less and less discretionary income. Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of our economy. Our consumers will have more spending money when we can lower the cost of our electricity.
What about the happy news that the U.S. will become the largest producer of oil and gas in the future? In 2009, Art Berman, a petroleum geologist, showed that in a study of 4,000 gas wells in the Barnett Shale, most of the production came out in the first year. Sixteen-thousand wells later, we see that 90 percent of shale gas and shale oil wells were more than 90 percent depleted within five years. And the decline rate for all the wells is more than 30 percent. We will need to drill one third as many we have now just to keep production steady.
One can reasonably conclude that the shale gas and shale oil phenomenon may not be a game changer. It probably won’t make a large dent in world oil production.
Meanwhile, the overall trend continues. Most of the world’s oil is produced by giant and supergiant oil fields, and lots of them are declining. Folks who study this estimate that the decline rate is around 4 to 6 percent annually. That is about 3 million barrels a year. This is going on all day, every day, no matter what the stock market does.
What can we do on the Big Island to lower electricity costs, and the cost of locally produced food? Biomass and geothermal can do that today. There may be other choices maturing in the next few years, too.
Producing electricity from geothermal here costs half as much as producing it from oil. And the Big Island will be over the hot spot that provides us with geothermal for 500,000 to a million years.
Iceland is pulling itself out of the largest financial crash in history because it has cheap electricity from geothermal and can export fish.
Let’s say that one wanted to payoff an oil-fired plant that produces 60MW today. That difference in price would save $6,600/hour and $158,400 /day. This is more than $50 million per year. Seems like we could be creative with writing off stranded assets.
We are very lucky to have these options here.
Read more about this:
Richard Ha writes:
My Op-Ed article on the Aina Koa Pono situation, and how it would raise electricity rates for O'ahu residents (though the project is on the Big Island), ran in yesterday's Star-Advertiser. Here it is in full:
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) 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 within the next several weeks.
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 fuel would only be used on the Big Island.
The contract between HELCO and AKP calls for HELCO (and you) to purchase fuel from AKP at about $200/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/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/barrel.
And yet HELCO/HECO is trying to guarantee AKP a fixed price of $200/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?
AKP’s plan has technical issues, as well. The process AKP plans to use has never been proven at the scale they propose; 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 the Island of Hawai‘i 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 you write to the PUC if you oppose this contract: email@example.com. You can also contact your State and County legislators and your Mayor.
Richard Ha, owner of Hamakua Springs Country Farms, submitted this on behalf of the Big Island Community Coalition, of which he is a founding member. Other founding members include Dave DeLuz Jr., John E.K. Dill, Rockne Freitas, Wallace Ishibashi, Ku‘ulei Kealoha Cooper, Noelani Kalipi, Ka‘iu Kimura, Robert Lindsey, H.M. “Monty” Richards, Marcia Sakai, Lehua Veincent and Bill Walter. All operate as individuals and do not represent others. The Big Island Community Coalition (BICC) works primarily with cost issues on the Island of Hawai‘i, where residents pay about 25 percent more for electricity than do O‘ahu rate payers.
Richard Ha writes:
We all admire Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, and wish Hawaiian Airlines the best.
From Pacific Business News:
Speaking to a room of movers and shakers from Hawaii’s commercial real estate industry at the NAIOP Hawaii Real Estate Symposium Friday at the Hawaii Convention Center, Dunkerley noted that without new product, such as hotels, tourists will eventually go elsewhere for their vacations.
Dunkerely says that Hawaiian Airlines, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: HA) is doing its part by investing $11 billion in a “superior fleet.”
But Dunkerley and Hawaiian Airlines cannot do everything by themselves to save Hawai‘i.
It certainly won’t help if we increase the cost of doing business in Hawai‘i.
The Consumer Advocate is suggesting that O‘ahu (electric) rate payers subsidize the $200/barrel cost of biofuel proposed to be produced by Aina Koa Pono (AKP) in Ka‘u on the Big Island.
From the PUC Docket 2012-0185:
Q. HELCO AND HECO
RECOMMEND THAT THE COST DIFFERENTIAL
BETWEEN THE BIODIESEL AND THE FOSSIL FUEL THE BIODIESEL
REPLACES SHOULD BE SPREAD ACROSS BOTH HELCO AND HECO
RATEPAYERS. IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS JUST AND REASONABLE?
The Consumer Advocate responds:
A. No. In my opinion, the entire cost premium differential should be borne by HECO ratepayers. I refer to it as a cost premium, because the price of biofuel is currently higher than the price of petroleum diesel.
O‘ahu hotels already pay high electricity costs. Let’s not price them out of the market. This does not help our tourism industry, Hawaiian Airlines or us.
For Big Islanders, our worst fear is that AKP is approved by the Public Utilities Commission. If that were to happen, we would be locked into a 20-year contract that would preclude our selecting lower cost alternatives for 1/3 of our base power electricity use.
An oil price of $200/barrel will be very damaging to the airline industry, as well as to our tourism industry.
We don’t need to be paying for $200/barrel biofuel now when we don’t have to.
The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects oil will cost less than $150/barrel in their reference rate case during the 20-year period of the potential AKP contract.
Yet HECO chose to use the EIA’s highest rate scenario of $200/barrel.
What if they are wrong?
Why are we pursuing this alternative? It’s like we are choosing to go over the cliff now, in order to maybe prevent going over the cliff later.
Why do we want to be first in the world to achieve cellulosic biofuel? There is a 90 percent chance of failure! It would be far smarter to copy someone else who is the first in the world. Then there would be a 90 percent chance of success.
• Are we pursuing this to stimulate economic activity? That’s just taking out of one pocket to put into another, and causing electricity rates to rise as we do it.
A rising electricity price acts like a giant regressive tax. Folks who can afford to do so leave the grid. And those who cannot leave, pay even more.
Two-thirds of our economy is made up of consumer spending. If folks had discretionary income, they would spend it, businesses would hire and people would have jobs.
The opposite is what’s happening now.
• Or are we pursuing AKP to better the lives of future generations? This proposal worsens the prospects for future generations.
We cannot let AKP pass. It would be a disaster for our economy for the next 20 years and beyond.
Richard Ha writes:
I met with Tom Travis recently. A Puna resident and former nuclear submarine commander, he is opposed to geothermal in Puna.
Tom is also involved with the strategic public policy consultant group Accord 3.0:
Geothermal Public Health Assessment
ACCORD3.0 is assisting County of Hawaii to convene a reasoned, sustained, and science-focused deliberation on public health questions pertinent to the production of geothermal energy in the Puna region. The project will produce a reliable inventory of studies that address public health concerns surrounding geothermal plants, and develop a set of recommendations about the priorities and preferred methodologies for future scientific and monitoring studies that may be required.
Tom and I talked about common ground, and we both agree that public safety is of the utmost importance.
Shortly after we met, he read the testimony I sent to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, supporting geothermal energy here in Hawai‘i, and sent me a note saying that my comments about H2S were misleading.
I went back and reviewed the data and he is right. I made an error in saying that the ambient exposure level was 20,000 parts per billion (ppb).
In his comments to me below, he is referring to this study: Associations of ambient hydrogen sulfide exposure with self-reported asthma and asthma symptoms, by Michael N. Bates, Nick Garrett, Julian Crane and John R. Balmes.
Figure 1 of the study shows zones of exposure in which the highest gradient line is 50 ppb. Table 2 shows that the highest quarter of study exposures (time weighted average) is 31 to 64 ppb. The study looked at the highest quarter and compared that with those in the other three quarters (Q1=0-10 ppb: Q2=11-20 ppb; and Q3=21-30 ppb). The study found no significant difference in asthma between those in the four quarters.
In the discussion portion there is mention of brief exposures, as quoted below:
"The third area to consider is information bias, particularly with estimates of H2S exposure levels. These were based on data from networks of passive monitors set out during two 2-week periods in 2010, extrapolated to current homes and workplaces. We know, however, from occasional spot measurements that we have made, that in some of the more highly exposed places around Rotorua H2S concentrations may, at least briefly, rise as high as 1 to 2ppm."
2 ppm is a transient peak exposure and could have been experienced by the study group in any one of the four quarters. If it were experienced by those in the lowest quarter then their comparison with those in the highest quarter would not be valid, assuming that this is the exposure that caused some effect. Therefore, we must assume that Bates believes the time weighted average is what controls the effects on asthma. By the way, 2 ppm is 2000 ppb, not 20000 ppb.
Additionally, as to the implied conclusion that the Bates study says something general about low level health effects, I quote him as follows:
“It is important also to appreciate that H2S is very toxic at higher concentrations and, without appropriate supporting data from exposed populations, no conclusions should be drawn about higher concentrations. That ‘‘hot spots’’ of H2S can occur in Rotorua is well-known and deaths are sometimes attributed to them (Bassindale and Hosking, 2011).
Irrespective of the relationship between H2S and asthma, there are other potential health outcomes from hydrogen sulfide exposure, including possible neurologic and neuropsychologic effects (Kilburn et al., 2010) and effects on the eye, particularly cataract (Bates et al., 2002). These also need to be investigated.”
I’m not pushing an agenda no matter what, or at any cost. My goal is for the well-being of the community, and that’s why I want to be straightforward about my error. I am also writing to OHA to correct my testimony with them.
The goal of Accord 3.0 is to make a fair assessment of all possible health issues related to geothermal here. It’s great that they are doing this.
I want to tell you what's new. The Big Island Community Coalition (BICC), in partnership with ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, is kicking off the Lamakū Adopt-a-Visit project.
Here's how it works: You make a 100 percent tax-deductible donation to ‘Imiloa, specifying that it's in support of the BICC "Adopt-a-Visit" project. (You can specify that it's for a certain Puna or Ka‘ū school if you'd like, but that's optional.)
Each $5 donation sponsors one student. Public, private, charter and homeschooled students are eligible.
Donations will be applied to the ‘Imiloa admission fee. As long as funds are available, ‘Imiloa will cover the cost of bus transportation to the Center. ‘Imiloa will coordinate the school visits, and will ensure that the donor receives feedback about the trip to ‘Imiloa they helped sponsor.
Eighty-nine percent of students in the Pahoa school complex participate in the free/reduced lunch program. This is the highest percentage in the state.
This is an opportunity to make a real difference on the ground. Thanks for your help.